I gave a talk at the Barbican on Saturday night, as part of the programme for the Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art exhibition. I was on a panel to explore the boundaries between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy. The other speaker was the poet Maurice Riordan and it was chaired by Sian Ede, Arts Director, Gulbenkian Foundation. I showed Jem Finer and Ansuman Biswas’ Zero Genie, from 2001, and Simon Faithfull’s Escape Vehicle No. 6 from 2004. The audience was a real mix, from families with pre-teen kids to academics, so a very enjoyable conversation that ranged from solar sails to Second Life.
The Martian Museum itself is an accessible concept from which to explore contemporary art. Its starting point is that some people find contemporary art as incomprehensible as extraterrestrial communication. With this irreverent device, the exhibition playfully juxtaposes more than 100 works by artists including Bruce Nauman, Joseph Beuys, Thomas Hirschorn, Mona Hatoum, Damien Hirst, Joseph Beuys, Maurizio Cattelan, Jenny Holzer and Susan Hiller.