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The Martian Rose
updated by Laura Cinti - 08 Oct 2013


"Of all flowers, the rose evokes both the artificial and the poetic, both passion and fragility. Submitted in laboratory conditions to the atmosphere of Mars, the rose died. Mars is not the B612 asteroid in The Little Prince and, in its cylinder reminiscent of a space probe, the flower reminds us that space is a place of death."  

Annick Bureaud and Jean-Luc Soret, Curators, Festival @rt Outsiders 2009, (In)Habitable? L'Art des Environments Extremes
 

the martian rose, bios 4: arte biotecnológico y ambiental,  centro andaluz de arte contemporáneo (caac), seville,  may - september 2007.  The Martian Rose, Bios 4: Arte Biotecnológico y ambiental,  Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC), Seville,  May - September 2007.
 

The Martian Rose (2007/9) explores extreme environments and life beyond terrestrial settings. Using a planetary simulation chamber, roses were exposed to Martian environment for six hours at the Mars Simulation Laboratory, University of Aarhus, Denmark on 27th March 2007 for the exhibition Bios 4: Arte Biotecnológico y ambiental at the Andalusian Contemporary Art Center in Seville, Spain and again on 1st and 2nd September 2009 for the exhibition (Un)Inhabitable? - Art of Extreme Environments at the European Museum of Photography in Paris, France.

The Martian Rose, Festival @rt Outsiders 2009, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France
The Martian Rose, Festival @rt Outsiders 2009, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France



What would Mars do to a rose?

The Martian Rose is an artistic investigation into boundary conditions of life beyond Earth's environment.

The Martian Rose, 2007
The Martian Rose, Unsafe Distance, Stone Bell House, Prague, Czech Republic


The work bridges an experience of inaccessible spaces by exposing living roses to the hostile atmosphere of Mars.

The tubes are specially constructed to fit into the holes inside the chamber forming a carousel allowing us to rotate each tube into a new position during exposure © c-lab 2009
Before exposure Mars Simulation Laboratory, University Aarhus, Denmark, September 2009


Arriving directly from the Mars Simulation Laboratory, we encounter a rose that has been subjected to Martian environment for six hours in temperatures below -60°C, atmospheric pressure of only a hundredth of Earth's, prevalence of carbon dioxide and UV light penetrating unshielded. 

Roses seconds after exposure to Martian atmospheric parameters
Roses seconds after exposure to Martian atmospheric parameters at the Mars Simulation Laboratory, University Aarhus, Denmark, September 2009



The project poetically negotiates scientific spaces selecting a rose not for its resilience to these harsh conditions but rather for its important cultural value and a prelude to a more intensive engagement with Mars.

The Martian Rose, Mars Simulation Laboratory, University of Aarhus, Denmark
Roses during exposure to martian atmospheric parameters mars simulation laboratory, university aarhus, denmark, March 2007

The Martian Rose aims to open discourses and communicate ideas of what we are left with and reflect on both the Martian atmosphere and how technologies are used to simulate these spaces.


C-LAB, The Martian Rose (video), 2008


The work carries the romantic idea of giving a rose to Mars and its encounters with extreme climate, a rendezvous of science and culture.  

Acknowledgements:

The experiment was conducted at the Mars Simulation Laboratory, University of Aarhus, Denmark in March 2007 and September 2009.  We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to Dr Jon Merrison. Our special thanks to Dr Per Nørnberg, Professor Nigel Mason and Professor Charles Cockell.

Supported by a grant from office for contemporary art norway

A new edition of the work has been supported by the @rts Outsiders Festival 2009.

We initially presented the Martian Rose proposal at the opening launch of The Arts and Genomic Centre, University of Leiden in 2005.

Other References: C-LAB:blog: Plant Life on Mars
C-LAB:event: C-LAB VISITS THE MARSLAB
C-LAB:event: MUTAMORPHOSIS: CHALLENGING ARTS AND SCIENCES
C-LAB:event: TERRA 0
C-LAB:event: UNSAFE DISTANCE
C-LAB:project: The Martian Rose
Overview
Year
2007
Status
completed
Keyword(s)
Mars
rose
otherness
Mars simulation chambers
extreme environments
Group(s)
Article(s)
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