Exploring Space: Star gazing or history making?
For All Mankind (1989)
During the Apollo lunar missions from 1968 to 1972, those on board were given 16mm cameras and told to film anything and everything they could, in space, in orbit, and on the surface of the moon itself. NASA was at the cutting edge of video camera technology during the Apollo missions and customized various types of cameras to capture the footage. Two decades later, filmmaker Al Reinert went into the NASA vaults to create this extraordinary compendium of their journeys and experiences. Assembled from hundreds of hours of the astronauts' own footage, with a soundtrack made up of their memories and a specially composed score by Brian Eno, this film takes the form of one journey to the moon and back again, building with elegant simplicity and exquisite construction to create an overpowering vision of human endeavour and experience.
Felix Baumgartner has made history by smashing the world record for the highest free-fall jump from 128,097 ft -quite out of kilter with today's tendencies to be risk averse. Interviewed in 1999, the late Neil Armstrong expressed the significance of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing in terms of demonstrating that 'humanity is not forever chained to this planet, and our visions go rather further than that, and our opportunities are unlimited.’ While President Obama recently paid tribute to Armstrong's 'spirit of discovery', his belief in ‘unlimited opportunities’ runs counter to mainstream political thinking today - mostly premised upon the idea of an 'inconvenient truth' that there are natural limits which man cannot surpass. The excitement generated by Curiosity‘s trip to Mars suggests that our yearning to reach beyond the limits of the present persists. But, believing that resources are limited and humanity is no longer capable of unchaining itself from the planet, what does it mean to gaze at the stars today? Are we truly searching for new horizons or contemplating our own insignificance?
Craig Fairnington will host this showing of For All Mankind (1989) followed by a discussion about our aspirations for exploring engineering solutions today.
Please arrive around 5:00pm if you would like to purchase snacks and hot drinks in the theatre's own café. The post-film discussion should finish around 8:00pm, when there will be an informal chat with drinks from the bar.