Natural History Museum, London

  Featuring “Deep Space,” a new ambient composition by Brian Eno               Photos by Lucie Goodayle  


Die Presse

Review of Vienna show

Der Standard

Review of Otherworlds at NHM Vienna

Suddeutsche Zeitung

Review of “Otherworlds” at NHM London (in German)

Daily beast

SPACED OUT 02.21.16 12:01 AM ET Planet Earth As You’ve Never Seen It Before Stunning images of space explore the depths of the solar system but teach us most about our very own planet.   LONDON — Marveling at Michael … Continued

Daily Mail

Amazing images by artist Michael Benson use raw data from Nasa and European Space Agency (Esa) missions They’re designed to show what humans would see if we ventured to Mars or Neptune, for example They include erupting water geysers on Enceladus, … Continued

Intelligent Life

A new photography exhibition in London takes you on a tour of the solar system – and makes the surreal real For millennia, humans gazed upon the heavens with nothing but the naked eye. Then Galileo, humanity’s optician, invented the … Continued

A Plutonian Haze

Mosaic composite photograph. New Horizons, July 14, 2015. 2015 Composite Photograph. Digital C-print 35 x 70 inches, edition of 8

Crescent Earth

Composite photograph. GOES West, May 18, 2015. 2015 Digital C Print 72 x 72 inches, edition of 3 Also available in 50 x 50 inches, edition of 8

Explosions in the sky light-years away are coming into focus in ways never seen before, as are the very active volcanoes on a Jupiter moon and the rings of Saturn. They are the spectacular interstellar landscapes of our solar system, … Continued

The Economist

Renewing the lost wonder of the solar system   THERE is some danger these days of failing to be astonished by images delivered from space probes. Each generation becomes slightly more inured to imagery that each prior generation would have … Continued


When Nasa first sent lunar probes into space, the world got a glimpse of the moon and Earth in orbit. Recently enhanced, the images star in a new exhibition celebrating five decades of planetary photography For more than half a … Continued


Seen from Earth, the disks of the Moon and Sun are about the same size — a coincidence that produces one of nature’s great spectacles, a total solar eclipse, on the rare occasions when the Moon passes directly in front … Continued


Fog on Mars, storms on Jupiter and fiery flares on the Sun – stunning close up images of our nearest planetary neighbours are going on show at London’s Natural History Museum. What would you see if you travelled to the … Continued


Otherworlds: Visions of Our Solar System at The Natural History Museum, London, will explore the beauty of our solar system and demonstrate that the visual legacy of six decades of space exploration constitutes a visually stunning, important chapter in the … Continued

Studio 360

Over the last decade, some of the most awe-inspiring images of outer space have appeared in the books of journalist, filmmaker, and photographer Michael Benson. Combing through images produced by space probes as well as terrestrial and satellite telescopes, Benson has … Continued


If I asked you to picture the universe in your head, you’d probably conjure up images of fiery stars and swirling galaxies. But the first observation of a solar flare was made in 1859 — and it wasn’t until the … Continued


The religiousness of science: Pictures of how we see the universe A magnificent book presents visualizations of the sky, and the universe beyond, created over 4,000 years If a person from the past, no matter how long ago, were to … Continued


Probing the depths of the universe is getting easier with the help of theoretical models, telescopes and, more recently, supercomputers. In the new book “Cosmigraphics” (Abrams, $50), Michael Benson chronicles the history of representations of space, from the Bronze Age … Continued


Copernicus was convinced the planets revolved around the sun; Tycho Brahe had his own theory, that every planet except the Earth revolved around our star, then the sun orbited with all the planets around the Earth. Both offered heavily illustrated charts to accompany their … Continued

Spanish blog post

(Translation: Google Translate) If there is an ecumenical usual we shared with all men of history is the act of looking at the sky. Hence we extracted the most important ontological questions and the wildest imaginations, calendrical tools and poiesis contemplative. All historical … Continued


What does the universe look like? How about the sun, moon, planets, and stars? These are probably question that humans have been asking themselves ever since we first looked up at the sky. A new book, Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time, … Continued

Cosmos as Masterpiece

The New York Times SPACE & COSMOS Cosmos as Masterpiece In ‘Cosmigraphics,’ Our Changing Pictures of Space Through Time By MICHAEL BENSON OCT. 13, 2014 Four elegantly cloaked, well-shod gentlemen in idiosyncratic caps peer through what seems to be a porthole … Continued


The writer, photographer, and filmmaker Michael Benson began creating high-definition composites of the solar system in 1990, inspired, he says, by “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Benson draws from a vast archive of rover and space-probe images, taken over decades of NASA and … Continued


The New Yorker’s Tech Issue hits newsstands this week, and it got me interested in photographic projects that are anchored in various technologies, from antiquated processes to Internet crowd-sourcing. Here’s a selection of technology-based works that I find myself returning to, accompanied … Continued

Creation: Our Solar System

The Solar System consists of the Sun and its planetary system of eight planets, their moons, and other non-stellar objects. It formed 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud. The vast majority of the system’s mass is in the … Continued


