Space travel meets art in reflective exhibition

Installation view of Life Support Systems

Installation view of Life Support Systems, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei

Inspired by the iconic images of Earth reflected in astronauts’ visors in the 1960s, a new installation uses NASA’s lens technology to focus on the Earth’s environmental challenges.

Jasmine Targett’s series 'Life Support Systems', is the headline work at Wonderland: New Contemporary Art from Australia, the first multi-art form exhibition of Australian art in Taiwan. 

Currently completing her PhD in Fine Arts at Monash University, Ms Targett’s work uses art to illuminate environmental issues.

In 'Life Support Systems', Ms Targett uses dichroic glass, invented by NASA to protect astronauts from ultraviolet rays in the same way that the ozone layer protects Earth.

The three works chart the history of monitoring the Earth's atmosphere, showing views of the world after the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer and culminating in an apocalyptic future vision.

Ms Targett said dichroic glass, which reflects light in different colours depending on the viewer’s perspective, was invented during the space race, when the public was given a new perspective on the world. 

“I found it compelling that the satellites NASA used in the 1960s also revealed the largest observed hole in the ozone, decades later. I began thinking of a satellite as a mirror with a memory that stored and reflects back information about the world," Ms Targett said.

"I worked with dichroic glass because it provided a strong visual link to the past, appearing in widely-known space race photographs. These images embody a moment in time when humanity collectively explored how existence was tethered to our environment and what implications this had for the future.”

Ms Targett feels that understanding environment challenges can be overwhelming.

“When researching 'Life Support Systems' I kept wondering how we can begin to make sense of a threat that evades sensory perception. I want to emphasise how contemporary attitudes to issues like climate change will affect the future." 

Ms Targett, who will complete her PhD in late 2013, has exhibited at several galleries in Australia, including Craft Victoria, McClelland Gallery, Canberra Glass Works, Cairns Regional Gallery and the Australian National Gallery – Glass.

WONDERLAND: New Contemporary Art from Australia is showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei until 15 April, 2012. For more information, see Ms Targett's website.