Thursday, 31 July 2014

When Science meets Art

Anyone who knows me can guarantee that I would happily spend all day in an art gallery. Now, I'm not really a fan of contemporary art, I think the meaning behind it is often far too vague and you struggle to see the links between what it says the artwork is about and what it actually looks like. It's really not for me. This was until I saw Mariner 9 by Kelly Richardson, a conglomeration of contemporary art and science.

Now on show at the Laing gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne, Mariner 9 depicts a panoramic image of what Mars will look like 200 years in the future. It is unequivocally striking and a real sight to be seen. But this isn't just an imagined landscape thought up in the artists head, the exhibition was created using data from NASA. Actual scientific knowledge went into the production of Mariner 9 and I think that's what makes it so breathtaking. Richardson worked alongside NASA and used real imagery and technical data from them. She then used a scenery generation software named Terragen to create the hyper-realistic scene of Mars. She even went as far as to replicate the geology and weather found on the red planet.


So what does it look like? The scene depicts the surface of mars, rocks and rovers dominate the landscape and the wreckage of rusting spacecraft lie off into the distance. Light and sound play an important part in the exhibit and the sounds of  rovers moving and the wind howling make the experience feel almost real. As the sun sets on Mars, you feel like you're almost there, alone with only pieces of machinery to keep you company.

MARINER 9 - An interview with Kelly Richardson from Northern Stars on Vimeo.
An interview with artist Kelly Richardson about her work Mariner 9.




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