Cosmic Dancer

A space art project by Arthur Woods

Arthur Woods

The Cosmic Dancer is a sculpture by Swiss-American artist Arthur Woods that was launched into space in May 1993 and became a fixture in the Russian Mir space station.

The Cosmic Dancer Sculpture is the first three-dimensional artwork purposely designed for and officially integrated into a human habitat beyond Earth. After its arrival, cosmonauts Gennadi Manakov and Alexander Polishchuk allowed the Cosmic Dancer to freely float and spin in their living space aboard Mir. They were instructed by Woods to evaluate the impact of having art share their weightless environment. They made a photographic and video documentation of their interaction with the Cosmic Dancer and recorded a commentary of their experience. "The form of the sculpture is original, angular and avant garde, and inspires diverse thoughts and fantasies," said Polishchuk. "One can see in this figure any being one wants. Therefore it is interesting to look at and hold.

"The Cosmic Dancer is a curious sculpture, angular and unusual from the classical understanding of art. Nevertheless it gave us pleasure.

"We think that such works of art are not only important to the artists who send them into space but also for us, who simply feel comfort from their presence."



Cosmic Dancer

Russian cosmonaut Alexander Polishchuk with Arthur Woods' Cosmic Dancer sculpture on the Mir space station in 1993


About the importance of putting art in space, Woods says, "Today, humanity is confronted by a growing number of political and environmental challenges that will ultimately determine its survival and success as a species.

"Continued space development and exploration offers humanity the most optimistic option to survive and prosper. Yet, only when society becomes fully aware of the importance of space activities to their lives and to their future, will the hopes and dreams of humanity have a chance to become a reality.

"In short, the future of human civilization and, indeed, even the survival of humanity as a species is at stake. Thus, an expanded cultural dimension to human activities in space is desperately needed just as humanity is in need of expanding its presence beyond Earth - an idea long overdue for both art and space development.


To learn more about Arthur Woods' Cosmic Dancer project, hop on the flying saucer for a ride to his website

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Back to Galactic Gallery from Cosmic Dancer