Space Un·Settlements


Defense and final presentation of Ralo Mayer, Artistic Research PhD Programme (PhD in Art)

The Artistic Research PhD Programme at Zentrum Fokus Forschung kindly invites to the PhD defense of Ralo Mayer’s dissertation project Space Un·Settlements.

Spatial setting: Oct. 11-13, 2-5 pm
Defense: Oct. 14, 2pm
Zentrum Fokus Forschung
Rustenschacherallee 2-4
1020 Vienna

Examination committee:
Univ.-Prof. Leonhard Grond (chair, University of Applied Arts Vienna)
Univ.-Prof. i. R. Ferdinand Schmatz (supervisor, University of Applied Arts Vienna)
Assoc. Prof. Alice Gorman (external appraiser, Flinders University, Adelaide)


Through approaches of artistic research and storytelling across various media, Ralo Mayer’s thesis investigates the manifold relations between speculative, planned and realized scenarios of human life in outer space and realities here, on Earth. Space Un·Settlements explores objects like closed ecological system experiment Biosphere 2, Hermann Potočnik Noordung’s design for a rotating space station in 1920’s Vienna, and a Metabolist tower in Osaka that inspired a fictional eco-spaceship; at the same time, the thesis reflects potentials and limitations of essayistic and speculative storytelling, the role of serendipity in research processes, or the multivalent meanings of plot against the notion of site. The dissertation develops the concept of un·Earthing as a possible transdisciplinary perspective towards the transformations of humans and human/multispecies cultures by leaving Earth.

Ralo Mayer is an artist, filmmaker and writer based in Vienna. His work is informed by performative research, speculative storytelling and the wonders of everyday life.


Un·Earthing (playsuit for Mars), prototype test at Ramon Crater analog mission site, Negev desert, 21.7.2022 / first color photo from Mars, Viking Lander 1, NASA, 21.7.1976 (The first child born on Mars is an outline of the future disrupted by a game of peek-a-boo.)
Ralo Mayer / Bildrecht, 2022


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