Human imagination has been soaring into the heavens for millions of years, but it wasn’t until 1961 that Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin actually left Earth’s atmosphere. Between 1969 and 1972 twelve Americans walked on the moon, but that’s as far … Continued

Michael Benson’s Awe-Inspiring Views of the Solar System

At the outset of both his new book, Planetfall, and his exhibition of the same title now at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, photographer Michael Benson defines the word “planetfall.” Planetfall, he states, is “the … Continued

Art and Science Converge in “Images of Our Solar System”

Photographer Michael Benson was interested in space exploration as a child coming of age during the space race between the United States and the former Soviet Union. But, he didn’t pursue this interest until the 1990s, when he became fascinated … Continued


GALLERIES—CHELSEA MICHAEL BENSON They may look too good to be true, but Benson’s big color photographs of our solar system (the planet Earth included) are based on data gathered by robotic space probes, which he has isolated, collated, and polished … Continued

Michael Benson, Planetfall @Hasted Kraeutler

JTF (just the facts): A total of 18 large scale photographic works, framed in thick black wood and unmatted, and hung in the entry and the three rooms of the main gallery space. All of the works are digital chromogenic prints … Continued

Michael Benson: Planetfall and the Edge of Space

Images of spacemen floating in the middle of nowhere can be quite awe-inspiring, but even barren outer landscapes can illicit the same response. Outer space offers hundred of thousands of great photo possibilities, but it’s actually finding great images that’s the … Continued

Curating the Cosmos

Calling Michael Benson a curator of interplanetary spaceflight imagery only touches upon what he actually does.  “Curatorship is one of the roles I play in relation to these images,” began Benson via email. “I would divide my roles into curatorship, meaning … Continued

Picture This: Out of This World at HASTED KRAEUTLER

The freezing cold and below zero chill could not stop the art lovers orbiting and landing in Chelsea for the opening of Planetfall by Michael Benson on January 24th. AF touched down to be transported into the space – the … Continued

A Space Odyssey

By digging through the online image archives of various space probe missions, photographer and filmmaker, Michael Benson, has compiled his third collection of planetary landscape photography. The images–many of them close-ups of the surfaces of moons, asteroids and Mars–offer an … Continued

Michael Benson: “We Were Never Expelled from Eden.”

Michael Benson is a multimedia artist and journalist with a passion for space. His most recent book, Planetfall is his love letter to our Solar System. On July 20th 1969, the world forgot about its many wars and conflicts and differences—at least … Continued

Celestial imagery

PRE-SPACEFLIGHT, man used to be humbled by the sea, but even the ocean pales in comparison with the cosmic wonder and humility inspired by the best photos taken in space. And there are few collections of space photography as beautiful … Continued

A Supersized View of the Universe

The universe we live in is mind-bendingly enormous, and it can be hard to convey a sense of that vastness on the printed page. But Michael Benson makes a spirited attempt in Planetfall: New Solar System Visions(Abrams, $55), an oversized book with … Continued

A Scrapbook of Our Relationship With the Universe

In her excellent 2011 collection, “Life on Mars,” the poet Tracy K. Smith writes of “seeing the high beams of a million galaxies flick on at twilight.” That’s the kind of wonder I felt as Michael Benson’s “Planetfall” carried me away. … Continued

Two beautiful space picture books by Michael Benson

Abrams is a publisher more typically known for its art books than its science books. So it should be no surprise that Michael Benson’s books Planetfall and Beyond feature enormous, beautifully detailed, colorful pictures on page spreads uncluttered by text. Actually, Planetfall contains no text at … Continued

Q&A With Michael Benson, Curator (and Explorer) of Space Photography

Writer, photographer and filmmaker Michael Benson has just compiled his third book of space photography, called Planetfall: New Solar System Visions. Published by Abrams, it features spectacular close-range landscape images of planets, planetary moons, asteroids and the Sun, which Benson has … Continued

Book Review: “Planetfall” by Michael Benson

Armchair astronomer alert! If you love looking at the images sent back by the spacecraft traveling throughout our solar system, Planetfall by Michael Benson is truly an amazing book, with extra-amazing pictures. The large 15 X 12 inch pages provide great, eye-popping … Continued

Book turns planetary science into art

Spacecraft engineers may not think of themselves as artists, but in the right hands, the fruit of their labors can be as artistic and as revolutionary as Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical sketches — as evidenced by the stunning views on … Continued

mars from above; space photography by michael benson

All the (well deserved) hype about the amazing Curiosity project lately has reincarnated my love for space photography, and especially planetary landscapes. These shots weren’t taken by Curiosity, however, but almost three years earlier by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, on January … Continued

A New View Of The Solar System

Michael Benson has created God’s own view of the universe. To make the images on display in his upcoming book, Planetfall, Benson first combed through the tens of thousands of photographs publicly available from NASA and the European Space Agency. Most … Continued

Exploring the Planets Enriches Us at Home

NEW YORK — NASA’s newest marvel, a one-ton rover named Curiosity, has been set down with all the delicacy of a carton of eggs on the surface of Mars. The perfect landing came after a complex series of automated maneuvers … Continued

