The Tower The Expo The Echo The Cell
Ralo Mayer
2018 - ongoing
Artist Statement
In fall 2018, I went to Japan to look for a tower that had inspired an ecological spaceship. The spaceship conserves Earth’s last trees in some dystopian future. The tower had been built for EXPO’70 in Osaka. The tower was one of the most radical examples of Japanese architectural movement Metabolism, and the spaceship was built as an elaborate model for the 1972 eco-SciFi movie Silent Running. The spaceship in the film can still be watched; but the tower was demolished in 2005. This I only found out days before I started my trip to Japan. I kept looking for the vanished tower, and so I found other things – an outline on a deserted site in Osaka, a wondrous device named Space Echo, a grieving tower devotee, some remains in the yard the of the architect’s widow, a new take on recycling cells in a planned lunar mining colony, and the ambivalence of the term "un-earthing". Outlines of a plot.
I started my project as an investigation of past futures: Metabolist architecture as Japanese post-war design for great and exciting futures, the eco-spaceship in Silent Running as an early arena for possible new meshes of nature and technology in post-human futures beyond Earth. Through my idiotic misreading of Japanese information online I only realized that the tower was gone before I started my art residency. As I tried to make sense of my research object having vanished (as so many lost futures), I began investigating other scenarios of exchange between Japan and the West, and, by total serendipity, stumbled into present Japanese ideas for future space colonization. In a nutshell, this project is about objects moving between places, spaces and times, their stories, translations and plots. This work is ongoing – I mostly work for several years on projects – through various performances and installation settings. It will probably lead to an essay film & visual essay in an exhibition setting.
Artist Bio
Ralo Mayer is an artist, filmmaker and researcher exploring fields like ecology, science fiction, or space exploration through cross-media storytelling. His artistic practice is based on performative research, a processual approach of knowledge production that employs dramatic means like scripts, roles and props. In the framework of his artistic research PhD “Space Un·Settlements”, Mayer investigates the interrelations of experiments & designs for future life in space and rather earthly realities here, on our planet, as well as the form of the essay in various media. Mayer’s work has been presented and published at international exhibitions, film festivals and conferences and received several awards.