conceptual art, contemporary art, science art, space travel

Katie Paterson, Second Moon (2013-14)

August 30, 2013

paterson

The moon is to be howled at. When it comes to our planet’s only satellite, we have been-there-done-that. If there was a concession selling t-shirts, we missed it.

Our arrival, let’s face it, was a disappointment. We struck neither oil nor gold. Bored astronauts batted around golf balls and American footballs in an inspirational void.

We dreamt about her for millennia and she turned out to be a cold, dead rock. Well, so be it. Now, however, artist Katie Paterson has got the revenge we all wanted.

The Berlin artist has got a fragment of said rock and is sending our moon on an accelerated orbit of shame. In one year it will travel freight-class around the earth 30 times.

Now that’s a moon we can get behind. In a crate marked fragile this lunar specimen will have to deal with customs, baggage handlers, hold ups and the inevitable potential of getting lost.

Twice as fast as the cheese-that-never-was, Second Moon will better reflect the pace of 21st century life. Especially, if you are following its progress on one of the accompanying apps.

As you can see from the accompanying press shot, anyone could get a (literal) handle on this project. And that is something we have consistently failed to do with the ‘real’ thing up there.

Sure, we have mapped it. We have painted it. We have taken stunning photos. But we have failed to exploit it, in the manner which offers daily proof to us that we exist here on earth.

But who knows? Perhaps this durational, labour-intensive and futile project may one day help us to finally understand the moon. As yet, she remains a cipher at the heart of a logistical nightmare.

‘Second Moon’ will launch from the British Science Festival in Newcastle upon Tyne on 8th September. For more on this artist, see her website.

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