The multimedia installation Mariner 9 by the Canadian artist Kelly Richardson presents a panoramic view of a Martian landscape set hundreds of years into the future, littered with the rusting remains from various missions to the planet. Despite its suggested abandoned state, several of the spacecraft continue to partially function, to do their intended jobs, to ultimately find signs of life, possibly transmitting the data back to no one.
Mariner 9 was created using scenery-generation software employed by the film and gaming industries in combination with technical data from NASA's missions to Mars to produce a faithful artist's rendering of Martian terrain, populated by the debris from centuries of exploration through real and imagined spacecraft in the centre of a duststorm. "Cinematic tropes of sci-fi films abound, but any search for a clear narrative is frustrated. Presented with minimal action, we wonder instead about the search for life beyond our own planet and the simultaneous destruction of life on earth." (Laurel MacMillan, Programmer for TIFF Future Projections)
Coinciding with the landing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory aka "Curiosity" on the planet at the beginning of August 2012, Mariner 9 saw its world premiere in Whitley Bay (UK) in August 2012. From November 6th 2013, this sophisticated, technically elaborate artwork dealing with human exploration of the Red Planet will be presented at the Natural History Museum Vienna.
Mariner 9, 2012
43' x 9' panoramic HD video installation with 5.1 audio
20 minute seamless loop
Commissioned by Tyneside Cinema, UK