The work uses the fantasy of an interplanetary future for humanity as an allegory to examine planetary systems here on Earth, while proposing non-anthropocentric futures for Mars. Picking up where sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson left off with the Mars trilogy and incorporating research on the Anthropocene and multispecies thinking posited by Donna Haraway, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, and Jackie Wang, among others, the project uses a virtual Mars world built in the game engine Unreal Engine as a lab for exploring the social, technological, and ecological entanglements of three speculative Martian settlements.
Drawing an unlikely link between Mars and Scotland that spans language, sociology, and geology, one of the project's settlements, an eco-feminist cult, expands on the possibility of non-human life on Mars by merging mysticism, rewilding, plant consciousness, and a speculative Martian-Gaelic language built with a Natural Language Processor (NLP) and the Language AI GPT-3. Other settlements critique ideas of terraforming Mars for Earthly settlement, proposed by the likes of Elon Musk, and a speculative bio-infrastructure resource extraction conglomerate augured by Silicon Valley demi-gods, which mines Martian permafrost for clean water and air to transport back to Earth. Borrowing from already-existent architectural propositions to settle Mars, ranging from eco-conscious smart cities drilled into cliffs to international “Martian training camps” on Lanzarote and in the Arabian Desert, the project blends real and rendered environments, setting the stage for an experimental and multimedia narrative that dissolves the line between fact and (near-future) fiction.
More generative links between Mars and the Earth blossomed long before interplanetary settlement became a near-future concern.
The Martian Word for World is Mother reclaims the haptic space of Mars as a site of entangled life, in order to imagine more-than-human futures for the Red Planet and our own.
(b. 1993, London) is a North American artist, writer, and educator. Working primarily through video game engines, her current oeuvre explores interconnections of architecture, ecology, magic, and non-human and machine intelligence. She uses speculative fiction and worldbuilding strategies to critique architecture's role in the climate crisis and its contribution to systems of global inequality.