Space exploration is one of the most aspirational of all human endeavors. Landing on the moon is amongst the greatest achievements of the human race. 

Five decades have passed since people last set foot there in 1972. Over the course of those years we have come to learn that our collective actions are unleashing an ecological disaster that threatens our very existence. A climate emergency is declared, yet the governments and corporations with the power to enact change seem to do nothing, content to see us continually distracted. We have shouted ‘Fire!’ but are standing idly, fretting over shopping baskets, scouring lists of ingredients – which one of these products contains the least amount of guilt?? – as the house around us burns. 

Meanwhile in the United States, NASA has built a rocket that will take us back to the moon again. The Artemis programme promises to ‘build a community on the Moon to learn how to live on other worlds.’ 

I too am going to build a rocket. 

I know what I am doing – I have done this before! When NASA were flying their first space shuttles, over in Mrs Howell’s class at Kinlet School we also made our own small spacecraft out of cereal boxes, cotton wool and pasta shapes. My new rocket will be much bigger. It will be made of up-cycled exhibition materials and climate anxiety – clad in cardboard and plastic, and a few recognizable household items; both the innocent and the guilty. 

Towering over visitors, the rocket’s ostentatious yet awkwardly useless form will reference follies: buildings constructed merely to show off the wealth and status of their owners. Is the exploration of other worlds essential for our development and growth? Or should we concentrate our resources on the world we already have? Should the greatest achievement of the human race, in fact, be to save it? This big rocket aims to give physical form to our internal conflicts, to pose questions about our priorities, and promote debate and reflection in an inquisitive and playful spirit. 

This exhibition is supported by Arts Council England.

Exhibition opening
Friday 24 February, 6 – 8pm
Join us to celebrate the opening of the exhibition.