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Return to Spaceship Earth

presenting a new work in the double show Return to Spaceship Earth at Salonul de proiecte in Bucharest.

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Return to Spaceship Earth
24.5. – 18.6.2017
Silvia Amancei & Bogdan Armanu, Ralo Mayer
curated by Alexandra Croitoru & Ștefan Tiron

Salonul de proiecte
23-25 Ion Brezoianu, Bucharest

(see also this review by Ion Dumitrescu)

There are five devices on the Moon that have made it possible to measure its distance from Earth almost to the millimeter. All of these objects, placed by the Apollo and Lunokhod programs, reflect laser beams from observatories on Earth straight back to their source with minimal scattering.
The devices are thus called retroreflectors, or retroflectors.

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Whereas the lunar retroflectors use an array of optical lenses, the very same principle of retroflection has been employed by 3M to develop a hyper-reflective sheeting material based on microscopic glass beads. They branded it Scotchlite and you might know it from road signs, safety vests, or my bag.To further the wonderful rhymes of retroflection, the textile version of Scotchlite played an important role in some great Science Fiction movies of the 1960s and 1970s. Douglas Trumbull used giant Scotchlite screens in Kubrick’s 2001 as well as in his own Silent Running for the so-called front projection technique, through which foreground performance can be seamlessly combined with prefilmed background footage.
Practically, retroflection provided the background for speculative futures of life in space.

For my new work at Salonul de proiecte in Bucharest, I have put together my own retroflector setting, in which former foreground performers are as retroflective as the screen behind them. It’s all background now.

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The performers are: the astronaut, the robot, the alien.
These figures, featuring prominently in Science Fiction and real space exploration, also refer to various degrees of Space Un·Settlements, the un-heimlich of outer space: the human and anthropocentric perspective, the machine and artificial intelligence, and the unknown and unknowable alien, stranger than strangely imaginable, xeno AF.

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My retroflective cast includes:

  • an unnamed astronaut, represented by an empty jumpsuit (the jumpsuit is what an astronaut wears inside, when at home)
  • Drone 1, also known as Dewey, from Silent Running
  • E.T. dressed as ghost, from the film’s Halloween scene

The script is based on 26 movie scenes in which astronauts, robots, and aliens interact with each other, with plants, and in greenhouses – because Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies are quite central to Space Un·Settlements.

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Additionally, I’m showing a blown-up and mashed-up double size vinyl cover (I’m gonna get myself connected 1992) and my video essay on Space Post Colonialism.

huge thank you’s:
The astronaut would like to thank Lisi Lang / lila.cx for the jumpsuit,
the robot called Dewey says thanks to Ben Pointeker,
and E.T. to Laszlo Forray and Paul Barbu.
Special thanks to Raluca Voinea, Elisabeth Marinkovic, Marian Ivan and Rüdiger Suppin.

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photos by Stevan Sava and Ralo Mayer

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