Life-size Wooden Spacecraft Sculptures


If you think about it, spacecraft are kind of ethereal in that once they are launched into space, we don’t ever see them again. Australian artist Peter Hennessey has created life-size wooden sculptures of several different spacecraft, giving people the chance to see and touch these objects that are immediately recognizable but which we will never actually experience. Hennessey says he wanted to “reverse the virtualization of physical things” by creating life-size reproductions of the spacecraft such as the Voyager space probe, Apollo Lunar Rover, the Hubble Space Telescope, and more. From Hennessey’s website: “By ‘re-enacting’ space traveling, scientific and military objects in plywood, galvanized steel and canvas, the artist creates ‘stand-ins’ that allow the viewer to contemplate their physical, symbolic and historical resonances as well as the political processes that they represent.”

I just think they are really cool, and I’d love to see them – Hubble has to be huge! See below.

'My Hubble (the universe turned in on itself)' by artist Peter Hennessey.

“My Hubble (the universe turned in on itself) is now on display in Sydney Australia as part of “Biennale of sydney 2010.” This life size ‘re-enactment’ of the Hubble Space Telescope was constructed “with the aim of giving the viewer a physical experience of the object.” It is constructed from lasercut plywood and steel and simultaneously enacts the scale and detail
of the original. This is an interactive sculpture: visitors are encouraged to play with, modify and create their own mini universes on the ground, which are then reflected by the telescope into the heavens.

According to the Design Bloom website, when creating his work Hennessey looked at 7 different images of the Hubble, and rather than using 3D software to model individual parts as one might expect, he used adobe illustrator. Building the telescope took about 3 months – in which 6 weeks were dedicated to laser cutting individual parts and building them into sections and the rest of the time was dedicated to assembling it.

'My Lunar Rover' by artist Peter Hennessey.

With ‘My Moon Landing’ Hennessey’s wanted to explore the “physicality, presences and symbolic power of the inaccessible objects that derive from the space race.”

Hennessey has even built a wooden replica of mission control.

Check out all his unique sculptures on his website.

Hat tip to Rachel Hobson!

6 Replies to “Life-size Wooden Spacecraft Sculptures”

  1. Art has to do with mythology, beyond logic, a dream. What he mythologized are nuts and bolts, a tools we the man created for space exploration. It is true artist in the past did create highly ornamented swords and armor that are not made for functionality. They did try to capture the “spirit” of the object. Hummm. Wooden satellite. What spirit was he after?

  2. I’d tend to agree with Emilio. This along with the anthropomorphisation of the Mars rovers and the “woo-hoo “go Spirit” stuff you read around the net is worrying to say the least. They are bloody machines for god’s sake. Wait until they’re partially sentient before shouting encouragement at them.

  3. I don’t agree, art seems to be primarily about personal enjoyment by experience. What enjoys one can be completely dull for another.

    The cultural overhead is part of that, it makes me go *yawn*. Yes, I am a naivist primarily. 😀 (Unless it’s about anthropology, in which case I’m all eager to study mythology. Funny that.)

    That said, it _is_ a bit interesting even to me that the artist didn’t capture the science and technology “spirit” but went for simply “embodiment”. A telescope could have focused a light or a picture on a surface et cetera; never mind the reversion of its original purpose. And so on.

    OK, you can sit in the rover, which is both an experience of “spirit” and “embodiment”. That is something at least.

  4. Care is needed with the word “create”. Many modern “artists” only create the concept and have professional craftworkers to make the actual “art”. Damien Hirst has, for example, three factory workshops.

  5. A first I thought that blue thing on top was a person and I was thinking voyager was a lot bigger than I remember…

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