Twinned planets: Mars under the human gaze
The CCCB’s new exhibition thoughtfully explores our evolving relationship with the red planet
‘Mart: El mirall vermell’ (Mars: the red mirror), at the CCCB museum in Barcelona from February 25 to July 11, 2021, displays multimedia depictions of Mars from antiquity to the present day.
The exhibition is varied and rich, hosting more than 400 ancient artefacts, books, photographs, films and conceptual pieces: myth, fiction and science are all united by their shared fascination with our closest planetary neighbour.
The first section, lowly lit with blue light, explores how ancient civilizations linked planets to gods. The next bright-red section probes the emerging disciplines of astrology and science. It then goes on to examine Mars in fiction, from the earliest literary works to the characteristic science-fiction and comic books of the 20th century.
In the final section, green and brightly lit, it is increasingly hard to hide from our glaringly preoccupying future relationship with the planet. The art focuses on Mars and the Anthropocene, powerfully reminding us of our need for a planetary back-up as we continue to destroy our Earth.
The story ends with a piece about recent missions to Mars, with NASA’s Perseverance rover landing just a few days before the exhibition’s launch. That alongside the glass-encased Martian rock waiting at the exit doors provide a powerful reminder of our current and ever-increasing closeness with the red planet.