More Places Forever Bruegel-NYC sequence

Directed by Michael Benson; Camera by Michael Benson and Ziga Koritnik; Edited by Nika Lah; Animations by Damjan Popovic; Music by Tibor Szemzo; Coproduction of Kinetikon Pictures, ZDF/Arte and TVS



Volcanic Io with Two Eruptions Visible

Galileo, July 3, 1999, 2010 Digital C Print 50 x 50 inches, edition of 8 Also available in 38 x 38 inches, edition of 8      

Saturn Sunshower

Cassini, September 29, 2006, Triptych, 2011 Digital C Print 35 x 92 inches, Edition of 8

Saturn, Mimas and Tethys

Cassini,  July 16, 2005, 2011 Digital C Print 45 x 62 inches, Edition of 8

Uranus and Its Rings

Voyager 2,  January 24, 1986, 2011 Digital C Print      47.5 x 45 inches, Edition of 8

Neptune and Triton

Voyager 2, August 31, 1989, 2011 Digital C Print 35 x 35 inches, Edition of 8

Mare Orientale

Lunar Orbiter 5, August 18, 1967, 2003 Digital C Print  41 x 41 inches, Edition of 8

Rhea and Saturn

Cassini, May 8, 2010, 2011 Digital C Print  35 x 35 inches, Edition of 8

Eclipse of the Sun by Earth

Solar Dynamics Observatory, 2 April 2011. 2012 Digital C Print 72 x 72 inches, Edition of 3 Also available in 50 x 50 inches, edition of 8  

Cliffs and Clouds on Mars

Opportunity Rover, November 13–20, 2004, 2007 Digital C Print  22 x 58.6 inches, Edition of 8

Io Rising

Voyager 1, February 24, 1979 , 2003 Digital C Print 16 x 32 inches, Edition of 8

Titan and Saturn

Cassini, May 21, 2004 , 2011 Digital C Print 35 x 35 inches, Edition of 8

Frosted Mars Dunes in Winter

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, November 26, 2006, 2011 Digital C Print  27 x 100 inches, Edition of 8

Titan’s Atmosphere

Cassini, March 31, 2005, 2011 Digital C Print  45 x 45 inches, Edition of 8

Night Side of Saturn

Cassini, October 28, 2006, 2011 Digital C Print  36 x 55 inches, Edition of 8

Mimas over Saturn

Cassini, November 7, 2004, 2011 Digital C Print 40 x 40 inches, Edition of 8

Tusholi Corona on Venus

Radar image, Magellan, Sept. 15, 1990 – Sept. 14, 1992 , 2003 Digital C Print  50 x 52 inches, Edition of 8

Phobos over Herschel Crater

Viking Orbiter 1, September 26, 1977 , 2003 Digital C Print  12.3 x 21.6 inches, Edition of 8

Atlantic Space in Time

Originally published in the July/August 2002 issue of The Atlantic

Planetary Landscapes

In the last decade, the multimedia artist Michael Benson has staged a series of large-scale exhibitions of planetary landscape photography. He takes raw image data from deep-space missions run by NASA and the European Space Agency and digitally processes it … Continued

Transit of Io

Cassini, January 1, 2001, 2011 Digital C Print 72 x 72 inches, edition of 3 Also available in 50 x 50 inches, edition of 8 Also available in 35 x 35 inches, edition of 8

Global Dust Storm on Mars

Viking Orbiter 2, February 19, 1977, 2003 Digital C Print 27 x 100 inches, Edition of 8


Some of the most beautiful and important photographs ever taken turn out to be images of outer space. These have been able to change, and in many instances form, our ideas about the universe. So it is with a shiver … Continued

Stunning Planetary Portraits and Spacescapes

We’ve featured many space images here on Universe Today that have been produced by imaging enthusiasts who take raw images from a mission or spacecraft and refine them into what many consider works of art. Michael Benson has taken this … Continued

Beyond the Known: Michael Benson

How is it we can know what Jupiter’s Great Red Spot looks like, or Saturn’s rings, or the dusty surface of Mars, though no human has every seen them in person? Michael Benson turns NASA’s data sets and grainy pictures … Continued

When the Chains of Gravity Were Broken

Op-Ed Contributor By MICHAEL BENSON Fifty years ago Tuesday, an obscure Soviet Air Force lieutenant named Yuri Gagarin climbed onboard an eminently conventional form of transport — a converted city bus — and headed toward another order of vehicle altogether: … Continued


Benson’s photographs of the sun and the planets have been tweaked for maximum wow effect. Digitally constructed from dozens of images taken by robotic cameras on space probes during the past fifty years, the finished pictures are so polished they’re … Continued

NYer photo booth

To create his astral “mosaics” (his word), Michael Benson surfs the vast NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) image archives, most of which have raw files ready for download, then spends countless hours combining single images into composite portraits of … Continued


The sun is 93 million miles away, and the temperature at its surface is 10,000 degrees. Saturn is 777 million miles from us, and the tops of its clouds are at an icy 285 degrees below zero. Mars is much … Continued

