The Pyramids of Mars [Seachange]

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


The Pyramids of Mars is a single channel video work with sound that explores ideas of mythic narrative in relation to landscape. The work uses the site of the former RAF Greenham Common as a starting point to realise ideas of the Martian landscape as a site of mythological potential and an impending terraforming project. Mars is a landscape in waiting; it is not just its dead, red soil that will become transformed but its place in the pantheon, its potential aura as both a harbinger of agricultural viriditas, patron of iron and god of war. It is not without it’s own inbuilt conflict as ethical debate polarises itself across ‘red’ and ‘green’ arguments; for respectively biocentric and anthropocentric positions on what is to be made of Mars. It should remain as it is, untouched, it’s dead life is it’s own unique biology; it should be transformed into a habitat suitable for human life. Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy is a touchstone text in this dialogue, articulating the political anxieties and intents over such a project. “Both sides say they are in favor of nature, of course. One has to say this. The reds say that the Mars that is already here is nature. But it is not nature, because it is dead. It is only rock. The greens tell this, and say they will bring nature to Mars with their terraforming. But that is not nature either, that is only culture. A garden ... an artwork.” Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars, 1993 Transformation is viewed in both material and psychic terms as a disturbance of contested ground. In this work the screen functions as an unstable ground, in which visualisation becomes problematic and video a means of negotiation rather than image production; to uncover in its interpolated forms the traces of this instability. The Pyramids of Mars was first exhibited in WILDSCAPES in Catalyst Arts, Belfast in 2014. It has been exhibited subsequently in Seachange: Tulca 2015 and Borderlands at Gallery North, Newcastle.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
EventSeachange: Tulca Festival of Visual Art 2015 - Connaught Tribune Print Factory
Duration: 1 Nov 2015 → …


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