‘Greetings From Mars’

Curators’ Corner

‘Greetings From Mars’

What would be the first thing you’d do after stepping foot onto Mars?

You’d probably take a selfie.

That’s not a jab at your character or insinuation of vanity. It’s just what we do these days, you know? Over the past decade or so, the selfie has evolved from teen trend to worldwide phenomenon.

With luxury space travel becoming a very real possibility, French photographer Julien Mauve illustrates what we would look like as tourists on a new planet in a series called Greetings From Mars. Mauve’s images are a stark yet playful juxtaposition of barren land and social self-absorption. Mauve explained the setting to the Huffington Post:

“It’s a couple experiencing Mars as tourists for the first time and sharing their experience through photographs. They include themselves in front of those landscapes and affirm their presence but the funny thing is that we don’t see their faces. It could be anyone in those suits and, in fact, it goes against the original purpose of taking a selfie or souvenir pictures. It was also a way to illustrate this endless pursuit of self-definition we seek with pictures.”

Many of the shots feature a single, lonely, spacesuit-clad traveler taking in the emptiness of the surrounding land. Others show the couple posing together, presumably for a timed shot, or perhaps maybe with the courtesy of a fellow tourist snapping the shot for them. Some are selfies and poses, and some are plain landscape shots. Overall, Mauve does a fantastic job of making the series feel like an actual travel photo collection.

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Mauve told Huff Post that he has always been fascinated with Mars and is anxious about the future of space exploration.

“We hear a lot about NASA, Elon Musk and SpaceX these days,” he wrote. “Mars One also, the company that offers people a one way ticket to establish the first human colony on Mars (and intend to create a TV show out of it). Space exploration and colonization is the greatest adventure of the century and the fact that we may witness it in our life-time makes it even more exciting.”

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He thinks we may even see the once outlandish concept come to fruition within the next 100 years. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Greetings From Mars is a fun, lighthearted poke at our social media-obsessed planet.

“Some years ago, taking pictures of landscapes was enough. And we were not able to share them before we came back home,” Mauve writes on his website. “Today we have added ourselves on the pictures. Our faces are everywhere. We share everything instantly; we feel the need to do it. The connection is permanent and the experience becomes different. With Internet available everywhere, there is no “being-far-away” anymore. So we might ask ourselves, do we travel to discover new places, change of scene, new cultures, or do we travel to look for pictures of ourselves and to prove that we exist?”

That’s a heck of a question.

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