How might Mars look like a hundred years in the future, after we’ve sent dozens of rovers to explore the planet? That’s the idea that Canadian digital media artist Kelly Richardson wanted to explore in her new animated video installation Mariner 9. The piece debuted earlier this month at the Spanish City in Whitley Bay, UK, and will have its North American premiere at next month’s Toronto International Film Fesitval as part of their Future Projections exhibit.
The 20-minute piece is projected on a panoramic 39-foot screen. In the words of the artist, “Mariner 9”
presents a panoramic view of a Martian landscape set hundreds of years into the future, littered with the rusting remains from various missions to the planet. Despite its suggested abandoned state, several of the spacecraft continue to partially function, to do their intended jobs, to ultimately find signs of life, possibly transmitting the data back to no one.
In interviews, Richardson said that she referenced data and imagery from NASA missions to help recreate the topography of her speculative future, but the goal of this research wasn’t so much strict accuracy as authencity. She modeled and animated the landscape with Terragen software, and used Lightwave to create the vehicles.