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Mars: The Red Mirror

Explore 12,000 years of stories and discoveries about Mars at Singapore’s most comprehensive exhibition on the Red Planet

Docking at ArtScience Museum from 25 November, Mars: The Red Mirror will launch visitors on an out-of-this-world expedition through 12,000 years of culture, art, history, and science about Mars from ancient times to the present day. It is the most comprehensive historical and cultural exhibition on the Red Planet to land in Singapore, featuring over 300 objects, including significant historical artefacts, rare scientific manuscripts, films, contemporary works of art, and even an authentic Martian meteorite.


Having been a subject of fascination over millennia, Mars has captured humankind’s imagination like no other planet. Mars: The Red Mirror reflects the enduring connection humanity has to the Red Planet by bringing together narratives from pioneering scientists, modern day experts, filmmakers, writers, and contemporary artists who have been exploring Mars through time and across diverse cultures. The Asian premiere of this exhibition also turns its focus to Asia – from showing how Mars was depicted in ancient China, India, and Japan, to highlighting the work of pioneering Asian astronomers, and providing insight into the portrayal of Mars in Southeast Asian pop culture.

Journeying from ancient myth to what may become a very real future, Mars: The Red Mirror serves as an educational platform which will inspire both children and the young at heart, to explore space science and astronomy. It also examines humanity’s possible future relationship with Mars in the context of the current ecological crisis facing planet Earth, posing several crucial questions to visitors: Should humans consider settling on another planet even with the ecological problems on Earth? And is Mars being sought as an escape, or as a mirror that reflects the challenges that must be addressed on this planet...


First presented in Spain in 2021, Mars: The Red Mirror is curated by Juan Insua of the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB). The Asian premiere of this exhibition at ArtScience Museum turns its focus to Asia – from showing how Mars was depicted in ancient China, India, and Japan, to highlighting the work of pioneering Asian astronomers, and providing insight into the portrayal of Mars in Southeast Asian pop culture. The exhibition also shows how space agencies from across Asia are scientifically exploring Mars, including Singapore's own Space Faculty and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The emphasis on Asia provides amore inclusive and comprehensive narrative about humanity's relationship with Mars, underscoring the significant role that Asia has played – and continues to play – in this collective quest to understand the Red Planet.

Mars: The Red Mirror features three main colour-coded sections inspired by the Mars trilogy Unfolding across three main sections, the design and structure of the exhibition is inspired by the award-winning Mars trilogy – a series of science fiction novels by American writer Kim Stanley Robinson. Titled Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars, these novels feature in the exhibition and chronicle the settlement and terraforming of Mars, demonstrating how science fiction has shaped humankind’s Martian dreams and sowed fantasies about travelling to Mars.


Journeying from ancient myth to what may become a very real future, Mars: The Red Mirror examines humanity’s possible future relationship with Mars in the context of the current ecological crisis facing planet Earth. It poses several crucial questions to visitors: Should humans consider settling on another planet even with the ecological problems on Earth? And is Mars being sought as an escape, or as a mirror that reflects the challenges that must be addressed on this planet?

"This weekend at ArtScience Museum, we embark on an extraordinary journey across space and time, exploring the enigmatic allure of Mars. Of all the astronomical bodies in the night sky, Mars has held a special fascination for humanity through the ages. Mars: The Red Mirror shines a light on the Red Planet at a critical moment, where space agencies around the world are planning

missions to Mars. For the inauguration of Mars: the Red Mirror, we are welcoming to Singapore a senior official from the Japanese space agency, JAXA, an artist who has trained as an astronaut, the founder of the Indonesia Space Science Society and senior representatives of the museums we have collaborated with on the exhibition.


Their presence underscores the significance of an exhibition that not only explores our nearest planetary neighbour but also highlights the uniqueness and special qualities of our own planet. Mars: The Red Mirror also blends art and

science, offering a new perspective on both Mars and Earth. It invites visitors to contemplate our past, present, and future in the cosmos, at a time when the exploration of Mars is more relevant than ever,” said Honor Harger, Vice-President of ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.

“The Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) is very proud to collaborate with ArtScience Museum with the exhibition Mars: The Red Mirror, an invitation to delve into the powerful image of Mars. The show is a cultural journey to the Red Planet that begins with the ancient myth of the god of war and, since the 19th century, has been a rich seam for scientific observation, geopolitical struggle, and science fiction until it has become, today, a mirror of our wounded planet.


The exhibition is an adventure for the imagination and a new fruitful and beautiful exploration of the crossroads between the sciences and the humanities,” said Judit Carrera, Director of Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona. Mars: The Red Mirror takes an interdisciplinary approach to Mars, blending art, science, and history. It also serves as an educational platform which will inspire both children and the young atheart, to explore space science and astronomy. By including Asian astronomical history and contemporary art, the exhibition offers a unique perspective that resonates with diverse audiences, particularly in the Asian context.

Companion Public Programmes to Mars: The Red Mirror

Mars: The Red Mirror extends ArtScience Museum’s Season of Science Fiction with a comprehensive slate of educational activities including talks, tours, drop-in activities, a film season titled In Search of Tomorrow, and a symposium. Held on 25 November in tandem with the exhibition launch, Humanity Reimagined – Mars Opening Symposium invites visitors to delve deeper into how Mars has captured humanity’s collective imagination and what it represents. The programme also discusses the multiplanetary future of humans and how designing for Mars might offer new tools in tackling the climate emergency on Earth. Speakers include Dr Masaki Fujimoto, the Deputy Director General of theInstitute of Space and Astronautical Science at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, and exhibition participants, Juan Insua, Michael Najjar, Venzha Christ and Lynette Tan.


From 4 December, visitors aged 7 and above can also embark on a quest within the exhibition to discover the wonders of the Red Planet. By scanning a QR code at the entrance, visitors can kickstart their expedition to explore ancient sculptures and paintings as well as learn about notable figures, space missions and Mars itself through fun facts, games and quizzes.


Mars: The Red Mirror will run from 25 November 2023 to 7 April 2024. Tickets are available for purchase at all Marina Bay Sands box offices and online.


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