Monica Alcazar Duarte
The New Colonists investigates the metaphysical and ethical issues surrounding the new space race, using portraits of ordinary people who want to become Martian astronauts in conjunction with images from a little town called Mars.
The work invites the viewer to examine their position within contemporary techno-society. I was born in Mexico and have lived in the U.K. for almost half of my adult life. This has created a sense of duality within myself which intrigues me with ideas of the familiar experienced as strange. My work uses ambiguity and tests the relationship between context, interconnection and conclusion. It draws attention to how much we all need to develop a more ‘curatorial gaze’. I believe that the more we embrace non-linearity as an integral part of how we understand the world, the more we can understand the highly complex web behind some of the issues that we face today.
The work consists of images of four U.K. scientists who are on a 100-person worldwide shortlist of candidates for a one-way trip to Mars in 2027. These people’s lives are in suspension, living in the present but dreaming of the far future. I also have a series of photographs of everyday life in a small town called Mars in the North-Eastern United States. These images of Mars are at once achingly normal and strangely alien, provoking questions about our human desire to recreate normality on a distant planet. This combination attempts to evoke a sense of the extraordinary in the mundane.
The main interplay between these images reflects on our need to reach Mars despite having Mars on Earth. It also hints at a world beyond the material everyday. It hints at a world where the mundane is reframed by scientific advancement, highlighting the human condition in a post-human era.