Coffee in Space: Keeping Crew Members Grounded in Flight
Happy National Coffee Day, coffee lovers!
On Earth, a double shot mocha latte with soymilk, low-fat whip and a caramel drizzle is just about as complicated as a cup of coffee gets. Aboard the International Space Station, however, even just a simple cup of black coffee presents obstacles for crew members.
Understanding how fluids behave in microgravity is crucial to bringing the joys of the coffee bean to the orbiting laboratory. Astronaut Don Pettit crafted a DIY space cup using a folded piece of overhead transparency film. Surface tension keeps the scalding liquid inside the cup, and the shape wicks the liquid up the sides of the device into the drinker’s mouth.
The Capillary Beverage investigation explored the process of drinking from specially designed containers that use fluid dynamics to mimic the effect of gravity. While fun, this study could provide information useful to engineers who design fuel tanks for commercial satellites!
The capillary beverage cup allows astronauts to drink much like they would on Earth. Rather than drinking from a shiny bag and straw, the cup allows the crew member to enjoy the aroma of the beverage they’re consuming.
On Earth, liquid is held in the cup by gravity. In microgravity, surface tension keeps the liquid stable in the container.
Through her dense and detailed packed line drawings to her more focused ink brush pieces, Rhode Island based artist Heather Benjamin’s work is visceral, cathartic, and autobiographical. It offers a completely unapologetic and unflinching look into an artists’ own struggles with life, body image, self confidence, and sexuality. We find her and her art to be inspirational, honest and badass.
We recently ran into Heather at her booth at the LA Art Book Fair and caught up with her a few months later to ask about her art, her experiences at RISD, her influences, and her thoughts about her work and her life.
Artists Petra Collins (@petrafcollins) and Madelyne Beckles (@bellhoox), who co-curated the digital salon “In Search of Us,” have been collaborating since high school. “We met in grade nine and clicked right away,” says Madelyne, who lives in Montreal. “We’ve both evolved into different artists, but love working together, because we are such great friends. Our differences lend themselves well to each other’s practices.”
For this project, which celebrates the representation of women by women, they selected two artists — Aleia Murawski (@aleia) and (@artbabygirl) — who along with Madelyne Grace Miceli produced unique video work. “From a feminist standpoint, collaboration is essential to my practice, politically and artistically,” Madelyne says. “It will always make work stronger and ideas come off more potent when there are different people involved working towards the same vision or goal. Also, to be real: you can’t do everything yourself.”
For Aleia, who lives in Chicago, this approach is familiar. “My art has been shown mostly within DIY women-led art spaces and projects,” she says. “It is a much different framework than the art world I studied in school. It is less about economy and more about forming relationships with other artists. I see this more and more: young artists starting projects to promote one another, to lift each other up and to create safe spaces and opportunities for each other.”
Grace, who lives in New York, agreed. “It’s incredible when your favorite artists are also your friends,” she says. “I want to be an artist who builds confidence in my viewers and makes them feel a little less alone — someone who helps us to understand each other and ourselves. These animations are meant to explore the complicated space a young woman inhabits, where the objects and experiences that are pushed upon you are simultaneously looked down upon by the world around you.”
Been extremely quiet on the Tumblr side of things (sorry, easy to forget we have a tumblr account). ANYHOW, we wanted to let everyone know that the new Dial location is currently undergoing a little face lift as we ready for the “official” grand opening. Stay tuned for more updates and nothing but love for all of you who continue to support the collective as it pushes forward.
Grassroots campaign shuts down far right art gallery!
The Shut Down LD50 campaign can happily disclose that the landlord of the LD50 Gallery has asked the tenants, Lucia Diego and Alexander Moss, to vacate the premises. The gallery sign has been taken down from the building at 2–4 Tottenham Road, Dalston, London, and there is no indication that any future events will be taking place in the space. As of April there will no longer be a racist cultural centre operating in Hackney.
Shutting down the gallery is the result of sustained campaign work by many political and community groups, Hackney residents, cultural workers and journalists. We thank everyone involved for their dedication. At the same time we have to recognise that this is only a first step. More needs to be done both to prevent LD50 and its organisers from restarting their project elsewhere, and more generally to ensure that our communities and cultural institutions are kept free of the influence of the far right.
We urge people inside and outside of the art world to refuse to work with Lucia Diego and Alexander Moss. They have actively supported the development of a fascist culture in London. The speakers they hosted often promote mass violence against oppressed peoples and political opponents. The LD50 representatives have done next to nothing to disassociate themselves from such views. There is every reason to believe that they will attempt to resume their public promotion of racist ideas if given the opportunity. Not giving fascism a platform or a voice is an effective non-violent means of stopping them.
