What would you do with a 48-hour art residency on
the moon? That was Greg
Scores of Earthlings submitted, 53 proposals were
accepted for a
temporary exhibition that opened tonight at
King Street Station. I'm happy to say mine was
among them; I'm sad to say it didn't win the $10,000
grand prize. Here it is. 10, 9, 8...
What is the future of the moon?
Will it be preserved as an international park for
eco-tourism? Exploited for resources? Settled by
colonists? If past is precedent, there will be a
mix of uses.
In this early phase of moon exploration and
development, I choose to create a symbolic link to
Earth using the moon's harsh environment as a foil
to our home planet's bounteous but imperiled
ability to sustain life as we know it.
Anyone who has visited a fragile desert
environment knows, there is beauty in barren
places. As Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin so memorably
put it when setting foot on the moon in 1969:
In my novel BUZZ, the moon
plays a central metaphorical role. From the
chapter "Black Skies in Daylight":
The moon's gravity, 1/6th of Earth's, is not
strong enough to wrap gasses around it. Because
there is no atmosphere, objects do not recede
into haze. For the first time in their lives the
astronauts cursed their 20/20 test pilot eyes
that allowed nothing to fade into the forgiving
blur of distance. The stars did not twinkle or
seem far away. A peculiar feeling of
claustrophobia when the infinite is closing in,
the heavens within arm's reach.
Air is why earth's sky is blue. On the
moon, the sky is black even in daytime. The only
reminder of the sky they left behind was the
emissions of their space suits, earthsky blue
halos of what they exhaled.
This little detail even found its way onto a US
would treat my moon residency as a visit to a
national park: "Take only pictures, leave only
Specifically, I would temporarily introduce a
little bit of Earth sky blue to the otherwise
stark black-and-white lunar landscape in the form
of a clear inflatable six-foot sphere filled with
an appropriate air mix.
The gas inside will scatter sunlight, glow blue
against the moon's black sky. The sphere could be
inflated with captured space capsule waste gas or
prepared canisters designed for that purpose--a
bit of Earth's atmosphere to be rolled, bounced,
and tossed along the lunar surface. Residency
would be spent documenting the sphere by itself or
as a prop manipulated by one or both astronauts.
14's Alan Shepard played golf on the moon. My
assistant and I would play catch or
soccer--perhaps the most universal of all
When time's up, the sphere will be deflated and
returned to earth. In the digital age, art is
dematerializing. Why sully the moon's surface with
objects that few, if any, will ever see in person?
The work is both whimsical and serious.
Aesthetically, it recalls the pivotal early
photographs taken from space, when concepts of
"spaceship Earth" and the "big blue marble" first
gained currency. Likewise, this little azure
bubble highlights the fragility of Earth's
atmosphere, the austere inhospitableness of the
moon, and the giant steps humanity is taking to
bridge the gap between the two.
Gallery Exhibit Concept (where blue circle
is tinted spotlight shining on wall display):