Credits: Stefanos Papadas and Myrto Aristidou, CYENS CoE

Repairing the Present: Decolonising Mars | Challenge nº16

S+T+ARTS Regional Centers | Repairing the Present

Decolonising Mars | Challenge nº16

How might we understand space migration? What would decolonising Mars be like?

Consortium Partner: Art Hub Copenhagen

The New European Bauhaus:BH2 Sustainable living in Europe & beyond

Problem Statement

Humankind is going to Mars, and regardless of what we are going to find in outer space, we will need to face ourselves when we get there – including the relationship to our others, to so-called virgin territory, and to the damaged planet Earth. We invite applications to address the imaginaries and implications of space travel and migration in the dialectic between life in space and life on Earth.


Space, Decolonisation, Space diasporas, Sci-fi, Migration

Challenge Context

Space migration has a pronounced relation to both urban life and ecological crises on Earth. In various vanguard movements and countercultures, human life in space has represented a radical scientific and/or messianic horizon. From world-building in genres of sci-fi and fantasy to the Russian bio-cosmists of the early 20th century, and Afro-futurists dramatising racialised alienation, there has been speculation about the possibility – or necessity – of humankind projecting itself into space to live on other planets. Today, multiple disciplines are involved in extending the human sphere of life to extra-terrestrial realms: however, this effort involves not only scientific investigation and the development of new technologies but also a negotiation of the assumptions and ideologies that accompany the reproduction of human civilisation, whether in space or here on Earth. We invite applications to address the imaginaries and implications of space travel and migration in the dialectic between life in space and life on Earth. 

We also request applicants to consider the aspect of sustainability. This aspect is inevitably linked to discourses surrounding our living spaces and the natural environment, which are the focal points of the New European Bauhaus, and to research and innovation which are all key areas of the European Green Deal. We encourage applications from a wide range of technologies and artistic mediums. 

For this challenge, applicants can take their point of departure from questions such as the following:

Is space migration the ultimate techno-utopian project or a defeatist venture that accepts the ecological brokenness and irreparability of Earth’s as givens? What possibilities for considering human habitation as an ‘anywhere’ lie between these extremes? 

  • How can material and morphological cultures resulting from the technological innovations of space research benefit the repair of Earth’s damaged environs? 
  • How can we rethink Eurocentric and outdated – or downright offensive – metaphors of conquest, settler culture and ‘space colonisation’ that may still be active in space research and its quest for what US President John F. Kennedy called “the new frontier”? 
  • How can we address the political subjectivisation implied by space migration: for example, the notion that a few astronauts represent humankind? What universalisms (if any) in the representation of ‘human civilisation’ are relevant to space migration? How can humankind’s journey into space be a way of leaving anthropocentrism behind? 

Fellowship Characteristics: network, opportunities, and expectations

The selected artist will have access to the following network:

  • Members of a specialised Local Experts Group
  • Curator, art historian and co-director of Art Hub Lars Bang Larsen
  • Curator and co-director of Art Hub Jacob Fabricius
  • Relevant connections are attached to the members of this primary network based on the artist’s needs.

Art Hub Copenhagen was founded in 2018 as a facilitating, inquiring, and experimental art institution. We are focusing on building interdisciplinary networks through a range of activities. These span from residencies and artistic development programs to discursive and curatorial activities centred on artistic practices and research for both Danish and international artists

Through the S+T+ARTS residency, Art Hub will offer the artist professional facilities and sparring in artistic development, networking, research, and the production of new works.

We expect the artist to show a willingness to collaborate, exchange and experiment. He/she/they will produce artwork under any form as the outcome of the residency and has to agree to showcase it in the framework of the STARTS program.

Jury Day(s)

Jury day will be: in-person
Jury day will be held on: 19th January 2022

Local Expert Group

Challenge Video