NYT Beyond review

Exhibition Review WASHINGTON – When I was very young, I cherished a collection of “space cards” – trading cards that accompanied packs of bubble gum – offering exotic visions that supposedly would soon be within reach: space ships gliding through … Continued

Landscape and Trajectory

by Michael Benson   Future historians may perceive that the cascade of insights and innovations which finally led to powered flight at the turn of the 20th Century – and ultimately, space travel – occurred virtually simultaneously with the invention … Continued

The Artist is Present: Marina Abramovic at MOMA

By Michael Benson   To witness the exhibition “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present” at the Museum of Modern Art – the institution’s first major performance art retrospective – is to experience both the ultimate victory and the last gasp … Continued

Carrol County Times

While studying an image of the Milky Way’s largest planet [sic], researcher Michael Benson spotted what looked like a mistake. The photograph, one of more than 50,000 taken during the unmanned Voyager 1 and 2 probe missions three decades ago, … Continued

NPR Beyond at NASM review

Michael Benson — writer, filmmaker and photographer — was fascinated when, in the late 1990s, NASA started posting images from space online. “I realized those images belonged to photography as much as to science,” Benson said on the phone. It … Continued

VOA Beyond review

Images taken by manned spacecraft, robotic space probes Washington, DC — For decades, the U.S. space agency, NASA, has been exploring space not only with manned spacecraft, like the shuttle Atlantis, but with robotic space probes like Mars Odyssey and … Continued

Smithsonian NASM Beyond review

For centuries, most of our visual understanding of our own solar system has come by way of offerings from the scientific fields. Rarely have the sun and its planets been appreciated as art. In the mid 1990s, artist Michael Benson … Continued

LA Times Far Out review

BOOK REVIEW ‘Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle’ by Michael Benson, Harry N. Abrams: 328 pp., $55 February 28, 2010 In attending to 2009’s spectacular financial crisis, you may not have noticed that it was also the International Year of Astronomy, … Continued

Let’s Build a Stairway to Mars

Op-Ed Contributor By MICHAEL BENSON Human space flight is at a tipping point. Next September, after 29 years of flights, the Space Shuttle is scheduled to be launched for the last time. The future of U.S. crewed missions is currently … Continued

NYT Far Out rev

Books on Science In the universe there is always room for another surprise. Or two. Or a trillion. Take the Witch Head Nebula, for example – a puffy purplish trail of gas in the constellation Eridanus. When a picture of … Continued

Boston Globe SITES review

Photography Review WORCESTER – It’s the rare photography exhibit that implicitly raises the question, what is art? There are even fewer exhibits that, having raised it, explode the question into irrelevance. “Beyond: Visions of Planetary Landscapes,” which runs at the … Continued

Boston Globe 3rd WAM SITES blurb

Exhibit It took 40 years of robotic space missions to collect more than 50 photographs of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and other planets for “Beyond: Visions of Planetary Landscapes” – there must be more to it than point and shoot. … Continued

Boston Globe SITES capsule review

There aren’t any bells and whistles in “Beyond: Visions of Planetary Landscapes,” an exhibition on view at the Worcester Art Museum through May 24. But the massive photographs from outer space, some 5 feet wide, should still rank high on … Continued

Send It Somewhere Special

Consider the International Space Station, that marvel of incremental engineering. It has close to 15,000 cubic feet of livable space; 10 modules, or living and working areas; a Canadian robot arm that can repair the station from outside; and the … Continued

NYT NJ SITES show review

Art Review People are endlessly fascinated with space, perhaps because we know so little about it. Seeing the range and beauty of the photographs assembled for “Beyond: Visions of Planetary Landscapes” at the Monmouth Museum will probably serve only to … Continued

The beeping ball that launched the Space Age

Sputnik at Fifty  By Michael Benson Fifty years ago today, to the delight of many and the consternation of more than a few, the Soviet Union launched something like a silver volleyball with four swept-back antennas into Earth’s orbit. That … Continued

NYT AMNH review

Sometimes the line to get into the Imax theater at the American Museum of Natural History seems long enough to stretch all the way out to other planets. Now it does. This weekend “Beyond,” a one-year exhibition of more than … Continued

Is NASA in Outer Space?

Not After a Surprise Round of Budget Cuts By Michael Benson In 1996, for the first time since Balboa spotted the shimmering Pacific from a high Panamanian hill in 1513, a vast new ocean was discovered — an ice-covered body … Continued

Just Hang On a Second

Op-Ed Contributor By MICHAEL BENSON Ljubljana, Slovenia SOMETIME between the opening seconds of Tuesday and the closing ones of Friday in Geneva, the world’s greatest watch-making center, a decision will be made that has profound consequences for our way of … Continued

Don’t look now, but Europe is in outer space

Feats of European Aerospace   Op-Ed Contributor   by Michael Benson   LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Predictably enough, the first flight of Airbus’s elephantine double-decker A380 “super-jumbo” was a major media event. But the continent’s recent achievements in the skies of … Continued

Will NASA put an end to astronomy’s golden age?

