Artemis: A critical study on the relations between the feminine and the moon (through lore, crafts, and outer space)

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master’s Programme in Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art
ARTEMIS: A critical study on the relations between the Feminine and the Moon (through lore, crafts, and outer space) is a feminist lunar study investigating the mystical, ecological and scientifically intersectional influence that our planet’s Moon has on earthly beings, especially ones with predominantly feminine attributes. The leading figure of the research is Artemis, a Greek Moon goddess, who is revealed to be a transmutation of other heathen deities still worshipped in some contemporary Wiccan movements (looking at the Dianic Wicca tradition in the USA founded in the 1970s by the spiritualist and feminist activist, Zsuzsanna Budapest), while also being the eponym of the next lunar landing mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), planned to launch in 2024 with the promise to take the first women astronauts to the Moon. I commence the thesis with the ambition to untangle the archetypes of three pre-Christian lunar deities (the Greek Artemis, the Roman Diana, and the German Holda) by looking at their magical virtues and their influence on empowering feminist crafts. Then, I venture into the realm of the arts, analysing two literary works of early science-fiction (Laura’s Dream; or The Moonlanders by Melesina Chenevix Trench—which was the first work of the lunar voyage genre published by a woman author; and Johannes Kepler’s Somnium—which also influenced Trench’s writing) focusing on their depiction of occult powers ascribed to the Moon and certain feminine characters (specifically the Mother figure, which in both pieces play a significant role with peculiar resemblances). Following that, I wish to examine the Artemis lunar program, together with relevant international outer space policies (principally the 1979 Moon Agreement and the legacy of Eilene Galloway in establishing peaceful space advocacy). I conclude this chapter with a manifold inquiry on the ethics of space exploration that in the light of the current governmental and corporate agency objectives seems to require serious eco-political and philosophical reconsiderations. Lastly, with respect to my background in photography, I also dedicate a section to the technique of cyanotype, which relates to astronomy in its origins, some marine ecologies in its presence, and as a microbial entity might also pay a pivotal role in the space colonisation of the future. For this, I invited a contemporary photographic artist (Louise Long and her cyanotype series, Having the Moon for Company), whose work, revolving around and created in collaboration with lunar phenomena, come into dialogue with the content of my writing, while also generously illustrating its body.
Davis, Lucy
Thesis advisor
Laakso, Harri
moon, feminine, lunar study, intersectional ecology, queer-feminisms, space exploration, mythology, occult crafts
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