On the fiftieth anniversary of NASA’s famed “Blue Marble” photograph (1972), the University of Portsmouth will host a series of public talks, screenings, workshops and artworks from December 7th to 9th that reassess its historical impact and enduring legacy. As a talismanic icon in US (and global) visual culture, the Blue Marble not only offered a spectacular vision of the Earth seen from space, but quickly intervened in a range of political, cultural and scientific debates. It has subsequently served as a launch pad from which discussions emerge over issues as varied as the environment, the ethics of space travel, geopolitics, global interconnectedness, philosophy and, indeed, the scientific understanding of the earth itself. From Greenpeace to Gaia to Google Maps, from the tranquillity of outer space to social unrest on Earth, it is an image inextricably associated with a transformative period of US and global history, and an icon that continues to elicit analysis and interrogation.
The Whole Earth brings together historians, scientists, artists and designers in a wide-ranging discussion of the photograph as a historical and contemporary icon. The events are supported by the US Embassy, London, and the British Association for American Studies and are free to attend. Public talks situate the Blue Marble within wider political, cultural, scientific and technological transformations of the 1960s, 1970s and beyond. Artworks reflect on the photograph’s visual legacy, ideological import and the opportunities and challenges associated with constructing a “Blue Marble for 2022.”
The events kick off with a live panel discussion at 2pm on Wednesday 7 December 2022, which you will be able to watch online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGIHllw9iDc. Throughout Wednesday, Thursday and Friday there will be a number of in person and online talks, workshops and screenings. See the link below for a schedule and tickets. Advance booking is required. Please follow the Eventbrite link to reserve your tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-whole-earth-nasas-blue-marble-photograph-fifty-years-on-tickets-465737231597