By Christoph Ziegler

Tom Sachs. Exhibition view of SPACE PROGRAM: RARE EARTHS at Deichtorhallen Hamburg, 2021. Photo: ©Julia Steinigeweg

"We go to other worlds not because we've messed up this planet and are looking for a new home, but to better understand our resources here on Earth."

Tom Sachs

The exhibition SPACE PROGRAM: RARE EARTHS is a staged mission to Vesta, a near-Earth asteroid, to harvest rare earth minerals needed to perpetuate Earth's addiction to technology.
US artist Tom Sachs and his crew of sculptor-astronauts have engineered the complete setting for a space mission at Hamburg's Deichtorhallen - a huge bricolage installation. Sachs's interactive landscape features handmade sculptures, life-size models, tools, devices, and ensembles created during his 13-year exploration into space and other worlds. "Vesta offers unique possibilities for surface mining: gold, platinum, and palladium we need to fulfill our needs," Sachs says.

Tom Sachs, "Landing Excursion Module", 2007. Space Program: Mars - Park Avenue Armory, New York, 2012. Mixed Media. Photo: Genevieve Hanson ©Tom Sachs.
The Sachs exhibition's concept transforms the 3,000-square-meter museum hall into the space that will host his narrative; in this space, staged performances and interaction with the visitors become the key components for experiencing the show with all senses.
SPACE PROGRAM: RARE EARTHS opened in September with a "marathon activation" performed by the artist and his crew. Online visitors could follow the 12-hour-long science fiction-like procedure via livestream by purchasing a "time slot" ticket.

Throughout the exhibition, visitors go through an "indoctrination (sic) process" before being allowed to enter the installation. The guided visit through the museum thus becomes a participatory performance in itself, supported by the crew of "astronauts" and "experts" trained by the artist.

With SPACE PROGRAM: RARE EARTHS, Tom Sachs challenges aspects of modern creativity that relate to consumption, production, and environmental issues. The artist - obsessed with plywood, foam core, glue pistols, and electric screwdrivers - describes his sculptures as "objects of love" that honor human construction and the creative traditions of crafting, artisanal work, and DIY.

Tom Sachs, "Mobile Quarantine Facility", 2011. 1972 Winnebago Brave, Mixed Media. Photo: Genevieve Hanson ©Tom Sachs

The exhibition at Deichtorhallen Hamburg runs through 10 April 2022.

LINKS: www.deichtorhallen.de  |  www.tomsachs.com

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