Lauren Green


(Don’t) Occupy Mars

1 Port Hamilton, Edinburgh EH3 8JL

Today, scientists have reached an understanding that Mars hasn’t always been the cold, desolate planet that it is today. Rather, it previously  had a warmer climate and a much denser atmosphere, protecting its environment and maintaining the liquid form of water. Currently we are  in a circumstance of ecological collapse on planet Earth, and humanity’s vision to terraform Mars to its once habitable state is reckoned to be  a potential opportunity for salvation. However, although humanity’s attraction to the red planet has become increasingly attainable through  the rise of technology and scientific advancement, how we utilize our advances for planetary augmentation of Mars is a process that remains  controversial. 

Through video, sculpture and installation, I aim to discuss and problematize the potential of terraforming our planetary neighbour as a  speculative project, whilst expressing my concerns about the politics which are attempting to drive a move to Mars in the near future. By  creating satirical and fictional environments, I evaluate the ethics behind terraforming and eventually colonising Mars. Often revitalising  found, domestic objects into futuristic props, I aim to expose the capitalistic motivations behind the technology employed by existing space  agencies as it may not just be commercialised, but also weaponised. 

However, in respect to the current unprecedented situation on Earth, and Mars’ place in pop culture, I have decided to take advantage of the  consequential surge in television and online streaming. My piece (Don’t) Occupy Mars, 2020, is a fictional commercial which advertises the  red planet as a ‘redemptive destiny.’ The 3-minute video is set out to mock existing space organisations and their plans for Mars colonisation  as I ironically introduce ‘reconciliation, support groups, and restorative justice mechanisms’ in the form of satire. The announcement of  rehabilitation centres outside of Earth is a critique of the politics advocating a move to Mars and the economic injustices which are arguably  being prolonged. Just like the products commonly advertised in a commercial, Mars is made to appear desirable. Yet, in the same way that  customers may become distracted from the small print, people are similarly deceived into believing that colonising Mars has no  disadvantages.