Prepared By Juan Diaz Infante for cem


When defining something to go to space, it has to be defined as a mission. The concept of mission has to do with the way to overview many concepts and disciplines interacting. It is also the administration of language, there is a need for the team to understand each other.




originally written in 2010 / updated 2013

Designing an art piece in the format of a mission is a very strange feeling, it sounds like playing a spy game. Soon one realizes it is a problem of language to work between science and art. It is a problem of "meaning" to work between the experts of communications and the ones of energy supply. It is a new way to approach language, to have to learn to speak in formal language permits redefine the meaning of words. It is a spy game, everything is written in a different code.

The mission of Ulises I is divided in two basic directions. The Umbrella mission that covers Ulises I and other Ulises missions, and then the specific chore of each specific effort.



Mexico as a country, if we look back the last 100 years, and try to appreciate a general view, there is the same proportion in percentages between rich and poor (poverty above 50% of the population) , also, there is a war against the drug cartels in a country that did not have a drugs problem until the moment that the war started, once the war started, there has been a problem of security for the normal citizen that gets caught in the cross fire, the Secretary of Gobernación (equivalent to the vicepresident in US) declared in 2012 that there was not government control in over 30% of the country, there are over 50 thousand deaths related to the drugs war in the last 5 years.

Mexico's situation is not ideal, in many cases the government is qualified as a "failed state". I prefer to use the term collapsed, which term leaves room to stablish that some parts of it are still  working.

Therefore there is a need for changing reality, it is evident. the basic thesis is: If a group of citizens can launch something to space, anyone can. It is a proof that reality can be changed in a good way. There is the need of the artist to change the metaphor. We are changing the conversation.


To change reality, we are using what I call the poetic progression, it is a way to do things that are not a historical progression or a logical progression. We are living in strange times where we are seeing the end of a system, you can not follow its logic. It is the moment for imagination to step in. The artist can have a different social role. We have too much technology, we lack imagination.


One of the objectives of the mission is to make Ulises I a trigger of imagination, the whole piece is about the process, it is about the story. It is a hybrid, it has science, art, technology and the piece probes many layers of understanding, many ways to be read, so if I were to define the piece: it is a "contemporary opera". Opera in the XVI century was a hybrid of Greek theater and music in Italy. Now in the process of Ulises I is the story of a hybrid of music, performance, bureaucracy, engineering, exploration, literature, poetry, technology, education, etc. It is a great mixture of elements being told as a diary. As a travel diary.

Duchamp used to say, "the object of art is not the objective of art, it is the center of discussion".


The problems of our times will not be solved by science or technology or art. There is a need, an incredible need of common sense. That is a cultural issue. It is an issue that yields attitude as the medium.

To have generated a citizen's proposal to reach space, is to make science useful at a very base of the pyramid. Mexico is not partipating in the space race, it is not an actor in the global scene. Nonetheless the Mexican Space Collective is creating a possible narrative in which our scientists and engineers through culture they might have a global discourse.

The Mexican Space Collective is forming in Mexico, the smallest cell to send something to space, space for the citizen and generating a new narrative, beyond the gallery or the museum. We are conceptualizing the traditional pyramid of space industry upside down. The Inverted Pyramid.



The Mexican Space Collective, founded in 2010, one year before the Mexican Space Agency.

The idea of creating a collective, was to define that the solution to today's times in our World, we need to figure it out how to work as a collective. The definition of collective being a group in which some people think different from the other. Several artists were invited to form part of this group that were not working together before. Of many different backgrounds and ages.

The Mexican Space Collective was asked to generate the artistic shape of Ulises I. They had the freedom to work together or separate, to design its own strategy. The porposals that were worked on were displayed in the exhibit of the Fonoteca Nacional, June 2011.


The model designed for the funding of Ulises I is part of the narrative of the project. Since sponsors include institutions and companies that do not have to do with space or exploration. There is funding by EPSON, the printers or the Fonoteca Nacional (the national sound archives), Play! Festival, or a company in charge of water studies, among others. We are relying on the periphery, not necesarily in which institute should be doing the funding. It is a new way to interact with institutions, and specially in a developing country.



Barbara Grizzuti Harrison once said "All acts performed in the world begin in the imagination."

Ulises I wants to generate a similar dynamic as Jules Verne, to generate an imaginary. It is a minimal exercise in changing reality from a poetic point of view, it is rediscovering poiesis as an energy that moves the world. Redefining the geography of the citizen and the artist, to stablish the importance that the local is the universal.


Designing and construction of a nanosatellite, tubesat as an art piece.

Haiku as part of the outside structure / poetic progression.

Art intention by the Mexican Space Collective

Launching to space end 2013 / early 2014





Juan José Diaz Infante

Mission Director

No comments yet. Why not add the first?

Acknowledgements & Credits

Mission name :


Satellite name :

Ulises I , designed as an art process, as a musical instrument

Nationality of the mission :


International guests :


Perú/US, US, Spain


Mission director,

Juan José Díaz Infante


Authorship: The Mexican Space Collective

Arcangel Constantini,

Iván Puig,

Cabezas de Cera,

Marcela Armas,

Gilberto Esparza,

Omar Gasca,

Ariel Guzik,

Hugo Solís

Ramsés Luna

Arturo Márquez

Francisco Rivas



Teresa Bordona

Fernando Castro



Edgar Cano


Luisa Lichi



Design and consultancy Tubesat

Gerard Auvray



Centro Multimedia

Juan Galindo

Julio Zaldívar


Instituto Politécnico Nacional

José López CervantesMiguel Ángel Islas MoraProf:  Luis Manuel Rodriguez Mendez






Adolfo Morales Díaz

Alfredo Torres Fórtiz

Celso Gutiérrez Martínez

Jacobo Meza Pérez


Other pieces



Emilia Bellón, Samuel Lozada, Alma Vargas


Poster Ulises region 4

José Manuel Morelos



Esperanza Jaime


Sponsored by

Fonoteca Nacional

PLAY Festival

Laboratorio Arte Alameda

Estudio Jamaica


Foundation BBV



Centro Multimedia










You need to be logged in to report.