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The Red Mirror


Why Mars?

The exhibition “Mars. The Red Mirror” is an invitation to delve into the powerful imagery of Mars – a journey that begins with the ancient myth of the god of war – which, since the end of the 19th century, has been a rich seam for scientific observation, the geopolitical struggle and science fiction until it has become, today, a mirror of our wounded planet.

While in 1898 H. G. Wells marked the beginning of popular culture’s fascination with the red planet with The War of the Worlds and speculated about a Martian invasion of the Earth, more than a century later new space missions and attempts at terraforming, conquering and inhabiting Mars have guided our imagination in the opposite direction.

At a key moment in the climate crisis, this exhibition at the CCCB vindicates the evocative power of planetary observation and the transformative strength of fiction. The exhibition invites us to regain our fascination with a myth that is synonymous with violence and death, but also protects the harvest and heralds the arrival of spring, and, with it, life. In the midst of a pandemic that has triggered fears of the extinction of the human species, the mystery of Mars thus refers to the big question about the origin of life and the possibilities of its regeneration in hostile environments. When the Earth begins to show its most Martian face, with extreme climates and desolate landscapes, recent research into Mars points out that life can be reborn after the extinction. Far from being a spare planet, Mars is already a key place for scientific exploration that can open up other possible futures for the Earth.

The thread of life that connects both planets and the presence of Martian meteorites on Earth confirm – as science fiction has suggested – that the links between them are close and deep in our interdependent cosmos. “Mars. The Red Mirror” is an adventure for the imagination, an invitation to leave Earth to return and heal it, aware of the horizons and paradoxes that Mars presents in this enthralling multiplanetary universe.

Judit Carrera
Director of the CCCB