Is there life on Mars?

Installation by LIQUIFER at the Planetarium, Vienna, Austria, part of the exhibition “die wahr/falsch inc.” by SCIENCE COMMUNICATIONS
June – July 2006

BEFLECKTE ERKENNTNIS is an interactive outdoor installation designed by LIQUIFER and explores the theme of evidence to hypothesis, inspired by the work of an interdisciplinary team of Hungarian scientists from the fields of planetology, biology, geology, astronomy and geography and their analysis of images of Dark Dune Spots taken at the Martian South pole. Their probing investigation compares the seemingly seasonal rhythmic patterns found on Mars with similar geological and/or biological formations on earth. The scientists developed a hypothesis considering the Dark Dune Spots to be indicators of extremophile life under the ice surface of Mars.

The installation blurs rigid lines of science and imagery, research and creation, comparing scientific research to techniques used in criminal investigations. Scenes from Antonioni’s film Blow Up (1966) are juxtaposed with testimonies of the Hungarian scientists as they explain their theory and research methodology. The question of life on Mars, scientific theory and research methodology is woven into the crime investigation story of Blow Up. The large-scale sound piece by sound artists Tatzer and Waclavicek use Synthetic Martian sounds to connect the south pole of Mars to the planetarium.

LIQUIFER team   Barbara Imhof, Waltraut Hoheneder, René Waclavicek

Collaborators  Karin Harasser, Nicolaus Gansterer, Markus Tatzer, monochrom

Image credit: Bruno Stubenrauch