Trajectories I


Trajectories to escape a spherical object

My perception is enfolded within systems that I cannot oversee, because I am contained within them: political systems, ecosystems, climate systems, the planet. I long to understand these systems from within, yet in trying, I also disconnect from them, by looking upon them from a distance.

With the artistic research project Trajectories, I'm questioning what it means to live on a sphere. How do knowledge and experience become mingled in perception?

Radial Trajectory

Due to the size-ratio between my body and the planet, when walking or sailing over the surface, I am too small to see a sphere, yet I can see ships disappear over the horizon. As a surface dweller, I cannot oversee the whole picture, however, fellow humans created this picture for me by using imagination, mathematics and space technology. So now, when I think of the Earth, I see a spherical picture in my mind. Yet when I ‘see’ this picture, I am not ‘in it’ anymore: I look at it from a distance, in my mind.

Amongst other exercises, I imagine the different paths I could follow to escape a spherical object, using drawings and animations that show how the decreasing angles capturing the horizon until you see a spherical body. The radial trajectory is how I used to imagine the path of a space rocket (drawing above) and the view an astronaut would have while escaping a spheroid, like an orange (video).


Tangent Trajectory

The tangent trajectory is the trajectory of a long-distance pilot who accidentally flies in a straight instead of a curved line, escaping Earth's gravity against all odds.

Hohmann Transfer Orbit

The Hohmann Transfer Orbit is the path that is actually used by space rockets, allowing them to escape the pull of gravity of the Earth.

Imagine circling around the Earth in a spiral path, gradually allowing you to see a sphere, elliptically escaping, to hopefully return.


When escaping a small planet covered with the Rietveld Academy basement floor.

Interview with pilot

I interviewed short and long-distance pilots and asked them whether they experience their flight-paths as straight lines or curved trajectories.

The answer of one of the pilots during a flight was: 'In an airplane you are stuck to the ground'.

Shortly afterwards, I threw up in a bag.

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