Located in Lisbon’s main planetarium, Planetário Calouste Gulbenkian, Neoasterisms is a participatory project commissioned as part of experimentadesign 2013: No Borders. Neoasterisms examines the history of astronomical cartography as a site of cultural hegemony and a metaphor for histories of political decision-making, proposing a new map of the stars based on an open, participatory and culturally inclusive standard.

Neoasterisms invites participants from all over the world—either in person or via the web platform—to propose new constellations, submit their own mythologies, and revive lost astronomical traditions that were set aside when the global standard of celestial nomenclature was introduced by the International Astronomical Union in 1922. It is an attempt to question the largely Western-Eurocentric nature of contemporary astronomical standards.

Neoasterisms builds a framework for the collaborative inscription of the ideals, fears, and dreams of a new civilisation. If we started from scratch, if we looked at our starscape as a tabula rasa, what new constellations would we draw in 2013—in an era of borderless interaction, the simultaneous diversification and homogenisation of culture, and the proliferation of networks throughout society? What myths from distant cultures would we choose to revive as emblems of our own value system? Which artifacts or figures would we elevate to mythic status? What marginalised narratives would be unearthed? And how would we find resolution between independent voices in a process of global decision-making?


Project team: Joseph Grima, Tamar Shafrir
Graphic design by
Table fabrication by Alessandro Mason and Marcello Comoglio
Illustration by Giada Fiorindi
Website by Manuel Ehrenfeld
Video by Ben Landau

Exhibition dates:

9 November – 22 December 2013: experimentadesign 2013: No Borders, Planetário Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon

8 – 13 April, 2014: Atelier Clerici, Milan, Italy