In 2012, Edgar Martins reached out to the European Space Agency with a proposal to create the "most comprehensive survey ever assembled about a leading scientific and space exploration organization." The ESA accepted, and Martins became the first artist in history to gain access to all 15 of their facilities around the world, sites that include robotics departments, space simulators, jet propulsion labs, and other rarely seen spaces.
After an 18-month "gestation period," Martins and the ESA have shared some of the images from The Rehearsal of Space & the Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite, 2014 online and they are pretty cool. The photos show just how expansive and sterile the facilities are. The spaces are familiar because we've all seen science fiction films and space documentaries, but seeing the scale and symmetry of these real environments makes them aesthetically more interesting.
Of the project, Martins writes "Like a topographer or visual archaeologist I set out to discover and reveal the spectrum of possibilities awakened by the objects and places I visited, consequently, inviting a broader and more intricate experience of its hidden meanings. This project explores the theme of space exploration with a strong sense of perspective, an understanding of the other sector’s operating culture and an unequivocal ability to articulate, critique and engage." For more photos from the survey, visit edgarmartins.com.