Association of Autonomous Astronauts
The Association of Autonomous Astronauts is a worldwide network of community-based groups dedicated to building their own [spaceships]. The AAA was founded 23 April 1995. Although many of their activities were reported as serious participation in conferences or protests against the militarization of space, some were also considered art pranks, media pranks, or elaborate spoof.
The Association's ostensible five-year mission was to "establish a planetary network to end the monopoly of corporations, governments and the military over travel in space". Artists who became involved were often connected to the zine scene or mail art movements. The five-year mission's completion was marked at the 2000 Fortean Times conference. Some chapters have continued activities to the present day. Several AAAers have experienced zero-gravity training flights.
The writer Tom Hodgkinson described participants as "a loose bunch of Marxists, futurists, and revolutionaries on the dole", going on to explicate their mission as "reclaim[ing] the idea of space travel for the common man". To the AAA, he said, "space travel represented an ideal of freedom".
Annick Bureaud of Leonardo/OLATS viewed their work as "space art" that "combine[d] freely space, cyberspace, raves, esoteric things, techno-music, etc.", calling attention to "how they recycle ... key images (the MIR Space Station, the astronauts on the Moon, etc.) ... mixed with science-fiction (and specially Star Trek) buzz-words or images" and then subjected these "sacred icons" to "iconoclastic treatments"