Op-Ed Contributor   by Michael Benson   LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — In October 2003, the sun exploded with some of the most violent eruptions on record, spewing billions of tons of particles and gases into the solar system. These expulsions, which … Continued

A World in Words Europa: The Ocean Moon

Book Review   Europa: The Ocean Moon By Richard Greenberg Springer-Praxis, 380 pages, $89.95   by Michael Benson   1. Unlike the luminous sphere visible at the moment from about half of the Earth’s surface, the moons of other planets … Continued

The Space Review

There have been a number of good illustrated books published dealing with the Sun, Moon, and planets of our solar system, but it is doubtful you have seen or ever will see a book quite like this one. The photographs … Continued


While working on a forthcoming documentary feature, More Places Forever, which he describes as a “global road movie,” filmmaker Michael Benson found time to complete an eye-opening cinematic art book for Harry N. Abrams. Titled Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary … Continued

The Space Review 2

(…) The second book is Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes. There is perhaps no better book illustrating the amazing images sent back by JPL’s spacecraft over the last 40 years. Worthy of any coffee table, sumptuous is the best … Continued

Exploring outer space : Save the Hubble telescope

Op-Ed Contributor By Michael Benson LJUBLJANA, Slovenia— We are living in the greatest age that astronomy has ever seen. New technologies both on the ground and in space have revolutionized our ability to peer into the heavens. Over the last … Continued

Never Before Seen Pictures of Fantastic Worlds!

Our cosmic home – so beautiful you want to take off! These are the pictures revealed by the cameras installed in space probes and fired into space to explore our solar system: fiery red protuberances on the glaring sun, dark … Continued

A Dust-storm in Space

(Review of German edition of Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes ) Absolute visual genius. This fantastic picture book is an excellent plunge into a strange, different, but exciting world: that of space. Years and years of work in archives … Continued

Choice magazine

Many readers can recall when the only objects in the solar system whose surfaces were mapped were Earth, the near side of the Moon, and Mars at poor resolution. Today, every planet but Pluto (including even cloud-enshrouded Venus), most of … Continued

Beyond the Blue Planet

Seen from the outside there is no misery nor crowds on Earth, no lack of resources, no garbage dumps. Instead: deep blue spots in endless green, the Great Lakes of North America. Or the delicate boot called Italy. This book … Continued

Scientists and Bush : When science was thwarted before

Op-Ed Contributor By Michael Benson LJUBLJANA, Slovenia— For anyone who ever spent time in the old Soviet Union, the recent statement by 60 of the top scientists in the United States had an eerie ring of déjà vu. The accusatory … Continued

New Views of the Nine Planets

Books about our planetary system and its nine planets are a dime a dozen, but Michael Benson’s book “Beyond” enters virgin soil. For it is less about describing how the Sun and its planets came into being, or how many … Continued

Space Travel

It’s said that Buckminster Fuller was asked shortly before his death if he was disappointed that he, who had done so much to prepare space travel, would never experience outer space. The old man answered: “But, sir, we are in … Continued

Interview with Michael Benson

Michael Benson, author of Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes (read Universe Today’s review) took some time from his busy schedule, and nasty cold, to answer some of our questions about his book and interest in astronomy and space exploration. … Continued

Beautiful Solar System

Only a few days after the first edition of our new annual publication, Beautiful Universe, was wrapped up and sent to the printer, a copy of Beyond arrived in the mail. “Oh,” I thought after a cursory look, “It’s Beautiful … Continued

Can the Heavens Wait?

By MICHAEL BENSON About two-and-a-half miles above the Pacific, the world’s biggest observatory complex dominates the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Among other instruments at this site are the Kecks, the largest optical telescopes in the world; each possesses … Continued

Forget the Moon–Go Directly to Mars

Op-Ed Contributor   by Michael Benson   Ljubljana — Earth, as we have known for only a small part of the trajectory of the human species, hangs in an inconceivably vast space. That void isn’t empty, however; it’s spangled with … Continued

LA Times Book Review BEYOND

Step outside beneath the night sky, break away from the glow of city lights and the moon’s bright cast, and the universe arches above you. Space becomes time and time a pathway to the instant of creation. As sailors once … Continued

American Scientist review

BOOK REVIEW For the past four decades, robotic spacecraft have been taking snapshots of our solar system, mostly with a scientific agenda-to gather data about our celestial neighborhood. But as writer and filmmaker Michael Benson shows in Beyond: Visions of … Continued

Gale’s What Do I Read Next?

In 1949, when I was 15, I was enthralled by my copy of The Conquest of Space, with sober text by German-born Willy Ley and spectacular color paintings by Chesley Bonestell, even then the dean of astronomical art. No one … Continued

Austin Chronicle

Take a trip to the far parts of our solar system in this spectacular selection… Writer/photographer/filmmaker Benson chooses fire and ice and craters and mountains that stretch to the orbits of Uranus and Pluto.

