Photo: Lydia White.

How nerdster-chic is this: a global convergence of the exploration of space exploration, ecological savvy, technological innovation, and musical-motional performance, in honor of Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin launching the first-ever human flight into space? Described as “Cinco de Mayo” for space, Yuri’s Night is a 35-nation cosmorave. It was big last year. It’s going to be much bigger this year.

What’s all this space stuff got to do with music and motion? Everything: music and visual performance are a big part of this party, as Sun Ra-loving, space-inspired, Space Age technologist artists push creative tech. (Amon Tobin is headlining, Will Wright is keynote speaker.) Winter Music what? I want my space fiesta.

Attention, Cosmonauts

Welcome to NASA’s house. Photo: Lydia White.

CDM is involved, and you can be, too, wherever you are in the world:

California, here we come: If you’re anywhere near greater San Francisco, you’re going to want to clear your calendar on April 12 for Yuri’s Night Bay Area at NASA Ames Research Center. It’s the main party, right in NASA’s Earth-bound back yard. There’s a massive musical lineup and various live visuals and interactive installations, plus space geekery galore, and Will Wright (he wowed NASA’s real-life space scientists with his procedural virtual cosmos in his upcoming game Spore). Buy those tickets while they’re still available.

We need help, Californians! Photographers and videographers, we can use your help covering the event. Like much of this event, it’s volunteer-only, but if you send me a link to some of your past work, I can help secure an official press pass for CDM; if you’re a pro, I’m happy to help promote your work. Drop me a line. I can’t get press passes for everybody, so definitely send some samples — and everyone else, we’ll have a group on Vimeo and Flickr.

Online coverage: Stay tuned to CDM for the latest on how visual and sonic technology and artists are connecting to outer space. We’ve got a new, dedicated site in collaboration with the folks running the flagship Yuri’s Night Bay Area — — so we can talk to the artists and cover all the projects.

In your part of the world: Wherever you are, you can launch your own Yuri’s Night party. Host a party and register it with the global network (see how to party info). It’s a bit late, theoretically, but we’ve thrown together some cool CDM events in short order and we’ll help you promote your event here on CDM. Judging by Google Analytics, I know we have a lot of CDM readers in London, Sydney, Paris, Chicago, Berlin, Melbourne, and Seattle. (No, really — in that order. Go figure. Moscow’s there, too — #42, getting beat by Atlanta, Georgia, so I think we need some Cosmonauts getting involved.)

Hello, Ames Research Center!

Amon Tobin. Photo: rcoder, via Flickr.

Yuri’s Night will be happening worldwide, but the lineup for the Bay Area flagship event is looking terrific. Amon Tobin joins Tipper, John Tejada, Lusine, Scuba, Digitonal vs. Posthuman, [a]pendics.shuffle, Deru, Tycho, Mr. Projectile, Dr. Toast and our friend Ganucheau — and that’s just electronics. Live vocal/instrumental music includes Freezepop (as made infamous by various Harmonix games), avant-garde cello and guitar, and the 17-member marching Gamelan X, among others. Game maker Will Wright joins NASA astrobiologist Jonathan Green and eco-friendly scientists.

We’ll be posting updates to the lineup at — you’ll hear about it there before anywhere else. Check out the lineup so far, but I know of some interesting installation and art pieces that aren’t there yet.


Will Wright, as captured by MoonSoleil of Saarbrücken, Germany.


The crowd  at Yuri’s Night last year — I’m guessing you can basically multiply this by several times to imagine 2008. Photo: JasonUnbound.