Swedish sculptor Nicklas Lundberg was chosen from almost 100 international applicants to undertake the exhibition.

NSC space junk exhibition to lift off

The National Space Centre (NSC) just outside Midleton is normally strictly off limits to civilians but that’s all going to change next month.

The countdown has already started for a special ‘space junk’ art exhibit addressing the challenging issue of space waste, complete with a digital space launch for visitors to enjoy.

The exhibition, which runs from 3-5 December, is the culmination of Ireland's first Space Waste Residency, hosted by NSC neighbour Greywood Arts and funded by Cork County Council.

The selected artist in residence, Swedish sculptor Nicklas Lundberg, was chosen from almost 100 international applicants. Lundberg is utilising space junk found at the National Space Centre (NSC) together with sounds captured inside the site’s iconic 32-metre satellite dish.

The result is an interactive installation that responds sonically to the proximity of the viewer, which visitors will be able to interact with. The exhibition will also feature work from 110 local school students.

As part of the project, sculptor Scott Gorham, Education Coordinator at Greywood Arts, has led young people through a series of world building and sculpture workshops that explore language creation, geography, and ecological concepts like symbiosis.

Participants used materials including waste circuit boards from the NSC, clay, and fabric to create topographies and symbiotic creatures.

“At the heart of this project is encouraging young people to use their imaginations to envision new worlds, in the hope they will apply their creativity to our own world and its future,” explained Gorham.

A sculptural installation will showcase a collective language of symbols designed by students and then fabricated in neon by Kevin Chong in San Jose, California, before being shipped back for exhibition at the NCS.

A digital media exhibition will display more of the project executed by the 110 young participants.

A special reception for the students will include a talk from the National Space Centre’s Chief Technical Officer, Bruce Hannah.

The resident space engineer will teach guests about the NSC's role in satellite technology and demonstrate by using a satellite to send digital copies of the young artists’ projects into space.

A limited number of tours of the NSC will also be available to visitors booking tickets online.

Tickets for the exhibit and tours of the NSC are free and can be booked at nationalspacecentre.eu/space-waste-tickets.

The NSC is Europe’s most westerly teleport and Ireland’s only commercial ground station.

Opened as Elfordstown Earthstation in 1984 at a cost of £8 million (€25 million today), the facility celebrated ten years of operation as the NSC in 2020.

The company provides commercial broadcast services, ground control support for satellites and space craft, academic research partnerships and space industry consulting.

The NSC’s co-located space campus is home to more than a dozen Irish space start-ups and EU-headquartered space enterprises.