I am sure that everyone had their fair share of Halloween activities this past weekend, so instead of a supernatural booklist, I have decided to go extraterrestrial. Maybe you are bored with, disappointed in, or ambivalent towards this planet, so this week’s list will at the outset take you elsewhere, but these selections will ultimately bring you back to Earth in order to reflect on what is happening down here.
Do aliens have the same problems we do?
Alien Nation(2006) is a catalogue for a show of the same name organized by London’s Institute for Contemporary Art that addresses the relationships between science fiction, race, and contemporary art. The twelve international artists chosen for the exhibit use the language of science fiction as a metaphor for ‘otherness’ and the threat of the outsider. In addition to the documentation of artworks, sci-fi film posters and film stills are interspersed throughout the book, extending the mingling of fiction and fact. (available at Archive Kabinett)
Traveling to mini-universes…by car?
The Little Constellation Book(2010) combines an exhibition curated by Roberto Daolio and Alessandro Castiglioni and travel documentation by the artist-researchers, Rita Canarezza and Pier Paolo Coro. Like Alien Nation, the book uses images from sci-fi books and films alongside documentation from 20 artists and groups to create a constellation between the artists, curators, and institutions in small European states and other geocultural micro-areas. (available at Motto)
“You had lunch with the guy who brought this by???”
I was very curious as to how the Alien Digest #1-4(1990-1992) ended up in a Berlin bookstore because my Internet research on the small publication had brought to my attention that the author, Creston, had died a mysterious death in 1993. After a confusing conversation with the staff, I deduced that the person who brought the publication to them had found the pdfs online (here) and reprinted them. The digests were originally distributed by the Aquarian Church of Universal Science; and within each issue the author shares his obsessive research on UFOs (and, naturally, the accompanying US government conspiracy) to keep the public informed. Obviously I had to read them all and enjoyed every minute of it, but couldn’t help but feel a bit spooked, not necessarily because I am afraid that 9 ft tall reptilian humanoids are going to abduct me and use my brain fluids to create their favorite hallucinogenic drug, but by the mysterious absence of a copy-editor…even for the Church’s mission statement! (available at Motto)
Have you met…the meteorite, El Taco?
In 1962 an Argentinean farmer stumbled across a meteorite, El Taco, in his fields. El Taco was sent to Germany to be sliced in half; one half was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and the other to the planetarium in Buenos Aires. Artists Guillermo Faivovich and Nicolas Goldberg have reunited these two lonely extraterrestrial pieces for an exhibition in Frankfurt, a precursor to their project for dOCUMENTA (13). Who would have known that a rock could evoke feelings of displacement, loneliness, and joy? The exhibition catalogue The Campo del Cielo Meteorites – Vol. 1: El Taco(2010) contains the meteorite’s story accumulated from intensive archival research and oral histories. (available at Motto)