The Space Program is a program of missions and media in space, including:
• Space Program (program), 56-page printed program accompanying the Space Program (live), 2017
• Space Program (live), installation-performance (30 minutes) with six video projections, technical equipment, convex mirror, and ukulele, 2017
• Missions in Space, pilgrimages and performances in space, 2016 - ongoing Mission Equipment, functional sculpture for Missions in Space, 2016 - ongoing
• Transmissions, postcards and other communications from Missions in Space, 2016 - ongoing
• Support the Space Program, a yard sale exhibition to fund the Space Program, 2016
The Space Program in all its forms—including this document—is necessarily reflexive, which is to say that it addresses its own form as content and acknowledges the “I” of the author(s). I, Melissa Yes, am an artist and graduate student at The Ohio State University (OSU), and I am a time-space mechanic, a wily bricoleur. I take things apart and remake them. When I break something down, I see how it contains and is contained within systems that can be rewired. In the Space Program, I deconstruct images, sounds, timelines, and popular Western values and narratives to tweak a system of connections among people, media, and messages. In the Space Program (live), I steal snippets of (mostly) popular American film and television programs, break them into pieces, and pattern them into my own (re)invented narrative. In so doing, I take apart constructs such as masculine American individualism, Manifest Destiny, and habits of dualistic logic. The Space Program is a mixed signal, both in the fact that it is a mixture of forms and sources of media, but also because with the Space Program I am communicating multiple (seemingly opposed) things at once.
Making and unmaking—seeming opposites—are ways of naming transformation. Production and consumption are one process—a digestion—and the Space Program digests objects, interactions, moving images, and sounds that convey the history of their un/making. The video footage that I recorded on the Missions in Space acknowledge their un/making as they reveal my button-pushing hand and self-conscious gaze. The appropriated clips in the (live) program show traces of the tools I used to gather them. In the Space Program (live), I operate the equipment from behind the audience, like a Wizard (of Oz) without the curtain. During a climactic sequence, I play a song on the ukulele with my back to the audience. I can see them in the mirror. I am separate from them—disconnected—but also connected. I embrace such un/contradictions with an ethic of honesty. As stated at the beginning of the Space Program (live), “This experience, as you are perceiving it, is neither true nor false. It is merely happening.” This document, as you are reading it, is neither true nor false. It is an event—a transmission between us. It is happening right now.