Michael Murphy © 2024

Title of Artwork: Stag
Artist(s):Sarah Fortais

Affiliations: Artist-In-Residence Report , Centre for Outer Space Studies , University College London


Despite the island of Lunga being uninhabited by humans, the crew discovered a significant non-human presence in the form of red deer that had swum over from nearby islands. Fortais was able to excavate one complete deer skeleton and several shed antlers during the mission, and subsequently fabricated a deer space-suit. Building a spacesuit for a deer acknowledges deer as the mission’s precursory explorers and references the history of animal space travel (where animals were often used as non-consensual off-world travellers prefacing human missions). Perhaps, the spacesuit could be an offering left for Lunga deer who desire protection from unexpected (alien) human encounters. Fortais began building spacesuits for animals in 2016 but continues to improve the designs as she finds skeletons and useful detritus.


French military parachute bag, deer skull, coat hanger, piano key mechanism, Skull Hooker, plastic bags, newspaper, curtains, golf bags, shin guard, elbow pads, ski bag, ducting, boots, running shoes, children’s boo- ties, bike tire, reflective bands, leather jackets, horse ankle/shin guards, bed post, CD rack, plastic tubes, rock wool, film splicing tape, packing tape, grommets/eyelets/metal fixings, nylon/leather/cotton/polyes- ter-nylon rope, parachute cord, wood trolley, Gorilla glue




spacesuits animals