Friday 23 May – Man on a Mission


A screening of Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott’s Road to the Stars (83min, 2010) directed by Mike Wolf with an introduction by Julia Tcharfas.

Book Tickets – Friday 23 May – 7pm – £3

The 2010 documentary, Man on a Mission follows Richards Garriott, a video game developer, on his journey to the International Space Station. Richard Garriott, who is also known as Lord British is one of the pioneers of private space travel, and the latest client of Space Adventures, whose ticket to the space station cost $30,000,000. The film documents his one of a kind mission with original footage shot during the year of training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, the take off and landing in the Soyuz spacecraft, and the eleven days spent aboard the ISS.

The screening is organised by Julia Tcharfas as part of Three Experiments in Translation. This presentation of Man on a Mission is also a part of an ongoing body of research dedicated to man’s observation of the world.

…The meaning of the word tour is a circular movement around a central point. The suffix -ist indicates the one who performs the given action. Combining the word tour and the suffix -ist suggests one’s action of movement around a circle. In this case, the circle represents both the starting point and the return of the journey – a round trip. The one who performs the act of leaving and then returning to the original starting point is called a tourist. So far, seven international tourist have circled the Earth.

Space tourists, not unlike cosmonauts and astronauts, always return to their starting point. What separates them from their space colleagues is their vocation and a paid ticket to space. These adventurers always prefer the title ‘private space flight’ to tourism, as the physical strain of their missions is no less than that of the cosmonaut or astronaut.

Their gaze back at the Earth, however is symbolically different from their crew mates, and the tourists’ footage of his travel brings a new cultural meaning and understanding of our environment, as well as becoming a unique artifact in its own right. This new observer of the Earth also brings back the origins of the space history which hoped to put ‘all man’ in space, when ordinary civilians experimented in rocketry, and artists and writers put them selves in the front seats of rockets through film and literature. Their trips can also point to how far away we are from the goal set out a century ago by Cosmist dreamers…

Julia Tcharfas is an artist, researcher, collector, and space enthusiast.