(Arts and sciences collaboration and media documentation, 1979-80)

“GFD” was a dedicated arts and sciences project, involving a small, select group of specially skilled aerobatic performers and the director/videographer, in a series of gravitational simulation ‘studies’, produced with the coordinated cooperation of NASA facilities and personnel. Building on my successful prior (seven year) arts collaborations with NASA, “GFD” was formally initiated in 1979 with my receiving a Media Arts Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. “GFD” was intended to result in a one hour PBS (NOVA) program, applying new performing art forms to highlight the scientific study and preparation for human life in space.

Extensive organizational groundwork was established in order to realize this innovative project, and additional funding was being sought. Production had barely begun at NASA’s Ames Research Center and Johnson Space Center, when the project was unexpectedly halted without explanation in Fall 1980, as the new Reagan administration applied severely restricting pressures on NASA, and on the NEA. Cooperation and any ability to proceed, came to an ‘unspoken’ end. “GFD” was (temporarily) shelved, as my other creative projects took life. A studio fire in 1989 severely damaged the original documentary video tapes of a KC-135 flight and a Neutral Buoyancy experiment. Complete program storyboards, slides and some other documentation remain.

Project Creator/Director/Videographer: Richard Lowenberg

Invited Aerobatic Performers included: Margaret Fisher, Dancer/Choreographer, Bay Area; Toby Towson, Gymnast/Choreographer, NYC; Stephanie Evanitsky, MultiGravitational Dance Co., NYC

Assigned NASA Specialists: Jack Lousma, Astronaut/Skylab Pilot; Jesco von Puttkamer, Headquarters, DC; Pete Waller, Public Affairs, Bill Williams and Patricia Cowings, Bio-Physiology, NASA ARC

NASA Research and Training Facilities: KC-135 Flights and Neutral Buoyancy water tank, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; Centrifuge (3 Gs); Harness & Counterbalance; Air Bearing Table; Computer Graphic Simulation; BioMedical Research and Extended Bed-Rest, Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA