Giant Steps at King Street Station



Artist Residency on the Moon

March 3 – April 3, 2016

King Street Station, Seattle WA USA

A group competition and exhibition

Presented by Vital 5 Productions

Curated by Greg Lundgren

Please visit for a complete overview.

Giant Steps is a conceptual group exhibition positing the question of art in space. The Pacific Northwest holds an unlikely concentration of public and private space enterprises, including but not limited to Boeing, Vulcan Aerospace, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Space X, and Blue Origins. All of these companies are actively engaged in cutting edge technologies designed to take mankind into outer space. While there are a number of reasons behind this quest for space travel, seldom do we talk about how this affects the future of art and culture, and more specifically, what would artists do given the opportunity to create art in space.

First proposed as an imaginary exhibit on the website, Vital 5 Productions has decided to bring this concept to the international arts community as a competition and exhibition, designed to inspire the creative and technical communities to imagine and propose art projects on the surface of the Moon. While the incentive for the participating artist or team may not be the actualization of their project, there will be a $10,000.00 cash prize, determined by a jury composed of aerospace and art professionals. Beyond this monetary award, Giant Steps will yield an unprecedented bounty of art-in-space proposals, giving humanity at large an inspired and original collection of conceptual artworks previously not considered.

Vital 5 Productions will host an open call for proposals, October 1, 2015 – January 14, 2016, and vet the most imaginative, innovative and conceptually strong ideas for inclusion into the Giant Steps exhibition. The number of proposals exhibited will be driven by available space and diversity of medium, with a jury of eight selecting the winner from those artists or teams included in the exhibit. Curator Greg Lundgren will serve as the ninth vote in the event of a tie.

The Vital 5 will host an opening reception for Giant Steps on Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 from 6:00 to 10:00 pm, with gallery hours Saturday and Sunday 12:00 to 6:00 pm, through April 3rd, 2016. There is a $10.00 suggested donation, with free admission to children under 13 and adults over 65.

Competition Rules

1 – Your work on the Moon must be achievable by you and one assisting astronaut. Subcontractors and other third parties may assist in your preparations, operations and execution from Earth, but only the artist and assisting astronaut will be present on the Moon.

2 – The full payload of your supplies and materials to the moon cannot exceed 6 cubic feet and weigh no more than 60 KG. Your return payload cannot exceed 5 KG.

3 – No explosives, toxic substances, or hazardous materials may be included in said payload. Batteries and/or solar powered equipment are permissible.

4 – Artist, or artist groups may include installation, sculpture, performance, dance, film, moon works or mixed media.

5 – The resident artist and assisting astronaut will have a total of twelve hours outside the craft, on the surface of the moon. This time will be divided into three 4 hour intervals maximum. Total duration of Moon residency will be 48 hours.

6 – Artists may use existing material on the moon (such as rocks and dust) and are expected to leave their supplies and/or artwork on the moon.

7 – The budget for supplies and materials for your proposed project cannot exceed $500,000.00 US dollars.

8 – Artist and artist groups must take into consideration the temperature, gravitational force and other atmospheric conditions of the Moon. We recommend using Wikipedia for general information and consulting with scientists, engineers and physicists to verify the plausibility of your proposal. Proposals that do not consider the scientific and atmospheric conditions on the moon will not be included in the exhibition.

9 – The landing site of the craft will be in the lunar equatorial regions, near side of the Moon, during the lunar mid-morning.

10 – The winning proposal will be based upon originality, conceptual strength, and technical feasibility. Please view these parameters as though the winning proposal were indeed going to be executed.

Exhibition Rules

1 – Giant Steps is open to all people in all countries, regardless of age, education, or background.

2 – You are allowed to enter one proposal. This can be submitted as a group or as an individual.

3 – Proposals can be a combination of text and image. Proposals are submitted by emailing: and must no larger than 3 MB total. Proposals accepted for exhibition are expected to be presented in the context of an art exhibition. This may include prototypes, constructions, performance, video or other demonstrations to help better represent your idea.

4 – Proposals must be presented as follows:

A – Title of Proposal

B – Name(s) of presenting artist(s) or team

C – Physical Address, email and phone of contact

D – 500 words or less description of your proposal

E – 250 words or less on how your proposal will manifest for gallery exhibition

4 – Proposal deadline is midnight, January 14, 2016. Late entries will not be considered.

5 – Proposals must be within the realm of possibility. You do not have to fully understand the technology involved, but technically-impossible submissions will be disqualified. We want ideas that can be realized.

6 – Vital 5 Productions will screen submitted proposals for exhibition and define the exhibiting artists (between 50-100). These accepted proposals will be then prepared for exhibition (2D, 3D and performance/installation aspects encouraged) by the artist or team. Proposals that have performance and/or 3D elements are encouraged.

7 – Eight jurors (four from the aerospace community and four from the art community) will review and select the winning entry on March 2nd. The winner will be announced at 9:00 pm, March 3rd, during the opening celebration. Artist payment will be made no later than March 10, 2016.

8 – Applicants are responsible for providing all exhibition material and/or art/performance/film to the King Street Station – be that in person or by post. Applicants are not required to attend the exhibition, but are responsible for transportation costs to and from the event space. (Artists are also responsible for the installation of their work, whether in person, or in the form of detailed instruction provided for the curatorial team to use as reference.)

9 – Vital 5 Productions retains the right to photograph, publish or reproduce the content of any submission exhibited in Giant Steps.

10 – Entries selected for exhibition must be retrieved from King Street Station within 7 days of closing (April 3, 2016).

11 – All artists, engineers and persons accepted to exhibit in Giant Steps will receive full access to the competition.