It is also important to learn lessons from our activity up until now. As a loose affiliation of friends and associates the Shut Down LD50 Campaign worked collectively alongside established community groups. We have worked mostly anonymously in order to protect ourselves. This was especially necessary after Lucia Diego published the personal details of opponents for potential use by the online far- and alt-right (including open advocates of political murder). When we oppose fascists we need to protect ourselves from their tactics of intimidation.
We must continue to think about how to oppose racism and fascism more broadly. Whilst some of the events at LD50 were openly fascist, it is clear that the space also took inspiration from the more everyday forms of political authoritarianism that have proliferated during the last few years, including Trump. Shutting down fascists in the long term requires that we transform the culture in which they can begin to gain popular and institutional support (and the art world is not the neutral space it often believes itself to be). We need to be able to ask larger questions, such as how to oppose Britain’s own violent border regime.
One way is by working in and alongside the many groups who helped to support our campaign. All of these different organisations are doing exceptional work in the fight against racism, fascism and oppression. Their struggles are becoming increasingly necessary, and we encourage you to get involved with them. To that end, we include a list of groups who have supported us below.
Shut Down LD50
56a Infoshop, Anti-University, Artists For Palestine UK, Arts Against Cuts, Autonomous Centre Edinburgh, BARAC / Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Base, BDZ Group / Boycott Zabludowicz, Black Lives Matter UK, Boycott Workfare, Cleaners and Allied International Workers Union, Cops Off Campus, Digs / Hackney Private Renters, Disabled People Against the Cuts, DIY Space for London,
UCU (University and College Union), Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, Jewish Socialists’ Group, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, London Anti-Fascists, MayDay Rooms Staff Collective, Movement for Justice, Mute Magazine, Novara Media, PCS Union Culture Sector Group, Plan C London, Radical Housing Network, Roots Culture Identity Art Collective, Scottish Radical Library, Sisters Uncut North London, South London Solidarity Federation.
-Den/Cave Dwellers: It is suggested that you build your den in a dark room in the first place, unless you’re outside. Setup sheets, cardboard, conveniently placed furniture etc. in such a way that there is only one way in and out. Having a dark, cool material, time of day etc. really helps add to the effect. I personally find that denning in places that just barely fit me comfortably is calming. Not advised for our claustrophobic friends. Bonus: Spritz some cold water from a spray bottle to lightly dampen the air, walls, ground etc
-Burrow Dwellers: It’s nice to keep warm and soft to properly mimic a burrow. Build up several layers of blankets and wrap them around yourself and themselves to create a more sturdy structure that can be used multiple times. It is advised that you use the rougher, stiffer blankets/towels to build the walls and shape of your burrow and softer, more malleable things to line the inside and make it cozy ^.^
-Water Dwellers: For our aquatic kin that remain underwater constantly, unless you have a pool, this habitat can be difficult to mimic. Baths are Nice for stints of meditation and studying and just hanging out. You can grow small plants that remind you of home (like algae and aquatic ferns in a little fish tank if you have the materials and know how to properly look after these :3)
-Water and Land Dwellers: Again water is hard to come by in terms of habitats but along with a bath, our amphibious and reptilian friends might enjoy having a place to rest under the sun or a nice lamp. Make a special place just for yourself to sit or lie down near a window that doesn’t look towards a main road so you don’t need to worry about other people. If you feel so inclined you might even enjoy incorporation some kind of masonry in your space to make it more homey.
-Tree Dwellers: If you have the luxury to have a place amongst the trees, set up a hammock or a cushion (waterproof!) in a tree or at the base of one. (Please please please don’t climb trees that you aren’t 100% sure can support you. Falling from trees is not fun!) For those that perhaps don’t have trees around, or want a more spacious area to linger, a nest might be comforting. Like burrow dwellers, build up the outer walls with several blankets and weave them together to the best of your abilities but make sure it’s a little more spacious.
-Double Bonus! I find that aromatics, temperature and ambience really helps make the space. As a den dweller I play generic nature sounds, like birds and rain and wind through trees. Smell is a little tricky but you can burn candles, use an essential oil diffuser, or burn incense (BE CAREFUL BURNING DOWN YOUR DEN/NEST/BURROW, IS NOT FUN) Temperature is somewhat difficult to control based on location and climate but if you’re inside and you have access, adjust the thermostat or less conspicuously kick on the fan or a small space heater depending on the Goal Temp.