Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mars Mania

If I were inclined to be suspicious or pay undue heed to conspiracy theories (oh, wait...I am), I might begin to suspect that some secret campaign was underway by the governments of the world to soften up our instinctual xenophobia toward all things Martian. How else do you explain the cosmic coincidence of two high-profile art exhibitions, on both sides of the Atlantic, about Mars?

This side of the pond we have the pending Carnegie International:
Life on Mars, the 55th Carnegie International, explores the important, yet
continually perplexing, question of what it means to be human in the world
today. Each of the exhibition’s 40 artists brings a unique outlook to the
question of humanity’s response to a world in which global events challenge and seem to threaten our everyday existence. Included in the exhibition will be approximately 300 works in diverse media, from painting, sculpture, and drawing to animation, film, installation, and performance.
And over in the UK, as The Guardian reports:
The Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art opens today, and the Barbican has been given a Martian makeover, with lots of copper-coloured metallic strips over the floor and walls. Maybe it's a sort of alien feng shui, or a means of making visual connections between the different works and themes. There's a felt spacesuit in the corner, a sausage in a vitrine, and a painting of George Bush in a cowboy hat, done in the style of Jackson Pollock. It's that kind of show.
OK, so what the hell is everybody smoking? And, more importantly, why aren't you sharing?

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mars is the god of war. So maybe it's a subconscious, apolitical way of discussing the violent nature of Earth.

3/06/2008 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Ethan said...

Somewhat related, I blogged yesterday about a secret art exhibition on the moon.

(If that doesn't make me sound like a nut, I don't know what would).

3/06/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

hmmm...and then there was this news story in the Times two days ago.

A "subconscious, apolitical way of discussing the violent nature of Earth" indeed.

I predict a government report about evidence of found Martian artifacts to follow shortly...

Now, where's that tin foil???

3/06/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Woooo oooh oooooooo.......

Just last week, as I turned the corner from 11th Avenue to 26th Street (on my way from the Winkleman Gallery), I came across the impromptu geometry of a couple of orange containers smack up against a dark red wall. I called the picture it "Voyage to Mars (red and orange)."

Here's the link: http://joannemattera.blogspot.com/2008/03/impromptu-geometry.html

3/06/2008 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Oh, make that Joanne Rodham Mattera ;-)

3/06/2008 04:42:00 PM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

Now this is something I can really get into. I bring a lot of science fiction theory into my art writing because I think SF, as a literary genre (and occasionally as a filmic genre), has many profound connections to contemporary visual art. Sometimes the connections are obvious but many times they are not. The fantasy genre has influence in the same spheres as well, but I think the connections to SF are much more interesting. Why is this? Because of the way science has replaced god and religion as the main belief system for interesting living artists, and the fact that the SF genre includes books that perfectly combine imagination and science.

3/06/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interestingly Eric... Martians work through the will of god. Martians decided some zillion side-real years ago to skip the science round and went on to bigger and better things. So our fascination with them is not so much related to science, more, the sausage of it all, that they are here with us, We can sense these things;)
Currently we are at war with each other on 27 different dimensions. that's right, 27. And because we are so thick [well at least in this one] we are not aware that this is causing trouble in the greater fabric of things.
Four lower level Martians have taken human form in 22 of these dimensions. In the other five dimensions humans have no form and resemble, if you can use the word resemble, Martians. So there are a large number of M-types working with the Martians there to settle things down.

It may be interesting to note that there are 18 George Rushes distributed between these 27 dimensions. More interesting is there is also 18 'axis of evil', each of them residing in one and the same dimension as a Rush.

c.p.

3/06/2008 08:10:00 PM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

I like this crazy man!

3/06/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

I like the borderline paranoia strategic calculation of abstract reasoning run amuck that is the conspiracy theory,

and am a big fan of classic Sci Fi (the kind that L Ron Hubbard was so bad at a religion was spurned)

and happen to be an artist

So am tickled by the prospect of the perfect storm, Martian goverment conspiracy plot in the arts

move burning man to groom lake next year and I think the dimensional fabric of reason would contort into the relativity equivalent of dark matter folded into an origami crane.

I might begin to suspect that some secret campaign was underway by the governments of the world to soften up our instinctual xenophobia toward all things Martian

Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End" has a somewhat similar theme.

someone summarized it on amazon as

"(Childhood's End)isn't about a human rebellion against alien overlords, but the evolution of humanity into its next stage, and the ultimate dwarfing power of the unknowable order of the cosmos."

