The day

we became

aliens

Narrative design, scenography, augmented reallity, 3D print, 2016-2018

Winner of NIFFF ON TOUR, Future Storyworlds price 2017

Abstract

The day we became aliens is a testimony from three different characters during three different periods of time about their living environment in space. This is a documentary of artefacts from the future past, told from the perspective of two humans and finally, an alien.

If human being decide to not evolve on earth, is the generation born in space is alien or just from another culture? Should they embrace their alien environment to own their identity or is the earthling culture the basement of their identity?

This project is developed with astronauts. It wins the Future StoryWorlds contest organized by the Neuchâtel International Fantastique Film Festival (NIFFF), after a week of residency in the CERN. It will be presented during the NIFFF 2018.

Rumination on what it means to be human.

For more rumination : 

- The absurde attraction of zero gravity

- Archeology of the invisible

- Speleofact

" Ana D. (2028) is preoccupied, her job as a Terran Designer of space interiors seems to under threat, losing its relevance. A small fraction of the human population has decided to live in space, permanently. Ana is worried that designing terran contexts for astronauts and tourists to survive psychologically during extended space flight journey will soon be outmoded. Now that objects and humans can be manufactured in space, and will be turned into alien community, we will have to forget everything we know about living in space.

 

Andea K. (2046) offers a perspective 18 years after, describing how the industry to manufacture alien life has evolved, its affect on human society and interpersonal relations.

 

Chester F. (2087), recalls his situation 41 years after, as the 234th alien, what it is like to be an alien living in exile from Earth, examining ethical questions and how the alien interior design offers emancipation from the terra one. "

The day we became aliens

ANA D., terran designer for NASA

January 15th, 2028

I remember it was the 25th of November, 2014. The first object made in space with 3-D printing. The first non-terrestrial object, the first alien object. Suddenly, all the science fiction scenarios had a new kind of credibility. Moreover, it revolutionized the way to live and supply astronauts - and later common people - in space. Then there was a huge fascination for objects made in space : to manufacture alien objects. After discovering paints from the prehistoric era, we got artefacts from space, artefacts from the future.

I remember that plenty of billionaires who were pro evolutionist, pro human augmented, had awakened and developed this alien business. Just before mass space tourism. A thin path had been opened between their dreams and reality. This simple low relief plate made in space in 2014 fed their desire for immortality and body amelioration. This concept to be an alien, live in space with non-terrestrial objects was an affront to humankind, to nature. Deep down, it was more an escape to avoid facing the futility of our existence, the vacuity of our life. It is never comfortable to think about, but this is what makes us human. They didn’t get it. They were obsessed by their egoistic desires, like spoiled children.

Concerning the look of space interiors, it’s also in the throes of change. Until now, humans needed a “natural design“ to live in good conditions. Everything was designed for a physical and psychological comfort. In this extreme environment, astronauts need markers that are used purposively so they are not disoriented, so not to go insane. This need of nature (in it’s larger sense) is deeply embedded in our conscious and our subconscious. In 2012 in the ISS, astronaut Andre Kuipers and colleagues reproduced an aquatic environment with green strips of plastic just for fun to be a bit like home. During all his missions, astronaut Charles Duke made analogies and metaphors in space as if he was on earth. The most popular was during Apollo 16 when he was digging on the moon in order to take a rock sample : “If I did this in my west Texas, I’d come back with rattlesnakes’’. And I’ve yet to mention the functional stuff ! Did you know that we use exactly the same refrigerator in space as on Earth, to makes astronauts feel at home?

The Terran design takes hold in this need to feel nature in this extreme environment. Basically, until now for human beings, everything as Sci Fi and aerospatial gadgets remains on Earth ; and everything earthling remains in space. But now, if there is an alien industry in development for space, a new kind of design is on its way. Let see if my job will be still relevant with what’s to come!

ANDREA K., developer at AMM

(Alien Manufacturing Machines Inc.)

January 15th, 2046

In 2046 you can be made in space. Extraterrestrial forms of life. Following the long duration of space travel, and a complete interior design made by additive manufacturing machines, you can become an alien.

At the beginning it was simple tourism with huge advertisement communication and flashing slogans. “Live like the creature of your favorite Sci Fi series”, “Be what you always wanna be. Be different. Be an alien.”, “The new destination that give you the opportunity to be anything you want”. The United Nations only prohibited to conceive a child in space. Biologic and ethical matters. All men and women had to be under contraception.

Then some people claimed the right to live wherever they wanted, that it was their freedom. Even though there were plenty of physical risks, severe biological modifications, they choose to live in outer space. Two years ago, the first alien baby was born. “It“ or “he“ (depends on where you stand politically and ethically) didn’t survive long. Medicine and new technologies are doing great improvements now to guarantee a mature development. Then slogans changed and it was more a recruitment. “We need you to save humanity”, “Join us to change the destiny of humankind”, “Be a hero, save the world” etc.

Maybe we must re-contextualize the choice that this alien community took. At this time, maybe 30 years after the first alien artefact, it was a hard time for humanity. Plenty of people died as a result of natural disasters and pandemics due to climate change and our limited capacity to handle it. But I think it might be also a clever trick to regulate world order.

So people needed something to dream on and private enterprise needed people to finance their space projects by mass consumption. Exactly like they financed the Apollo program.

People were devastated by the mourning of their fellows. With this ad campaign, the possibility to extend human kind to space didn’t take long. At this time they did not yet experience long-term alien life, so a huge part of the global population sought this solution for survival.

CHESTER F., 234th Alien From Humankind (AFH), alien interior designer

-

Circadian rhythm : September 5th 2087

Orbital Period (1OP = 1 revolution around earth = 92,65 minutes) : 24.371.832 OP

Zero-G has sculpted the human body for years now. I’m the product of it, an unhealthy form of life. But because technology and modern medicine keeps me in good artificial health, I suppose I’m ok.

I will never be able to go on Earth. I feel as if my parents have renounced me. But existential crises are common here, more than they thought. We completely rethink our identity, our legacy, our relations with AFH and with humankind, the meaning we choose to have for our life and how we perceive our origins and our physical existence.

Like me, all the objects which compose my cabin are made in space. Gradually they replace Terran objects by AFH ones. Once they were useful for humans to psychologically survive in this un-natural place, but they no longer make sense here and now anymore.

When humans come visit us or work with us (take samples, medical observations etc), it’s never for a long stay, so they respect our interior design to not offend anyone. They know that for most of us we didn’t choose to be here. In fact, if I take a Terran example, it’s like if you were going into someone else’s home where you didn’t choose the “deco”. You don’t put your “desk lamp” instead of my Blue/Red vitamin lighting, and you don’t change the place of my tools in a way more adapted for your body.

There is still some compartments of the ISS for humans only, when they stay for a long period of time. But it’s a tiny place compared to our SAS*. With the 200 males and 200 females, we need plenty of space though we are a bit smaller than a human body.

I don’t know if we are a different species or if we just have a different culture. It depends on our biological evolution I suppose. It’s a very delicate subject when you look at human history with the Arian race, genetic modification with the purpose to evolve the human body, Xmen, etc. Maybe we are like the Neanderthal men and Homo Sapiens. Let’s see how it will turn out! What is sure is that we are some kind of bastards who live between two opposite environments. The physical part is from up here, and the mind is from down there. We have to be pragmatic and fatalist, to embrace zero-G and build our own legacy in order to live decently.