Nowhere Plains, 2005
4 channel video installation of archived stream of live performance streamed via the web.
Courtesy of the artist
In December 2005 four performance lectures by Alistair Gentry, in which he undertook a supposed journey to Mars, were broadcast during the Radiator Festival for New Technology Art. These lectures, which culminated with Alistair‚Äôs crash-landing on the red planet (The UNSA-BERG mission to Utopia Planitia) were streamed live from Radiator’s site to the Internet, and to large screens at Castle Green (the city’s highest point) and Broadway Cinema in Nottingham, to Phoenix in Leicester and to Q Arts in Derby. These videos are documents from that live broadcast event.
The artist writes that Nowhere Plains is a literal translation of the Latin name Utopia Planitia, which was the site of the Viking 2 probe‚Äôs landing on Mars in 1976. Utopia was chosen by NASA firstly because it was an enormous and relatively easy target, and secondly because it was considered safe and flat. Nowhere Plains explores the value of ‚Äúboring‚ÄĚ places with ‚Äúnothing‚ÄĚ in them, of which Utopia Planitia is an almost unimaginably vast example, at the same time as it questions the ‚Äėreality‚Äô and collective excitement of landmark television viewing experiences such as the 1969 moon landing.
Alistair Gentry is a writer and artist whose work has been seen and heard in digital media, on radio, television and the stage, in art galleries, at film festivals, in print and on the net. He recently completed a residency at the Genomics Policy and Research Forum in Edinburgh (a book of images from this residency was published in August 2007) and at He Xiangning Art Museum’s Contemporary Art Terminal in Shenzhen. He is a published author of fiction and is currently also working on a novel called Said and Done and a collection of old and new short stories.