This text first appeared in Infotainment, no.6, 1999, published as part of an exhibition on the Association of Autonomous Astronauts at the Info Centre, 123a Mare Street, Hackney, London . It was credited to 'Charles Fourier, Constant and Jakob Jakobson, Copenhagan AAA'
The Association of Autonomous Astronauts (AAA) was launched in 1995 as a self-proclaimed non-hierarchical network of community-based space programmes in opposition to the state and corporate domination of space.
The network developed to include groups in the UK, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy and New Zealand . A variety of methods (such as conferences, videos and music) were used to explore different possibilities of life in space before much of the network dissolved in 2000 - although some groups remain active.
Everyday life in outer space - Copenhagen AAA (1999)
Even to be able to think about a new outline for life in outer space, it is necessary to underestimate economic powers and not take them too seriously. Many people will then claim that this is just one more satire to penetrate the idyllic self-conception of the bourgeois society. But that is not the case, because if we were able to imagine just one experimental community in outer space, the seed would have been sown, the rumour would be around and the example could spread all over the Universe. And as we already know from the friend and secret supporter of the AAA, Rupert Sheldrake, if a new idea is somehow introduced into the world it tends to replicate by means of morphic resonance and the likelihood is much increased that somebody else should get the same idea. The light bulb, for example, was invented in 2 or 3 places around the world at the same time.
In our test community around 1200 people are going to live together. Life in the community is going to be based on the highest degree of differentiation of the pleasure principle and will unfold in more dynamic and joyful ways than the limited possibilities the bourgeois nuclear family and the labour market offer us on Earth. The society is going to be based on agriculture, due to the unlimited and adjustable amounts of sunlight available in space. More advanced industry is only going to be undertaken as temporary work and will focus on developing means of communication.
People only need to work with what they feel like and should only work one and a half hours with the same task every day, then they can switch to other types of labour, to satisfy the 'butterfly drive', the drive for change. To overcome the Earthly dualism between work and play, and before labour will become play and play labour, every work task must be divided into as many functions as possible, not to - as in modern industrialism - to promote specialisation, but to make the possible combinations of tasks as varied as possible. Anybody can freely enter the group of people, that is working with the functions which attracts him or her the most.
The fact that around 1/8 of all necessary work tasks will remain unattractive has still to be dealt with. Maybe they could be made more interesting by offering special colourful spacesuits to the people doing this work, or by other means, which are still to be figured out. Coercion is never going to be used.
Only by taking part in the wide array of groups, which are the constructive particles in the social body, will the new settlers be able to realise their talents, desires and other potentials. The groups are instrumental in channelling talent and desires and every group will institutionalise an attraction; e.g. a group could be in charge of the growing of yellow tulips, another group could be in charge of the brewing of beer, another could be in charge of eating cookies, etc. As mentioned, the work task changes for everybody 8-10 times a day and may change up to 78 times during a week. In a week everybody could enter 40, 50 or more groups including the groups he or she is part of during the meals. And the next day again everybody can enter 12 or 15 groups, which are different from the groups of yesterday, because you are never having dinner with the same people, but often change company to make the meals more varied and joyful.
This idea, with the groups as the social fabric, is not based on the prejudice that all people are equal and similar. In space we have to develop a new understanding of human characteristics, which respects the specific blend of nuances corresponding to our experiences with people, when we try to abstract from their role as citizens and workforce which is the dominating framework within which we are normally understood on Earth. People are diverse and have a singular blend of at least 810 different character traits, which determine an individual. In everyday life in the test-community no desire should be repressed; only when they are repressed desires become destructive and anti-social.
As a logical consequence of the variety of character traits and personalities, people will not always agree and everyday life in the space-community will be filled with conflicts and rivalry. But when they are based on non-destructive drives they should not become repressive, but will be creative like dissonances in music. A community of 1800 individuals creates at least 3000 antipathies, 6000 egoistic emotions and 600,000 disharmonies. The reason that the desires in human life on earth create division and misery is not that the desires demand too much, it is because the society offers them too little. And furthermore, the competition in our test-community will not be between individuals but between groups and not between two opposing groups but between at least three groups according to the well known principles of triolectics. The members of groups are not permanent but fluctuating according to the blend of desires the given group are channelling, which means that the rivalry will never go on between the same group of people.
The construction of the basic shell of the spaceship to house the community will last 2 years. It is not desirable to gather the participants before take off from Earth, because their interrelations will still be the same as on earth, i.e. disconnected; that is until they arrive to the spaceship where they are going to construct their new living quarters and lay out the gardens. The living quarters of the spaceship is going to be built of cheap materials, wood, tinfoil etc, so it is not going to be a big task changing and rebuilding in case the life in the community should demand it. The spaceship is going to be an ongoing building site and will take shape as a direct opposite of Le Corbusiers work obsessed town plans. It will be a composition of variable and flexible elements, that follows the demands of the various groups channelling different drives.
The centre of the spaceship will contain peaceful activities such as dining rooms, discussion rooms, libraries, reading rooms, computer and communication rooms etc. There will also be a little garden. One of the wings will contain all the noisy activities such as wood and metal workshops and the kitchens. This wing will also contain the industrial workshops for the children, because children are usually making noise even when they make music. The other wing will contain the guest rooms and the reception bay, which welcome guests or new people to the community.
The gardens in the test-community will break with the traditions on Earth. The different cultures in this new world will weave together in all directions. On Earth people lay out the flower garden and the vegetable garden separately, but that habit will not be accepted any more. It is necessary that the gardens weave into each other. The flower plantations should be nearest the centre of the spaceship and have to be planted in big areas that cross the areas in which herbs and fruit trees are growing. Even in the big agricultural areas isolated fields of flowers will be planted; e.g. squares with rose bushes, borders with wild flowers, hills with daisies. In the flower field near the centre there should be isolated squares of vegetables, e.g. fields with cabbage, rows of green peas etc. We will leave behind the false division between ornament and use. Marigolds have a delicious and slightly peppery taste and are good in salads.
It is possible for people to build pavilions and sheds in the countryside if they feel like it. It might be attractive for groups of introspects.
The task in our community is also to channel the happiness about food, which the children show. Therefore we are going to intensify the children's' passions about food by letting them grow up in the kitchen. The kids like the noises from the kitchen and are happy to take part in the noise making. As a gift when they are born all children are going to have a perfect set of kitchen tools; spoons, frying pans, whisks etc. This is going to stimulate the child's senses and nervous system in general. The pleasure principle demands this, and in our space community all kids are going to learn the joy of cooking. Instead of trying to limit and civilise the passions about food, they are going to be encouraged to develop as gluttons. In our space community all are going to be cooks and gluttons. The education of the children in the kitchen will make them able to take an active part in the activities in the community later on in their more mature life. They will be able to participate in the rivalry between groups in the kitchen. If, for example, 20 groups are competing over who is making the tastiest cabbage, it is necessary to know the different kinds of smell from cabbage, the different ways to prepare cabbage and the consequences of varying methods of cultivation. The kids are only going to live in the kitchens until they are 9 years old.