Posted by CHRIS on May 10, 2012 at 06:30 PM
From 16th of May Tom Sachs will blast off to Mars at Park Avenue Armory with a dynamic sculptural installation that simulates a live mission to the Red Planet - complete with launch platforms, a mission control center, and a Martian landscape, all meticulously crafted from everyday materials in original Sachs style. Armory’s vast 55,000-square-foot drill hall will be transformed into an otherworldly odyssey, and will perform with his studio team the myriad mission procedures, rituals, and tasks, from takeoff to landing. Combining Sachs’ signature artistic virtuosity and wry sense of humor, SPACE PROGRAM: MARS will present a playful take on our culture’s ongoing fascination with manned space flight. The show will be open to the public from May 16 to June 17, 2012.
Following his 2007 mission to the moon, Sachs and his team take audiences to the further reaches of the solar system with an installation of dynamic and meticulously crafted sculptures. Using his signature bricolage technique, Sachs fashions aeronautical equipment and the world of another planet out of simple materials— foam-core, hot glue, plywood, and other standard materials that have been salvaged or are readily available from D.I.Y. catalogues. With painstaking detail, he creates an elaborate spacecraft, exploratory vehicles, a Mission Control, launch platforms, and a Mars landscape, recasting the venue as an immersive space odyssey at an ambitious scale.
In preparation for their lengthy mission, Sachs and his crew have engineered all that is necessary for survival, colonization, and scientific exploration in extraterrestrial environs, from food delivery and astronaut entertainment to human waste disposal. The team will spend the duration of the project in residency at the Armory working through mission tasks and systems, including Space Camp, Rover Deployment, Red Beans and Rice Preparation, and Suiting Protocol. Visitors will be invited to undergo a re-education or “indoctrination” process that will enable them to participate in the installation like a member of the studio team, ultimately earning the right to enter the Landing Excursion Module (LEM), Sachs’ hand-sculpted and life-sized space capsule. Over the course of the installation, the team will also present 90-minute demonstrations of the SPACE PROGRAM: MARS “Flight Plan”. During these events, visitors will witness the activation of the complex sculptural systems, rituals, and narratives that comprise the mission to Mars, from lift off to their first walk on the surface of Mars to collecting scientific samples.
When my astronaut took her first step on the Moon, or the gallery floor, we had rehearsed it so many times that we were sure that it was going to be disappointing. But when it finally happened, we all went crazy! We weren't surprised because we were so prepared, but it was nevertheless a huge thrill and relief.
- Tom Sachs on Space Programm, 2007
Space travel is physically demanding in countless ways. Astronauts must first be as fit as an elite athlete to even withstand the rigors of exiting the earth’s atmosphere. Their daily tasks require a substantial effort and endurance. Equally, their equipment must be up to the task of performing under the most unforgiving conditions. The needs of a space traveller create an interesting design challenge. They seek product that is lightweight and athletic, yet durable to an extreme degree.
It’s exactly the kind of problem solving exercise that designers at Nike would embrace. But while Nike has certainly employed aerospace innovation to sportswear over the years in cushioning platforms like Nike Air and Nike Lunarlon, they create for athletes, not astronauts. That is, until, the opportunity of supporting artist Tom Sachs and his team in the “Space Program: MARS “presented itself. Sachs and his team were looking for high performance product to train in to prepare for their mission.
The journey itself would end up inspiring the Tom Sachs: NIKECraft collection - The Mars Yard Shoe, The Trench, The Marsfly Jacket, and The Lightweight Tote. Nike design and Sachs applied materials that have never been used in sportswear, taken from automotive air bags, mainsails for boats and the space suit itself. Each piece is packed with functionality that would prove useful in the voyage through space. Zipper pulls that double as storage containers, paracord that can be fashioned as a tourniquet and embellishments like the periodic table of elements screened on the inside of a jacket - they all merge visual interest with purpose.
The collection will release at retail on May 16th at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC and on May 18th at select Nike retailers globally.