The Orthostatic Tolerance: You Can Do Whatever You Like

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Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. April 24-August 2, 2009

The Orthostatic Tolerance is a multi-phase work in which the artist seeks to connect the outer reaches of space and the depths of the ocean. Orthostatic Tolerance refers to the physiological stress that cosmonauts and deep-sea explorers endure while exiting, and more importantly re-entering their home, the thin surface of planet Earth. In 2006 Strachan began negotiations with the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia and the Institute of Oceanology to begin his training. He has since completed cosmonaut training and received dive certification. This project has many facets and moves between the sociological and the physiological.

The first phase has so far resulted in two exhibitions:

First, a project exhibited at the Mattress Factory—“Where Do We Go From Here”—which consisted of an interior, diorama-like space resembling the charred and coal-covered landscape of a dead star. The landscape can only be viewed remotely (from an observation station located outside the museum) via cameras placed on a rover that inhabits the space.

Second, sculpture, video and photography exhibted at the ICA in Philadelphia, which documents the commencement of activities of BASEC, the Bahamian Aerospace Exploration Center. Glass rockets, made by the artist from island sand and fueled by local sugar cane, were launched in March 2009. On view are broken glass rocket pieces and a pre-launch rocket in vitrines; photographs of the launches; and, the vehicle used to undertake these activities with video documentation incorporated into the back of the truck.