“Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever” _Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky, 1911
How will we live on the Moon? Despite long-term plans to send humans to Mars, in the short term the Moon is the most likely place to rehearse living away from the Earth. It is envisaged that sooner or later a small outpost of humans and robots will be established, possibly living in tunnels drilled under the Moon’s surface and quite possibly established by emerging superpowers such as China or India.
It is likely that a future moon habitat would be a human/robotic presence on the South Pole or the Moon where water ice is expected to be found. So how might artists respond to this new territory, which technically belongs to everyone? One strategy could be the pre-emptive setting up of a micronation which could claim the Moon independent of national or commercial interests.?This stragegy has already been used by artists such as Slovenia’s Neue Slovenisch Kunst (NSK) who issued their own passports, the Danish group N55 or artists like Antti Laitinen. Alexandra Mir famously declared herself the ‘First Woman onThe Moon’ on a Dutch beach.
The initial idea came from a recent International Astronautical Federation meeting in Paris attended by the exhibition curators, in which issues of space governance were discussed. A United Nations official with an interest in the peaceful uses of space stated, “The last thing we want to propose is a Republic of the Moon”. We wondered: why not? So we propose to set up, in advance, an artist’s micronation- a Republic of the Moon and will communicate with specific artists and groups inviting them to participate, to start thinking about methods of governance, diplomacy and autonomy of this future artist’s territory.
- Dr. Rob La Frenais, UK, is the curator of the Arts Catalyst, an arts organisation based in London and working internationally which commissions collaborations between artists and scientists. His latest curatorial project, Republic of the Moon, explores the idea of artists creating an autonomous poetic territory on a future moon settlement. artscatalyst.org
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