Wikipedia has a more in depth Plot Summary

Eric brings up an interesting point

"Because of the way science has replaced god and religion as the main belief system for interesting living artists, and the fact that the SF genre includes books that perfectly combine imagination and science."

though science has yet to deliver the knockout punch, to G_D, advanced quantum theory seems to have mapped the universe in a model that looks similar to transcendental philosophies of the East, which metaphoric interpretations of the JC myth, and semantic decoding of Yahweh also seem to jibe with.

in the 1985 movie "Creator" Peter O'toole's character has a great line (a bit paraphrased)

"when science finally summits the mountain, we'll find religion has been there all along"

but let's not confuse religion with dogma, superstition, and doctrine.
Spirituality may be the better term.

"Martians work through the will of god. Martians decided some zillion side-real years ago to skip the science round and went on to bigger and better things. So our fascination with them is not so much related to science, more, the sausage of it all, that they are here with us, We can sense these things"

Are you referencing Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land"? It's a great example of how classic Sci-Fi really Evolved the basic humanitarian democratic and timeless spiritual teachings into the culture of technology.

but I want to offer that remove the dogma from a statement like "work through the will of god" and think more in terms that "will of god" is more closely represented as "the ultimate dwarfing power of the unknowable order of the cosmos" as the summary from amazon suggests, which is leading to the ageless attempts at understanding the nature of things, and may reveal that deep in the collective subconscious the predilection to invent the iPhone just might be based on a primordial desire, like E.T., to phone home and a longing to reach out and touch the big 'G'

Joseph McGiannasio

(just in the spirit of political parity..:)

3/07/2008 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

C.P.
Is that you, Zippy, writing under a nom de fou?

3/07/2008 09:05:00 AM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

Science has brought forth the most incredible imagery and shared it with all of us. Deep sea creatures, pictures of deep space, all of it. This stuff is real but perfectly unreal because we have never seen it before. Anti-gravity is pulling the cosmos apart, and we need to take advantage of the fact that we can see the origins of the universe through our powerful telescopes. These things will eventually disappear beyond the event horizon and we will only be able to see our own galaxy. You bring spirtuality and religion into it if you like, but for me the cognitive continuum is a vast and endless source of inspiration and more than enough for me.

3/07/2008 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Christopher Howard said...

David Clarkson, who has work on view right now at the Drawing Center, draws landscapes of Mars.

3/07/2008 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

C.P.
Is that you, Zippy, writing under a nom de fou?


Joanne I was thinking the same thing, or CP lives in the same water shed as Zip

vast and endless source of inspiration

how is that not spiritual?:)

but I do want to clarify religion is what you get when a bunch of people who lack abstract reasoning read metaphorical spiritual teachings and misinterpret it as literal.(then hit the author over the head with the book (literally) when he tries to explain it's metaphorical not literal)

Spirituality is the intuitive sense of the as yet incognitive continuum which leads us to its cognition.

3/07/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joanne, Joseph, c.p. is c.p. different from Zip. Though we have things in common, of course!

Here God is a turtle. Very big I suspect.

I hear that when the time comes you get to choose a ball from any of the ball games: And the job is to change the ball of choice into as many different games as you can. I think the time limit is about 3,000 years earth-time. I heard eight new ball games gets you in. Seven has you making angels in the snow.
Nine or above gets you a job as a bartender in Belgium.

3/08/2008 04:33:00 AM  
Anonymous McFawn said...

Eric said:

“Science has brought forth the most incredible imagery and shared it with all of us. Deep sea creatures, pictures of deep space, all of it. This stuff is real but perfectly unreal because we have never seen it before.”

I agree. There is something fascinating about knowing something exists but never being able to apprehend it naturally…I.e. cells, dust mites, space, etc.

We seem to be losing our taste for real mystery--and that spells trouble for art. NASA launches and the ‘great beyond’ in general have lost their hold on the public’s imagination. This can’t be good for our collective imagination in general. True, space is divorced from our daily lives, and our daily lives are ever more complicated and engrossing. But space is also one of the few resilient mysteries of the world (right up there with Death) and our disinterest in it indicates our dislike of anything that cannot be readily understood, utilized, and finally dismissed.

Art, like space, is outside of life, functionless (by most standard definitions) and mysterious. If space cannot pique our imagination, how can art? But perhaps Martians are just as guilty. They probably go through long stretches when they never even speculate on what the Earth might

3/10/2008 11:05:00 AM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

Great ideas mcfawn. Considering that we aren't even sure if consciousness exists, I would say science doesn't spoil the mysteries of life, but increases them in tangible ways.

3/10/2008 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Clarkson -

http://www.cynthiabroan.com/frameset_Clarkson.html

Mildred Greenberg, Mars the Red Planet, 1988 -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/43686206@N00/197628107/

Bruce Wilhelm -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/43686206@N00/805190478/

Bruce, God of David Clarkson's Mars -

http://anaba.blogspot.com/2007/07/happy.html

3/10/2008 12:47:00 PM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

Hey anon. I love Bruce Wilhelm's work. I would like to write about it someday. Are there any archives of his work online? I can't locate any.

3/10/2008 01:30:00 PM  

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