Commissioned by The Lowry for WEEK 53
A vast wall of unknown origin has been found on Mars, a mysterious feature strangely reminiscent of the US/Mexico border wall.
Nye Thompson’s new work /artefact is an immersive video installation that takes the viewer on a hypnotic visual journey along this newly-exposed structure and the surrounding Martian landscape.
The work blurs the boundaries between the ‘scientific objectivity’ of satellite imagery and the imaginative/subjective re-contextualisation of conspiracy theories, exploring the area of slippage between the two and the ambiguous nature of image-led ‘reality’ in a digitally mediated world.
In an age of proliferating border walls, and coinciding with the US elections, this piece explores the symbolic act of wall building – the awkward mapping of political power onto an indifferent geography.
/artefact engages with data and digital mediation as an instrument of power now, more than ever, the digital image is a conflict zone. It continues Thompson’s exploration of how software platforms enable but also subtly direct how we perceive the world. Mars is the first planet that we have developed a relationship with that is not experienced on a human scale, but mediated through the vertical gaze of satellite imagery. This ‘godgaze’ inspires megalomaniac dreams, turning geography into aesthetics and the visible world into data and potential mineral claims. Currently protected by a fragile international treaty, the real power struggles and land claims of Mars are yet to be played out.
About Nye Thompson
Nye Thompson (UK) is an artist turned software designer turned artist. She creates data-generating artist software systems to explore new technology paradigms, and has a particular interest in the machinic gaze and its underlying power dynamics.
Duration: Fri 24 April - Sun 3 May