Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

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A decade with Mars and space for trees

  24/09/2015
Last Updated:  16/12/2015
A Decade With Mars

What does a proposal to leave our planet mean for our society? Can the idea of leaving Earth offer perspective on how we are living now, and how we might live in the future? What will happen in the next ten years of our lives, the applicants lives and all of our lives?

A Decade With Mars will extend out from the artists’ meetings with six prospective astronauts, to create a growing community asking questions about all of our futures on Earth. Over the next ten years, Ella and Nicki will be creating a series of artworks interrogating those possibilities. So far, they have held a launch party for the applicants, sent a camera to the edge of the atmosphere from six different cities, given talks, school workshops and created a podcast.

We are now at the beginning of creating the next part of the project: Space for Trees.

Williamson Park, Lancaster, minutes after weather balloon launch

Image: Williamson Park, Lancaster, minutes after weather balloon launch

About Space for Trees

In creating A Decade With Mars, Ella and Nicki strive to engage with a wide range of people in diverse contexts. They facilitate participatory projects and events which anyone can become a part of. In doing so, they make room for experts and amateurs, children and older people, and anyone who wishes to join in, to have conversations about what the next ten years might bring…

Similarly to the rest of the project so far, Space for Trees will enable this, as well as create a tangible legacy which will grow over the next decade and beyond.

Before Yuri Gagarin left Earth and became the first human being in space, he planted a tree at the site he would launch from in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Since then all cosmonauts have continued this same tradition, as well as all astronauts who have used the same site to travel to the International Space Station. Trees have been planted by astronauts from countries all over the world including Britain.

European Space Agency – ISS astronauts plant trees in Baikonur

Image: European Space Agency – ISS astronauts plant trees in Baikonur

Inspired by this long standing tradition, the artists will replicate this ceremony, creating a performance event in a public place where a tree is planted, with a commemorative plaque. The event will sit within a program of workshops and talks about sustainability, and how leaving Earth helps us look back at how we are living now and how we might live in the future.

Acting as physical markers, the ceremonial trees will give people the opportunity to consider the future, linking personal ambitions to our local communities, and our global responsibility for the planet. In imagining what might happen to the planting site over the next ten years, each tree planting performance will become linked to the broader questions at play in the project, becoming a local landmark, connected to the communities’ everyday lives.

Earth from 100,000 feet, taken by Ella & Nicki’s weather balloon

Image: Earth from 100,000 feet, taken by Ella & Nicki’s weather balloon