Land Art Collective has begun a brand new multidisciplinary residency series. The first residency explores sustainable futures in outer space. Pairing six artists with three space research academics the residency was held online over the course of three months. Through the technology space allows we built a treasured community and rhythm during the Covid-19 epidemic which accumulated in the works you can explore here.
Accelerating critical conversation, illuminating urgent issues and opening up the topic so that as many minds as possible can create current and future visions for human and non-human worlds. This is an open resource platform to share ideas, discussions and support.
Researchers in Residence:
With generous contributions from:
Chris Welch, Deondre Smiles, Eleanor Armstrong, Barrie Johnson, Melanie Goodchild, Sanjeev Gupta, Lumen Studios, Sitraka Rakotoniaina, Duncan Blake, Brad Tucker, Cassandra Steer, Alice Gorman, Daniel Britt, Christopher Newman, Thomas Cheney, Dana Burton, Mariana Tres.
Bethany Rigby, Caitlin Berrigan and Julie Klinger worked together for six months and produced a series of collaboratively written stories set within the context of extra terrestrial mining.
The racialized consolidation of wealth and ecocidal effects colonization has had upon planet Earth are abundantly clear. Colonization is the end of life worlds, and should not be repeated in extraterrestrial realms. We do not lack imagination to transform the compounding crises in which we find ourselves. Those in power lack the will to change. There is no shortage of possibilities, proposals, policies, and experiments for sustainable living on Earth. Those who dream are erased, meaningful policies are weakly enforced, and sustainable lifeways are violently suppressed in favor of these absurd asymmetries of power and consumption. With our attentions upon the colonial logics behind the exploration of Mars and other celestial bodies, our collaboration considers the disruptive and uncontrollable power of microbes in these future-present scenarios.
Our research and dialogue with each other speculated upon two main concepts that we are working on developing into fictional scenarios with audio/visual components: (1) Spatiality and mineral relations in Nevada as an analog between Earthly and Martian Lands; and (2) the mineral appetites of microorganisms as potential disruptors in space and mining endeavors.
1. Types of spatiality and mineral relations between Earthly and Martian Lands: We looked to Nevada as a figural site where space entrepreneurs and military industries have materialized analogs of future scenarios: wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, vast data centers, mining extractivism vs. fossil fuels, navigation on Mars, and storage of nuclear waste. Nevada contains a proliferation of mines, nuclear blast sites, Indigenous land dispossessions, gambling, unregulated real estate development, and golf courses in the deserts. Under which conditions would Mars become an analog to Nevada? In the false choice between mines, dumps, and missile ranges, we foresee golf courses emerging as the perversely most peaceful alternative; the environmental violence, chemical warfare, and social exclusion built into their construction construed as progress. We look at terraforming bent to this purpose, the immense transformation of landscapes and of living and non living matter so that a few rich men can drive tiny cars around vast artificial greens chasing after little white balls. What kinds of mineral commodity chains, extracted from heavy earth elements, would be required to fashion a golf ball to perform with only a third of Earth's gravity? What would it take to include the cost of such golf balls in launch payloads to Mars? Who would be exposed to the hazards of mining and processing, and in what ways would their labor be devalued and erased to preserve the illusion of pristine, unsullied, and uncomplicated environments contained within the green, a world within a world?
2. Foregrounding the agency of lithotrophic organisms: from expendable servants of extraction to something more: Bacteria that consume iron and sulfides (lithotrophs) are used in the mining industry to further process mine tailings, extracting value from what is otherwise considered to be toxic waste. Conscripted to this service, they are the ideal workers, requiring nearly no maintenance and are easily killed off after fulfilling their useful functions. Bio-mining, as this practice is called, is being proposed as a way to manage extraction in lower-gravity environments such as on the moon, asteroids, and other planets. But what if these microorganisms, like unruly workers, develop their own desires for living and eating? What if, in the environment of space, their appetites evolve beyond metabolizing commodity minerals from waste minerals? What if they refuse to be eliminated, and instead develop new appetites? We speculate upon a scenario in which they turn their tastes to the human-made machines they serve, eating up the the robots, the probes, the 3D printers that stamp their valuable excrement into bricks of refined metals. Drawing upon the global experiences of the coronavirus pandemic for more than a year, we consider the agential power of microorganisms to fundamentally disrupt the status quo, and imagine symbiotic encounters between humans and lithotrophic organisms under different class configurations. We envision a microbial insurrection against capitalist extraction in celestial space.
During the Sustainable Futures Live Event, Caitin, Julie and Bethany did a table-read of these short stories. They used the event as a testing ground for their concepts and characters, introducing the different locations and events that occur in each chapter.