While Jeff Bezos works toward his plan of rezoning Earth as strictly for "light industrial and residential use" while moving damaging heavy industries to other planets, contemporary artists have spent some time thinking about what they'd do given artist residencies on the moon.
The exhibition Giant Steps, at King Street Station through this weekend, was organized by Greg Lundgren, who put out an open call for artists to submit proposals for what they'd make on the moon given a budget of $500,000, up to 60 kilograms of supplies, 48 hours on the moon, 12 hours outside their spacecraft, and one astronaut as an assistant.
Some of the artists came up with elaborate plans. Others, elaborate plans that were jokes. Some wanted to do simple things, like drip menstrual blood onto the surface of the moon straight from the artist's vagina, since modern women have so often been assigned the far-off moon while men get earth.
There are so many proposals in the show—each represented by some kind of mockup and an extensive wall text—that reading and considering them all is tedious.
And in some ways, there is an irrelevance to the whole project given the urgency of needing to tend to each other and the floating rock we're already on. (See Jed Dunkerley's proposal pictured above.) The format of presenting proposals for future action on a tabula rasa suggests that there's plenty of time for all of these considerations, but is there?
Corporations are already mining and claiming dubious rights to the resources of other planets. How much of a tabula rasa is it out there on the other chunks of rock we've visited thus far? The moon has been a poetic symbol more than anything. How would artist proposals be different if the artists were asked to work on Mars?
But some of those questions are already embedded in the works of the artists who responded to this proposal: the desire, the hubris, the fear, and the hope about "outer" "space," as we call it from our perch. Their ideas incorporate science, pseudo-science, Oculus Rift, performance and dance, humor, the ancient Pyramids, folktales, death and dying, jewelry for the moon, rainbows, and "a return to commodity-backed currency."
The people's choice award for the best proposal went to Janet Galore's idea of channeling the sun to fuse moon dust into sculptures that would then be brought back to earth and sold at Sotheby's to fund future Moon Art residencies. Earthlings will love congealed moon dust.
So Giant Steps is worth seeing, just make sure you have some time and patience for reading stored up when you go. You'll be imagining most of it. Projecting.