Skylab Recollected: How Reality TV Started in Space

George Henry Longly’s new art demonstrate reimagines the lives of astronauts in Skylab, NASA’s first space station–who were watched every moment of their mission.”>

To be alive now is to be constantly performing. You have to present yourself in some kind of practical way. I entail, you dont have to but its what it is like to be alive now.

George Henry Longly is standing in the middle of a makeshift kitchen appearing up at a microphone hanging from the ceiling. Longly, a Londoner by way of the English countryside, is in New York City for the opening of his first solo American gallery demonstrate at the nightclub-level-of-hipness galleryspace Red Bull Studios New York in Chelsea.

In a few hours, red velvet ropes will set up outside the gallerys door, VIPs will be checked-in on an iPad and an open bar will serve some sort of spicy tequila and lemonade concoctionall unfamiliar sights in the normally staid dry white wine gallery opening evenings in the neighborhood.

For now though, Longlywho the London Evening Standard described as an artist carrying the tag of one to watch for a few years but[ who] looks like his time nowis garmented in tracksuit gasps and a sweatshirt bearing the title of his demonstrate: We All Love Your Life.

He is doing one final walk through before the doors officially open to the public.

The title of the show is meant to invoke space, or more specifically, the lives of astronauts in a space station, especially the Skylab, NASAs first space station, which orbited the globe from 1973 -1 979.

It is the kind of thing those of us stuck on earth might tell appearing up at a night sky and imagining what life must be like for those space travelers.Or it is the kind of thing any of us guess as we scroll through social media, looking at our friends carefully manicured creek of photos of beach vacations and beautiful children and perfectly poured cocktails.

They were overexposed. The astronauts were the first reality Tv starrings. It was the first time we had access to people constantly. They were always on film, Longly says.

At one end of the gallery is an oblique replica of the Skylab. A corner is painted a deep NASA blue. Out of one wall comes a transcript of Dionysus from the Elgin Marbles, surrounded by brackets and braces to help the Greek god move through zero gravity. A makeshift dreamcatcher hangs nearby.

But those starfarers were just like us in other ways too. For one thing, they were always running, and always expected to be working. If we go on vacation still tethered to our devices and never quite outstripping the reaching our of workplace overloads, they too were constantly tethered to mission control.

Well, enough of this lollygagging. We gotta get to work, YEAH DARN IT, reads an inscribed mirror in the demonstrate, a transcription of some galactic communication. What do you entail. Dont we have two more hours of lollygagging? We blew our lollygagging day yesterday now we got to get to work.

( Lollygagging. This is not a word I know. Its an American word, isnt it, Longly asks. It is kind of like a daydreaming thing ?)

Longly became interested in notions of space when browsing through a London thrift store and coming across a 1976 volume called

A House In Space by the New Yorker writer Henry S.F. Cooper, which chronicled the life of the Skylab crew.

The book is mostly concerned with how the astronauts lived: how they ate, slept, went to the bathroom, dealt with the constant surveillance from Ground Control.

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