Business Week

Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes is a collection of 295 photos of the Earth, Sun, Mars, and other planets taken by unmanned space probes. Photographer Michael Benson culled thousands of archived images for the ones he found most striking … Continued

The Arizona Republic

(…) The other books on this list offer photographs taken by humans, but these breathtaking images were taken by robots. Magnificent pictures of asteroids, the sun, the planets and their moons have been sent to Earth over the past four … Continued


Starred Review Pardon my buzz but it’s been a long vacation, Pittsburgh to Boston to SF in less than ten days, and I’ve been waiting for almost two weeks to receive my copy of this book. All I have to … Continued

American Scientist

(…) Mars also makes an appearance in Michael Benson’s Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes (Abrams, $55), but here the Red Planet must share some space with the other members of our solar system. Like Croswell, Benson takes advantage of … Continued

New Scientist (UK)

On 5 March 1979, Voyager I snapped the Pele volcano erupting on Io, Jupiter’s fifth satellite. This is one of nearly 300 stunning pictures in Beyond, a collection of images beamed back from space over the past 40 years. The … Continued

Charlotte’s Creative Loafing

Beyond: Visions of Interplanetary Probes by Michael Benson (Harry N. Abrams, 320 pages, $55). This is the kind of book that makes reviewers indulge in hyperbole. A stunning visual feast, Beyond is the labor of love of author Michael Benson … Continued

BOOKLIST Beyond rev

Space-age prophet Arthur C. Clarke, one of three eloquent, forward-looking contributors to this pioneering and magnificent collection of pictures generated by the robotic space probes Galileo, Voyager, Pathfinder, Magellan, Viking, and other less commonly known mechanical explorers, describes these breathtaking … Continued

Book News

Presenting photographs from the history of robotic space exploration, this oversized book provides an awe-inspiring visual narrative of the solar system’s planets, moons, and asteroids. From the vantage point of unmanned explorers, the book shows Venus’s veil of clouds lifted … Continued

Janet Maslin NYT

”BEYOND: VISIONS OF INTERPLANETARY PROBES” will let you see what a dust storm on Mars looked like to the Viking Orbiter 2 in 1977. It looked spacey indeed.


Beyond is an especially cool book… Benson has compiled and processed the best images he can find from NASA’s space probes. The result is an eye-popping combination of art and science.

The National Review

(…) If you want more than Mars, there’s another brand-new coffee-table book for space buffs: Beyond, by Michael Benson. Coming from the distinguished publisher of art books Harry N. Abrams, Beyond is not just a collection of pretty pictures; it … Continued

Library Journal

Starred Review Compiled by writer/photographer/filmmaker Benson – whose work has appeared in the Atlantic monthly and the New York Times — this collects 295 stunning photographs (color and b&w) of our solar system, taken by an assortment of interplanetary satellites … Continued

Seeing the Solar System as Never Before

In the end, after the observations of the ancients and the meticulous mathematics of Kepler, after the comet-frescos of Giotto and the telescopic discoveries of Galileo, after Sputnik, Ranger, and all the far-flung probes of four decades of space flight … Continued

Far Out

A SORT OF DEBATE BETWEEN ARTHUR C. CLARKE AND LAWRENCE WESCHLER ON THE TRUE IMPORT OF SOME AMAZING PICTURES OF, AND FROM, OUTER SPACE. Michael Benson is an American documentary filmmaker (creator of the critically acclaimed “Predictions of Fire, “an … Continued

NYT Hayden Beyond Launch

While images of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn filled a giant screen in the background, speakers ruminated on the topic of interplanetary photography. It resolves specks of distant light into places of astonishing form and beauty, it opens the eyes of … Continued

Images of Space get a Second Look

NEW YORK — Much like paintings of America’s Wild West commissioned by government surveyors became icons that redefined American culture in the 19th century, photographs of alien landscapes taken by the Voyager spacecraft have shaken our sense of self today. … Continued

NPR scott simon

Trawling through the Internet from his home in Slovenia, author Michael Benson stumbled upon some of the most expensive pictures ever taken: Otherworldly images sent back by the spacecraft humankind has launched over the past four decades in an effort … Continued

How Slovenian is it?

by Michael Benson LAIBACH USED TO BE A FORCE to reckon with. To begin with, the band–if you can call this ensemble of sophisticated politico-cultural provocateurs simply a “band”–were the only group from the socialist world ever to make it … Continued


ANNALS OF EXPLORATION by Michael Benson   For the past eight years, the vintage spacecraft known as the Galileo Orbiter has been tracing a complex path between Jupiter’s four large moons. During this time, it has made detailed scientific observations … Continued

September Song: Requiem for a Space Probe

From the point of view of the vintage Galileo Orbiter, which has been tracing a complicated, cat’s-cradle trajectory among the four largest moons of Jupiter for eight years now, September 21st is bound to be an interesting day. If the … Continued

Flak Magazine

Michael Benson’s “A Space in Time,” a meditation on satellite imagery available on the Internet, is one of the most sublime, captivating essays on our solar system and beyond since the late Carl Sagan hung up his pen. — Clay … Continued

A Space in Time

Click for the universe … Your home computer, thanks to the windows that NASA has poked in space, is the site of the greatest show on earth. A deskbound cosmic pilgrim beckons us to an available sublimity by Michael Benson … Continued

