Marco Brambilla: Atlantis (OV-104)

NASA’s Manned Space Program is Immortalized in the Filmmaker’s Eerie Analog Ode

Artist and filmmaker Marco Brambilla salutes the golden age of space travel with Atlantis (OV-104), a video portrait of NASA’s beloved last manned shuttle that distills the dark, unsettling calm of the great beyond. Flickering images captured by an early 80s Ikegami camera recall early space transmissions and deep-sea exploration shots as they reveal the ghostly shape of the film’s eponymous spacecraft. Brambilla enhanced the organic quality of the footage by re-photographing segments of film through a vintage Sony tube monitor. “I wanted the coverage to feel imprecise, like a spotlight on the wreckage of a submarine,” explains the internationally exhibited installation artist and Kanye West collaborator, whose own enthusiasm for space travel began with a visit to the Kennedy Space Center as a child. With the help of public arts organization Creative Time, New York-based Brambilla scored access to the seasoned vessel on the day before it left to be restored for its debut at NASA’s Florida headquarters, where it will be on display beginning this Friday, over a quarter century after its first flight. Atlantis (OV-104) premieres at Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica the following day. “Atlantis is the last of a national program that was once the world’s most prestigious and experimental,” says Brambilla. “This marks the end of a huge effort that sought to bring people together.”


Source of the name
Atlantis was named after a two-masted sailing ship that was operated for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute from 1930-1966.

Number of missions

Distance travelled since its first launch in 1985
125,935,769 miles.

Time spent in space
306 days, 14 hours, 12 minutes, 43 seconds.

Most time spent in space on single mission
13 days, 20 hours, 12 minutes, 44 seconds.

Number of planetary probes deployed
Two—Magellan for Venus and Galileo for Jupiter.

Film appearances
Two—SpaceCamp and Deep Impact.

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Conversations (3)

  • jolieme
    Mind blown for the audio alone,which seems to portray vastness,it looks like it was shot through fabric.The style reminds me of the 1946 french movie La Belle et la Bête or Nosferatu for its atmospheric erieness.
    • Posted By jolieme
    • November 12, 2012 at 5:51AM
    • Share Comment:
  • Ms Maitland
    I purposely did not read the blurb for the video and spent the time trying to figure out what was being shot. Interesting but somehow I felt distant from it... which, perhaps. was the point.
  • davidlitchfield
    Why does black appear to be the prominant colour in almost all of the Nowness clips?

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