The works from the Earth series are based on the imagery of the early space program and follow the studio’s continuing investigation of our relationship to the natural world. The symbolic influence of the early space race imagery is profound. The Apollo media machine was responding to a moment of national hysteria about the nuclear arms race with an iconic American story of progress, exploration, and adventure that moved the country from fear to optimism. This imagery re-shaped American consciousness.
There’s also a correlation between art-making and nation building, and since the country was founded, it has utilized the notion of the frontier as a way to justify imperialism from Manifest Destiny to postwar modernity. Boundlessness and the unknown have always been a screen onto which citizens can project ideas of the pioneering hero within all of us. That’s why kids respond so strongly to stories about cowboys and astronauts. It’s a moment in life when everything seems possible; imaginations are primed to personalize the heroic, which is a powerful way for a child to think. These ideas ultimately led the studio to attempt a democratization of this imagery for a global citizenry. Through de-familiarizing space iconography and handling the raw material in a way that made the images feel new and once again undiscovered, the Earth series asks viewers to take back a sense of the unexplored for their own, personal wonder.
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