The Finally Frontier is centred around the idea of "dying on mars", a concept popularized by Dutch company, Mars One. In 2012 Mars One garnered worldwide media attention when they began their search for the 100 "astronauts" who would colonize the red planet and never return back to earth. As of today, the division of MARSONE responsible for actually sending people to Mars (Mars One Ventures AG) is bankrupt, however the arm of the company responsible for keeping the dream alive (Mars One Foundation) is still up and running.
In a press release from February 2019, the company explains:
“Once out of administration, Mars One will redirect its focus. For the execution of the actual voyage to Mars, the company will continue to seek strategic collaboration with renowned companies and organizations involved with the travel to Mars. Mars One itself will focus on the even more inspiring “being there”, the adventurous story of humans actually living on Mars, making The Red Planet their new home.”
Most credible scientific sources agree that while it might someday be possible, living (or dying) on Mars will not happen safely for a long time.
While there are plenty of interviews and comprehensive profiles available online of the 100 chosen astronauts, I have not used their specific stories in this series. Rather, my intention is to create new narratives by examining the extreme desire to leave the planet forever and consider what it might feel like to finally achieve that kind of astronomical (pun intended) goal. As a result, the works in the show are tonally romantic in both senses of the word. The common romanticizing of space travel is deeply evident in all of Mars One’s marketing materials and I have tried to play with imagery and titles that visualize how confusingly heartbreaking it would be to find out that someone you love wants to be as far away from you as humanly possible.
The Finally Frontier pokes fun at the MARSONE marketing strategy while exploring two conflicting notions that are inherent to wanting to leave earth forever: the childhood dream of becoming a legendary explorer and the very adult desire to leave everything behind and start anew. The work in the show plays with these contrasts and aims to be both bleak and youthful. By contrasting ambiguous and ominous settings with symbols of earthly pleasures, I explore the extreme optimism it would take to do something that, in many ways, is very grim
Funding for this exhibition was generously provided by the Ontario Arts Council
Music recorded by Jonah Prousky (slowed down 20%)
All footage is either free stock videos of space or cut from various videos on the Mars One youtube channel.