Art Journal

Michael Benson’s brilliant film Predictions of Fire follows a Slovene art collective in the 1980s as they redeploy vanguard symbols, both Russian and German, from the early twentieth century. They believe that these residual symbols were embers of a totalitarian … Continued

Predictions of Fire trailer (1995)

Directed by Michael Benson; Camera by Teo Maniaci; Edited by Nika Lah; Music by Laibach; Coproduction of Kinetikon Pictures and TVS


<nettime> Zero gravity theater To: “Nettime” <nettime-l {AT}> Subject: <nettime> Zero gravity theater From: michael benson Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 14:48:42 +0000 A week ago today, what has to be one of the most radical theater exepriments of … Continued

Tucson Weekly

A challenging documentary of art and politics in the former Yugoslavia ROCK-AND-ROLL bands usually adopt the outlaw stance towards society that Marlon Brando took in The Wild One: “What have you got?” goes the famous answer, when asked what he … Continued

Pre-Apocalyptic Non-Modernism

We are come not only past the century’s closing, he thought, the millennium’s turning, but to the end of something else. Era? Paradigm? Everywhere, the signs of closure. Modernity was ending. — William Gibson, Virtual Light All the pieces are … Continued

Predictions of Fire

Set in Slovenia, this documentary companion to Sonic Outlaws weaves newsreel footage and quotes from Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht into a dense compendium of history and art theory. It focuses mainly on the Slovenian industrial band cum “resistance art” … Continued

The Los Angeles Times

Michael Benson’s Predictions of Fireis a provocative, dense and demanding exploration of the relationship of art, politics and war as it has been played out over the turbulent 20th century in what was once Yugoslavia.It examines how the Slovenian industrial … Continued

The Gift of Sound and Vision

“Derrida said ‘The image always has the last word,’ but did he go far enough? Did the delight of his wit spoil the continuation of his logic? The word is after all an image.” — Peter Greenaway   Of all … Continued

Into The Divine

Paris, rising in a frozen haze above its grand boulevards, is dreamlike in the first days of 1997. The city has always seemed to be a compound of the earthy and the erudite. But the closing years of the century … Continued

Poison Apple

(NYC industrial/gothic scene magazine) Review It is nothing less than chilling. Don’t be fooled. This film, winner of the National Film Board of Canadia’s Best Documentary in 1996 at the International Film Festival in Vancouver, does nothing less than substantiate … Continued

Out of the Present: Andrei Ujica

Ask Andrei Ujica about what it was like to shoot his second feature documentary, Out of the Present, and you won’t get what could be called a “pedestrian” reply. A Romanian expatriate academic living in Germany, Ujica is not a … Continued

Revealing The Interplay Of Art And State

Incendiary and provocative, Predictions of Fire is a documentary about the crossroads of art and politics in Slovenia, the state in the former Yugoslavia itself at the crossroads of Western and Eastern Europe. The ostensible subject of this film by … Continued

M/C Journal Reviews

Predictions of Fire Besides being an international film festival favorite (Canada, Russia, New York, Sundance, Sydney), Predictions of Fire has gained such swift cult status that it may be the only movie with a website dedicated to “all discernible written, … Continued

The Village Voice

  Reviews Predictions of Fire Written and directed by Michael Benson An Artistic License Films release At Film Forum Through October 15 It’s complacent rock band that doesn’t yearn to storm the Bastille, smash the state, incite panic, and inflame … Continued

TimeOut New York

With a few notable Reagan-era exceptions, the American art world has generally kept a wary distance from politics, only occasionally being dragged into the fray as a right-wing whipping boy. Which partly explains why the work of NSK, the Slovenian … Continued

The Star-Ledger

Part documentary, part travelogue, history lesson, art lesson and political manifesto, Predictions of Fire is a unique investigation into the world of Laibach, an industrial/rock/performance/art/agitprop musical group who invoke the lost history and culture of Slovenia even while they summon … Continued

The New York Times Predictions of Fire

The notion that art and politics are profoundly intertwined may seem remote to most Americans, give or take the occasional controversy over government support for the arts. But in Europe, where totalitarian states have trampled on free expression and appropriated … Continued

The Daily News

Dissidents Raise Red Flag against Legacy of Communist Imagery The Communist culture so angrily mocked by the Slovenian artists’ collective called NSK may no longer physically exist in Eastern Europe but it remains a country of the mind — a … Continued

NY Post

***1/2 (three and a half stars) Every few months like a clockwork, the flipped-out folks who program Film Forum unleash a completely original, wonderfully weird film on us unsuspecting New Yorkers. This time around it’s “Predictions of Fire” — a … Continued

TV Guide

A documentary about the Eastern European art collective NSK (that’s New Slovenian Arts to you), which comprises art rockers Laibach, theater troupe Red Pilot and painting group Irwin. Former New York Times reporter [sic] Michael Benson sets NSK’s art against … Continued

Die Tagezeitung (Berlin)

How does Nazikunst live with disco? The documentary film Predictions of Fire sees the Laibach group as an oracle of the Yugoslav split. Are they fascists or not? This question is only bait, a selling strategy for the film. To … Continued

