The Overview Effect

The Overview Effect

Astronauts who have seen the Earth from space have often described the experience as one that has transformed their perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it; It has enabled them to perceive it as our shared home, without boundaries between nations or species. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

This cognitive shift in awareness, reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during space flight, is called The Overview Effect. The term and concept was coined in 1987 by Frank White, who explored them in his book The Overview Effect — Space Exploration and Human Evolution (Houghton-Mifflin, 1987)

 To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph taken of Earth from space, Planetary Collective have released a short film that documents astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside. Released on December 7, 2012, at Harvard University, the film entitled “Overview” features insights from commentators and thinkers on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment. 

The Overview Institute played a major role in the making of the film, and the film features several members of the Overview Group, including:

  • • EDGAR MITCHELL – Apollo 14 astronaut and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences
  • • RON GARAN – ISS astronaut and founder of humanitarian organisation Fragile Oasis
  • • NICOLE STOTT – Shuttle and ISS astronaut and member of Fragile Oasis
  • • JEFF HOFFMAN – Shuttle astronaut and senior lecturer at MIT
  • • SHANE KIMBROUGH – Shuttle/ISS astronaut and Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army
  • • FRANK WHITE – space theorist and author of the book ‘The Overview Effect’
  • • DAVID LOY- philosopher and author
  • • DAVID BEAVER – philosopher and co-founder of The Overview Institute

 Planetary Collective is a group of filmmakers, visual media creatives and thinkers who work with cosmologists, ecologists and philosophers to explore some of the big questions facing our planet at this time. Embracing a multidisciplinary, multi-media approach, they bring scientists, philosophers and researchers together with designers, coders and creatives to bring new perspectives to audiences around the world in fresh and innovative ways.


About Art Selectronic

Art Selectronic is an artist-led initiative, that supports grass-roots contemporary art that remains unswayed by fashion, trends or the whims of government funding. The project involves ongoing research into the placing of contemporary art, it’s audiences and it’s relationship to the everyday. We place great emphasis on context. Our mission is to support new works of contemporary art and foster an audience from a wide range of backgrounds.
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