A long time ago in an issue not so far away in uncube issue no. 19: Space, curator and writer Lukas Feireiss contributed a piece entitled Memories of the Moon Age, chronicling how the human race used the space race as one big testing ground for its forays and follies alike. Mars may be getting much of the press these days, but central to these speculative endeavours back then was our nearest celestial body: the Moon.
The pull of the Moon towards shaping cultural, technological – not to mention architectural – life down here on earth has been so strong throughout history that it’s no surprise that Lukas ended up with enough material to produce a whole book on subject.
Taking us on a journey from Jules Verne to CERN, via spaceflight (man, dog and monkey) to the Space Orchestra, his resulting new publication features a cast of explorers, scientists, entrepreneurs and, naturally, architects. Interestingly, Memories of the Moon Age does not distinguish between scientific and cultural milestones. The planting of the US flag on the Moon is here but so too is the MTV Moon man and the first shadowy photos of far side of the moon share equal footing with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Defining moments of technological invention nestle alongside those of artistic invention such as David Bowie’s Space Oddity from 1969 and his son Duncan Jones’ 2009 film Moon. Feireiss utilises an assemblage method to produce what he describes as “a critical cut up, a playful montage”.
It’s an approach that makes perfect sense given the retro-futurist/magical-realist manner in which post-mid-twentieth century humanity tends to acquire knowledge and understanding – particularly when it comes to anything involving outer space. The Moon is not just a constant presence in collective memory, but also an enduring feature of the humanity’s collective imaginary. If you ever need some reassurance about the creative force that is humanity at is best, a glance through the pages of this pocket-sized volume will bring some comfort.
Memories of the Moon Age by Lukas Feireiss, published by Spector Books, Leipzig, 2015.