Kulturfestival Celebrates Moon Landing With ‘Space A Go Go: Apollo Rising’

Peter Steen-Christensen
Posted 2 months ago in Arts

Space A Go Go: Apollo Rising
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Space is the theme of this year’s Kulturfestivalen, and one of the main events on that theme is the Saturday night show at 21:00 at Skeppsbron, dubbed Apollo Rising.  A concert film audiovisual experience that sees the Apollo 11 moon landing meet music scored by composer Kristian Holmgren, along with a cinematic interpretation of the astronaut’s journey, by Henning Lindahl, created from archive material from NASA. A collaboration with the Christer Fuglesang Space Center (an education centre named after the astronaut, the first Swede to go into space), around the film you’ll find Space A Go Go, a ‘space-club’ inspired by the space fever of the ‘60s and mixes music, DJs, VJs and science to give the festival audience a magical intergalactic experience. We hooked up with producer Katja Uneborg, who’s behind the initiative.

This all sounds like a pretty wild project, how did the idea come about?
This year is space year at Kulturfestivalen, due to it being 50 years since the moon landing. And it’s not just the Kulturfestivalen, there are a lot of people who highlight this anniversary. We have been talking for a while about wanting to organise this type of event, but we wanted to highlight an important story at the same time, which this of course is. To work with film, music, culture and science simultaneously feels meaningful and the idea fitted very well in with this being the space year. Another aspect was the amazing film archive at NASA, it was like finding a treasure having access to that.

So how did you manage to get access?
We contacted them and asked. They also gave us access to fantastic images, not only from space, but from the preparations in Houston and of the crowds sitting around in Florida and elsewhere waiting to watch history unfold.

Were the various components of the Apollo Rising event created as separate parts that were later put together or was it created as one piece as a collaboration?
All the pieces were created in parallel. We have been working on this for quite some time, Henning, Kristian and me. The whole show is made up of 12 different parts and we have worked together in creating the film and music, so it has been a collaboration. And then Kristian has put a band together. The project has grown and progressed but very shortly, within days, it will have found its final form. The musical style is krautrock and cinematic old electronica. It will be an encounter between science, film and music. The concert will be a reflection over/on/about humanity’s continuous quest for forward progress and where that has taken us today. Apollo 11 is usually seen as the ultimate achievement, the icing on the cake of the 500-year-long scientific revolution.

What connection do you see yourself, in between space and culture?
In this case the culture, music and film is a good medium to transmit across an important story about humanity, and its striving to develop. It’s really rewarding to be able to tell this with both music and film in front of a large audience. I also believe that it will be easier for people to become moved and embrace science when it is presented in such a way.

Could you explain a bit about the Open Space part of the programme too?
Open Space is created by Norrköping’s Visualiseringscenter, it’s a research project that has been going on for several years. They have gathered data from space, through satellites, and made a software tool of space with a huge amount of photos. With the Open Space tool you can go on a voyage in space, guided by a space pilot. You fly over the surface of Mars and you can see really good images. I tested it myself at Biograf Grand and was blown away. We have incorporated this element into our club and it will be coming together with specifically-composed music. Normally a club may have visuals up on the screen but here we take it a bit further by having visuals where we actually are making a journey through space. Plus we have Professor Anders Ynnerman from Linköping guiding the audience on their space journey.

Space A Go Go: Apollo Rising, Aug 17, 21:00-22:00, Skeppsbron. Kulturfestivalen, Aug 13-17. For full programme see kulturfestivalen.stockholm.se/skf

Photo: Poster by Henning Lindahl 

READ MORE: FESTIVAL SUMMER: KULTURFESTIVALEN

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