Notes for Red Planet
Monochrome (for Mars) 2004-2016
These two works follow an earlier digital artwork monochrome (for Mars) that was left on the surface of Mars on 3rd January 2004. That artwork was originally launched to Mars on June 10th 2003 on a Delta II rocket with NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission. The original work (left at two locations on Mars) has now been on Mars for over 16 years. The two images in this exhibition incorporate the original artwork text and panoramic images of each rover’s respective landing site. These images were taken and then transmitted back to earth by the rovers shortly after they landed. Little’s text based Mars artwork monochrome (for Mars) invokes an abstract juncture between digital media, the written word, colour, landscape, and meta-painting. As 2nd generation iterations of the original work on Mars, these works become the quintessential earth version of the work in its known or imagined location on the red planet.
With the first vacuum paintings the vacuum’s interior became the new support or ground for the paint (formerly the role of the stretched canvas). Later, conventional paint was replaced with collected dust and brushed up detritus representing a non-pictorial kind of colour whose dryness and porosity argues against the fluid or liquid nature of paint understood as a wet medium. Rather than attempting to dissolve painting, the vacuum works reverse, contract, compact, invert and internalize the space of painting, and in doing so, enact a reconfiguration of painting’s material constitution.
Vacuum Painting (Lunar) 2016
This work contains pure cutting dust produced in a sterile environment. The lunar dust (lunar pigment) was produced during slicing preparation of lunar rock (NWA5000/2007) and was cut with a pre-polished, stainless steel and diamond blade on a lab-sterilized saw.
Vacuum Painting (Martian) 2016
This work contains Basaltic Shergottite - pure martian detritus (NWA6963/2011)
Red Planet 2016
Images were taken by hazard avoidance cameras on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity between January 2004 and April 2015 as the rover travelled 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometers) from its landing location (Meridiani Planum, Mars). An animated map of the rover’s path is displayed on the right. The audio is derived from vibration measurements taken from the rover’s accelerometer; louder sound corresponds to rougher terrain and softer sound corresponds to smoother, sandy terrain. The resulting audio charts the surface of the red planet as a topographical soundscape. The audio was then put through a spectral acoustic imaging program to translate sound to visual colour within the spectrum of red.