Inspiration for Giant Steps

Inspiration for Giant Steps came from a fictional blog post written by Greg Lundgren in June of 2014. Vital 5 offers a portion of this content to give a broader understanding of Giant Steps and its inspiration. Please note that the original parameters have changed and the below text does not represent the competition rules for Giant Steps.

W3seattle blog post – Walking on the Moon – June 30, 2014

Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line. Sometimes it requires seemingly irrational detours, taking you off track and temporarily away from the trajectory of your dreams.

For the team at Mars2025, this was the exact predicament in which they had found themselves. This group of space enthusiasts, billionaires, astronauts and NASA chiefs (both past and present) realized that in order to fund their 60 billion dollar manned mission to Mars (employing Dr. Robert Zubrin’s Mars Direct approach), they must first build a base support and pop culture enthusiasm that rivaled or eclipsed the optimism of space travel that existed in a post WWII America. And that, they concluded, was done by returning to the Moon in two highly publicized and propagated trips in the summer of 2016.

The space community is not terribly excited about a return to the Moon. Sure it has been 44 years since man last stepped out of Apollo 1 and planted a flag into the silver dust of the Moon, but the cost-to-scientific-gain ratio did not pencil out – in many minds a return to the Moon is a dog-and-pony show, specifically designed to bolster support both publically and politically for the much more expensive, much more dangerous, and much more rewarding mission to Mars. But as Sir Richard Branson said, “I’d enter myself in the Westminster Dog Show if that is what it took to get to Mars.” His group held a ‘by any means possible’ attitude, and Mars2025 could never be accused of a lack of passion or resource.

Mars2025 is a privately funded group of space enthusiasts and scientists that include equal part billionaires, such as Elon Musk, Paul Allen, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, with seasoned aerospace veterans Dr. Alan Stern, Mike Griffin, Burt Rutan and Peter H. Diamandis. Their first return flight to the Moon is branded “scientific” and their second flight to the Moon considered “artistic”. In an attempt to bolster support for a manned mission to Mars, they are sending an artist to the Moon. Sending an artist to the Moon. I could say that over and over all day long…

The technical specifications are inspiring all by themselves. From their artist call:

The two-person crew will consist of one NASA certified astronaut and one “artist”. If the selected “artist” does not meet the physical and psychological requirements of the mission, an appropriate substitution may be made. The mission will last approximately 48 hours with 26 hours spent on the surface of the Moon. Two space walks will be performed totaling 4 hours outside of the craft. The “artist” is allowed no more than 6 cubic feet of cargo weighing no more than 30 kilograms. Installation, performance, sculpture, dance, and/or land art will be considered for selection. Select artist proposals will be judged by the Mars2025 board of directors and awarded based upon originality, inspiration, and artistic merit.

That was the extent of their artist call. No prize money offered, no material expenses, just one trip to the Moon (at a value of approximately 600 million dollars). The sheer opportunity to walk on the moon and brilliance of glancing back and viewing our planet from space would be enough to motivate just about anyone. Being the first artist to create a work of art on the Moon? Priceless. (I’m actually surprised Visa didn’t want in on that campaign.)

Walden Three was honored to host this amazing selection of artist proposals in the Mercer Gallery this May. Guest curator Jeffrey Deitch and company rolled up their sleeves to task through the 10,851 submissions, narrowing down the selections to the most compelling (and accomplishable) proposals from 98 countries.

Andy Goldsworthy was a tough act to follow, requesting only a wooden handle gardening hoe with which he planned to carve into the moon dust a 100 meter fingerprint. Yoko Ono wanted to bring the flags of the other 195 countries not currently represented on the moon, reflecting a planetary conquest that is not nation-driven but humanity-driven. There were a surprising number of graffiti artists in the group, all wanting to tag a moon rock, or in some cases construct a wall so they have a man-made surface to tag (Banksy, Zephyr, Inkie, Ewok, as well as Seattle’s own NKO and Jeff Jacobson rounding out the final cut).

Seattle artists also included John Sutton – whose proposed 3M collaborated solar ‘yarn toss’ would have propelled nearly a mile of illuminating high-tech string into black space, and Iole Alessandrini, whose laser installation would scan and map passing asteroids and other space junk.

Kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen presented beautifully detailed drawings of his solar powered mechanical “Strandbeests” that would roam the surface for (potentially) generations to come.  Ai Weiwei partnered up again with Olafur Eliasson for an architectural structure called TIMEOUT. And maybe it was expected to see a host of architecture and design firms raise their hand for structures both metaphorical and dysfunctional. It was nice to see Tom Kundig in the mix and Zaha Hadid proposing about the most insane ‘tent construction’ I’ve ever witnessed. Even actor Zach Galifianakis put on his thinking cap, proposing a 280-foot collapsible ladder that would help a moon walker get 280 feet closer to Earth (it was entitled CAN WE GO HOME NOW?).

But in the end, the Mars2025 jury bypassed the A list artists, the starchitects, and the comedians for the more serious and introspective proposal by artist/educator Nevdon Jamgochian.


Never before had an opening at Walden 3 been so populated by security measures and private bodyguards, but then again, we did have 5 billionaires in the Mercer Gallery at once. And it isn’t just radicals and would-be kidnappers that follow billionaires around – we had a surprising amount of celebrities rubbing shoulders during the private reception and subsequent party at the Four Seasons. Who knew Kim Kardashian was interested in outer space?

– GL

Giant Steps is made possible with the generous support of our sponsors:

The Goodship Company


Seattle Office of Arts and Culture

For additional information, please contact Greg Lundgren.

Email –

Mail – 1011 Boren Avenue, Seattle WA 98104

Comments are closed.