The Challenger Disaster Revisited, Part 1 dashndem: Dash MacDonald, Demitrios Kargotis 31 May - 6 June 2010
MOCA London presented the artist duo dashndem at this years Scienar Exhibition in Bucharest, Romania. We exhibited their new video of their proposed performance happening (Part 2) for MOCA London, the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich and the Lanchester Gallery, Coventry which will take place next year to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the disaster.
The 'Space Shuttle Challenger' disaster occurred on January 28th 1986, when 73 seconds into the launch a fireball caused the Challenger Space Shuttle to disintegrate over the Atlantic Ocean, leading to the tragic deaths of its seven-crew members. Captured live by CNN, the resulting image:The eerie beauty of the orange fireball and billowing white trails against the blue (The New York Times, January 29th 1986), became charred into the nation's collective consciousness, as it was played and replayed by the media.
The artists intend to re-enact this infamous explosion as a public firework display. The performance will be held by on the banks of the Thames river by creating a bespoke rocket that emulates the now symbolic formation of the fireball, smoke and debris.
This event is intended as a direct critique on the 'spectacularization' of catastrophe and our relationship to mass mediated disaster; evoking a sense of detachment and spectatorship, with viewers as the passive consumers and the Challenger Disaster an entertaining, consumable spectacle. Moreover, by re-enacting the disaster, twenty-five years later, they intend to question the legitimacy of what it has come to represent; the popular interpretation, and to what extent collective memory of the disaster has been manipulated for political gain.
Scienar was funded with support from the European Commission and was a conference and exhibition looking at new interaction between Art and Science. Pictured above: Video still
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