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How High the Mooon

March 30, 2012

It was 04.56 (Italian time) of a summer morning.

July 21, 1969 (still the 20th in the U.S.A.) and Neil Armstrong was setting foot on the Moon. One foot at the beginning, and few things later.

Subject: personal belongings left behind by astronauts.

Belongings such as Alan Shepard’s ball abandoned during the Apollo 14 mission or the so called “Fallen Astronaut” statuette, created by the Belgian sculptor Paul Van Hoeydonck and left on the Moon by Apollo 15’s crew to remember the astronauts of all nations, who lost their lives during the Space Race.

The Fallen Astronaut is at the moment the only artwork on a ground other than Earth.

There are twenty-two items left on the Moon by astronauts. Backpacks loaded with technology to survive the lunar atmosphere, overshoes, gloves, and gold plated helmets to prevent solar radiation. A video camera, two photo cameras, a toolbox, a TV antenna, a seismograph, a sample collector, a laser telemeter, and other instruments.
Again, the American flag, some medals with effigies of dead astronauts, the “Conquest of Moon” commemorative plaque, and record albums with greetings by the Pope and leaders of countries from all over the world.
David Scott laid a little Bible on the ground.

There is also the garbage they left behind to lighten the spacecraft: food cans and empty bags.
And then, The Moon Museum. This small object was left by the Apollo 12 mission. The best American artists had wanted to draw something on it. Andy Warhol drew a penis.

In 1972, during the Apollo 16 mission, Charlie Duke decided instead to leave a photograph. It was a Polaroid of himself with his own family.

“This is the family of Astronaut Duke from Planet Earth. Landed on the Moon, April 1972”.

Or maybe it a complete conspiracy and the Moon Hoax believers are right and the Apollo program was a scam.

Anyway, we have prepared our things to be carried up there. Some of them are mere things, others are ideas, thoughts and words. And then the Moon. To carry the Moon to the Moon. The finger pointing at it, we will leave it here.

Note for the user: leaf through this book listening to “Man in the Moon” by Grinderman.

It was nice to join the presentation of the first volume of a certain number of books  (occasional small press project by Giancarlo Norese and Luca Scarabelli). Mooon is a collection of items the invited artists propose to send to the moon, where they would join the other items left by astronauts. A nice idea indeed and a nice place to talk about it!

Presentation took place at  Spazioborgogno / Museo Pecci Milano, a beautiful post-industrial location along Naviglio Grande. This temporary outpost of Centro Pecci (1988, the first museum dedicated to contemporary art in Italy) was born from the wish to showcase some of the exhibits of the Pecci collection in Milan during the refurbishment and extension works in Prato. The new HQ of Centro Pecci is designed by Dutch architect Maurice Nio and is (hopefully) to be completed later this year.  The location in Milano Ripa di Porta Ticinese 113 is provided by gallerist Piercarlo Borgogno sharing his beautiful space with the Museo Pecci for the time being.

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