Beneath a Paper Moon
Dates2022 - 2024
- Topics Awards, Contemporary Issues, Documentary, Editorial, Fine Art
- Locations Hanksville, Utah, United States
Our fictions shape the future. Utah's Mars Desert Research Station simulates life on Mars, blending science and storytelling. "Beneath a Paper Moon" employs handmade collage to merge photos of Earth simulations with real Mars images from NASA.
Our fictions render the first contours of an unfolding future. At the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, analog astronaut crews enact scenarios that blend science with future-facing storytelling, forecasting humanity's interplanetary aspirations. As a part of "Beneath a Paper Moon," this project employs photography and handmade collage to juxtapose terrestrial Mars simulations with images from actual Mars, sourced from NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the Hubble Space Telescope.
In the last two decades, numerous analog astronauts worldwide have endured countless imaginary losses and injuries. They have toiled quietly to coax edible plants from simulated Martian regolith soil. They fumble to fix essential infrastructure and robotics with thickly gloved hands. They have died thousands of imaginary deaths. Each time, they resurrect with new knowledge, crucial for paving the way to an interplanetary future.
During my time at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, I witnessed a fusion of empirical research and imaginative storytelling. Every simulation weaves a narrative, blending science with futuristic fiction against the backdrop of a simulated Martian landscape. In this desolate patch of Utah desert, a deep past and a deep future collide as the analog astronauts pick their way through a landscape littered with ancient dinosaur bones.
In the continuum of human history, toolmaking and storytelling have been inextricably linked, both serving as fundamental drivers of our evolution. Currently, we find ourselves in a period marked by unprecedented technological acceleration, witnessing steady developments in artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and space exploration.
The first person to step onto Mars could still be a child today, their path being sculpted by visionary tales. This future voyager will emerge, supported by the collective efforts of countless scientists, engineers, and analog astronauts, each contributing to the first draft of humanity's Martian saga.