- PhMuseum 2022 Photography Grant
Dates2020 - 2021
Failing Forward connects images of little and big mysteries, over the years encountered by Marjolein Blom, with photos from the NASA-Archive depicting scientists working on spacecraft models.
Fifty years ago - in the so-called space age - optimism about scientific progress seemed endless. The first human reached the moon, and techniques from the space industry found a way into our daily lives. But at the same time, the world of science and the everyday world grew increasingly apart. It is incredibly complicated for everyone who is not an expert in a specific research field to interpret scientific results. This - among other factors such as the rise of social media and populism - for some people, reduced trust in scientific institutions and led to the idea that science is 'just another opinion'.
In the past two years, the scientific process gained more attention than ever before. Quoting Dutch Philosopher of Science, Jeroen de Ridder: "This time of a pandemic is unique. Due to the pressure to increase our knowledge of the virus, we do not only see the final results of scientific research. But we also get an insight into the process itself. And what do we see? That science is a temporary and uncertain activity.'
Could we see science as a metaphor for life itself? Often unpredictable and unsure? The NASA images -made to clarify and describe complex matter- are breathing a sense of control. In their own way, however, they are riddlesome.
This project, which revolves around truth-finding, wonder and human control, navigates the two parallel worlds of our scientific and daily reality. While shifting between the enigmatic and the specific, between the clear and the ambiguous, it makes tangible that the thought that we humans will ever be in control in this world is a self-delusion.