What is it about the idea of journeying to other planets that is so compelling – so addictive? And why has Mars always been the centerpiece?
Go to NASA’s website today. It will direct you to a graphic of how they’re going to get people to Mars. But the image doesn’t fire the imagination. However, there was a golden era: a time when the human mind ran wild and Mars became an obsession with scientists, writers, film makers, even radio hosts. It was a fantastic time; it laid the foundation for the mega-examples, like Star Wars, Star Trek and Cosmos. But it had a quality all of its own, a crazy variety of styles and ideas.
This show is a celebration of our obsession with the planet Mars. There is imagery from a century ago; radio from the 1930s; art and science from the 1950s. And such characters: Percival Lowell, the man who popularized the idea that there were canals on Mars built by a dwindling Martian civilization, Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose fame owed more to his Barsoom series than to Tarzan, and H.G. and Orson (Wells and Welles). Of course there is also great music by my band, The Cosmonauts: the perfect accompaniment to an underappreciated era.
Workshopped at the Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October, 2014, presented at Beakerhead 2015 and 2016 and booked for the Telus World of Science in January 2017.
Picture by Michael Chong