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Art Imaginarium: Kepler’s Somnium

Art Imaginarium: Kepler’s Somnium

We find it hard to believe that it’s been more than a year since we all had to nestle down into our homes and get used to pandemic times. As an organization, the SETI Institute has tried to provide some sense of community in the form of our Art Imaginarium, which will celebrate its first anniversary this month. The group is going strong, and Bettina Forget, SETI Artist-in-Residence Director, jumped in with enthusiasm in February with the latest topic: Kepler's Somnium. 

Johannes Kepler's 'Somnium' is considered by many people to be the first science fiction story. Kepler wrote the novel in 1608, and his son published it in 1634. The novel started as a way to defend Copernicus' view of the solar system, with characters on the Moon viewing Earth. Kepler imagined creatures living on the Moon: serpent-like beings that lived in the depth of the lunar seas, pinecone-shaped lifeforms that came to life at night, giant, spongy monsters that lived in caves. 

We challenged our Art Imaginarium members to create art based on Kepler’s fictional work, and they delivered. We hope you enjoy this sample, and if you want to participate yourself, please join us on Facebook at or share your work using #ArtImaginarium on Twitter and Instagram.

Read a translation of the novel, done by the Somnium Project, here:




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