What if we were to colonize a completely new world?
Scientists and artists are clubbing together to build a fictional “second earth” as part of Esch-sur-Alzette becoming European Capital of Culture next year.
The experts will focus on Mars – the “red planet” – due to its shared characteristics with the southern Luxembourg city’s red earth, which allowed the region to have a successful steel industry.
The project, dubbed Esch Mars, is at the intersection of science, art, and utopic societies and will end with an exhibition in October next year, posing the question of what if we were to colonize a completely new world?
The idea behind Esch Mars is to build a fictional mission to question our current reality. If we had the chance to contribute to a new world order, what would that world look like? What kind of science would be needed? What social structures should be put in place? And, what would a combination of experts' and citizens' perspectives generate?
Artists will discuss with experts, such as scientists and astronauts, for 40 days to establish ideas on how to build a new society. The artists will then ask citizens to share their opinions on what they think is crucial to live together.
Seven artists from various backgrounds will then use the information they gather from scientists and citizens to create artworks.
Esch Mars allows people to imagine a utopic scenario where everyone can combine their knowledge and opinions to create a better alternative world, giving a glimpse into a world where everyone’s opinions are valued and integrated into an improved version of current societies. The aim is to give hope that it is possible to build a better world – through the creation of a fictitious one.
Esch Mars’ portrayal of colonisation as an opportune moment can be problematic. Colonialism, especially western colonialism, has shown the negative impact of a group of people appropriating a foreign land. Genocide, oppression, and racism are just some of the long-term costs of a civilisation imposing their ideas of what a new society should be.
Experts specialising in the history of colonisation will be taking part in the project, organisers said. Hopefully, through the acknowledgment of the suffering rooted in histories of colonisation, Esch Mars will not only create a utopic society far away from earth but also a society far away from intolerance.