The Society for Speculative Rocketry

Hours: March 15 10:00AM-7:00PM; March 16 10:00AM-9:00PM
Cost: $25 Day 1; $60 Day 1+2

In this weekend-long space workshop, become a member of the Society for Speculative Rocketry.

The aim of the Society is to explore the relationship between past and future realities of space travel and how they live within the public imaginary. The early rocketeers from Robert H. Goddard to the Berlin Society for Space Travel (from whom the Society takes inspiration for its name) worked their way from ideas to functional prototypes to the massive technological artifacts that took us to the Moon and beyond, initially guided by the fiction of Jules Verne and the writings of Russian cosmists such as Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

We are fascinated by the role of props and scale models, and by how technological breakthroughs are commonly ‘pre-enacted’ within the blurry areas afforded by fiction and the construction of functional prototypes. How are such practices being employed in the design processes of contemporary science and engineering? Inversely, we wonder what it means to re-enact a historical event through scale models and what the space ships that live in our collective memory and imagination may look like.
In order to pursue some of those questions, and follow up on a preliminary re-enactment of a model rocket launch in February, the Society will stage an inaugural two-day event at Eyebeam, New York City, on March 15th and 16th 2014.

Day 1 consists of an guided speculation session that builds on the practice of The Extrapolation Factory which will have participants work from materials such as NASA’s 100-year-plan to eventually create their own scale models of space ships or other related artifacts, real or fictional. At the end of the day each participant will have at least one piece of ‘payload’ that will go into a functional model rocket.

Day 2 falls on the 88th anniversary of Robert H. Goddard’s launch of the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket at his aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn, Massachusetts. To mark this momentous event, the Society, together with the participants of the meeting, will embark on a day-trip in order to launch the rockets and their payload from the very spot from which humanity had first tested the possibility of eventually escaping the gravitational pull of planet Earth.


Sascha Pohflepp (*1978) is a German-born artist, designer and writer whose work has been known to probe the role of technology in our efforts to understand and influence our environment. His interest extends across both historical aspects and visions of the future and his practice often involves collaboration with other artists and scientists, creating work on subjects ranging from synthetic biology to geo-engineering and space exploration.   In fall/winter 2013/2014 Sascha Pohflepp is an artist-in-residence at Eyebeam, New York City. Recent exhibitions include Bunny Smash at MOT Tokyo, Grow Your Own at Science Gallery Dublin, Talk To Me at MoMA New York, and Photographing the Future at the Moscow Center for Contemporary Art.

Chris Woebken uses futuring practices to create props, narratives and visualizations investigating the impacts as well as the aesthetic and social potentials of technologies. He runs workshops and often collaborates with scientists, organizations, artists and engineers to invent and build prototypes of future services and products.  He has worked with Natalie Jeremijenko, exhibited at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and has been a frequent guest critic and lecturer at Columbia University, the Rhode Island School of Design, Artcenter Pasadena and New York City’s School of Visual Arts.


Day 1 (3/15): 10:00AM – 7:00PM Speculation and Rocket Assembly at Eyebeam

Day 2 (3/16): 10:00AM – 9:00PM Trip to Historic Goddard Launch site


Thank you to US Rockets for their support for this event!

People: Chris WoebkenErica KermaniSascha Pohflepp
Tags: aerospace, future, NASA, rockets, simulation, Space