Chicago Reader

Michael Benson has avoided the pedestrian approach of most art documentaries in his 1995 film about the Slovenian arts collective NSK – which includes a rock band and painting and theater groups – and instead has made a brilliantly nutty … Continued

Planet Lunch

The mingling of art and politics in America is, for the most part, clear and simple: Democrats are drawn as a donkey, Republicans are depicted as an elephant, and their views are summed up in word bubbles skirting the edges … Continued

Interview With Predictions of Fire Director Michael Benson

[Shortly before leaving for the Sundance Film Festival in January 1996, Predictions of Fire director Michael Benson and Belgian film programmer and journalist Koen Van Daele – who had originally programmed the film for its premiere screening in September 95 … Continued

Neue Slowenische Kunst: The “State in Time”

All art is subject to political manipulation except that which speaks the language of the same manipulation. — Laibach, 1984 By now it doesn’t seem bizarre that independent and visionary artists would emerge from what was once loosely referred to … Continued

AS/Andere Sinema (Belgium) editorial

(editorial by Tom Paulus in the Spring 1996 issue of AS/Andere Sinema, Belgium) What do you do when everything seems normal? When history has nested itself in a comfortable present, carrying within itself virtually the future and the past? As … Continued

Ekran (Slovenia)

The classical attitude to films like Benson’s Predictions of Fire is usually as follows: We are too involved in the everyday to be able to have distance to it — thus it’s welcome that, here and there, somebody peeks in … Continued

AS/Andere Sinema (Belgium)

Is it possible to present NSK (Neue Slowenishe Kunst) on film, to find a common denominator among the rather different fields of their interests, experiments and actions? Is it possible to present their key works — or their appearance in … Continued

NRC Handelsblad (Holland)

Michael Benson, an American living half the time in Ljubljana, directed the better than very well-made art documentary Predictions of Fire, which was produced by TV Slovenia. Therefore screenings of the film in the avant-garde programme “Mind the Gap” in … Continued



Delo 2

Since it’s hard to find something Slovenian in each corner of the Berlin Film Festival, it is correct to put the film Predictions of Fire (shown Saturday in the late afternoon), which was shot with the big support of our … Continued

Moving Pictures (Berlin)

Predictions of Fire The bitter war in the former Yugoslavia has preoccupied daily global attention, yet very few Westerners have been able to imagine how it appears from the inner life of the people. The New York journalist and photographer … Continued

On Film, Houston Tx

Predictions of Fire (Kinetikon) Best when it’s blaring forth historical truths alongside philosophical explanations of deconstruction at such breakneck speed as to make it practically incomprehensible, Predictions of Fire outlines the 20th-century history of Slovenia, from the Hapsburg Empire to … Continued

The Met (Dallas/Fort Worth)

For the Westerner, a cursory listen to Slovenian industrial art-rockers Laibach evokes a number of reactions, the first of which are laughter and dismissal. This is, after all, a group that released a track-by-track, bombastic deconstruction of the Beatles Let … Continued

The Work of Art in an Age of MECHANICAL DESTRUCTION

THE SPINNING WHEELS AND GEARS THAT DEFINED THE 20TH CENTURY IN BENJAMIN’S time have given way to the icy hum of computers and the static winking of fibre-optic communication. That which still turns is miniaturized. It’s only a truism that … Continued

Delo Predictions Premiere review

On Friday, October 20th, the documentary Predictions of Fire, a co-production of TV Slovenia and Kinetikon Pictures of New York, was premiered; the last shots of the 90-minute film were accompanied by the spontaneous applause of the audience. Predictions of … Continued


The central quality of the film is that it is multifaceted, but it clearly and understandably illuminates the theoretical background of NSK (and NSK’s taking over of the mechanisms and symbols of power in order to reveal this power). In … Continued


Michael Benson proves with this film that he has a perfect grasp of the aestheticization of politics as well as of myth- creation within totalitarian systems. Predictions of Fire skillfully exchanges archival, reportorial and also fictional scenes, which together make … Continued


Predictions of Fire is without a doubt one of the most persuasive — and not the least, the most watchable — contributions to the history of the Slovene 20th century, at least in the genre of tele-documentaries. With this film … Continued

Slovenec (Slovenia)

The film is as efficient as every NSK performance has been… The documentary is a skillful and witty interweaving of Slovenian history within the fabric of a Western European historical background, and it threads some of the important NSK performances … Continued

Of Transmitters and Receivers

I see cinema today as more interesting than any other form. Except that its power has been usurped. There’s been a usurper: television. That’s how I see it… with the acquiescence of accomplices – who are us, ourselves. Or versions … Continued

Predictions of Fire dialogue list

What follows is an entirely accurate account of all discernible written, spoken, sung or shouted words within the 95-minute running time of Predictions of Fire. FIRE FILM VOICE: To make a fire, we need a flammable substance, air, that is, … Continued

The Future is Now

And so, for almost fifty years, the people of the camera obscura, of the darkened rooms, have burned the imaginary to warm up some reality. Now reality is taking revenge, demanding real tears and real blood. -Jean-Luc Godard   The … Continued