Lost (a tribute to the Polar Lander) is a sculptural installation that pays homage to the Polar Lander, a small rover vehicle that was sent to Mars in 1999 as a follow-up to the successful Pathfinder rover. Unfortunately, the Polar Lander was believed to have crashed inside of a crater during its attempt to land on Mars. (NASA has never officially confirmed this fate.) It is however possible that the Pathfinder is still partially functional on Mars today, experiencing strange and wondrous sites on its own, incapable of broadcasting these visions down to Earth.
The gray shape atop of the sculpture Lost is reminiscent of a Martian crater. When viewers look inside of this crater form they see a pool of magnetic fluid (called ferrofluid) from which spiky sea urchin-like forms slowly emerge and then dissipate. A tiny rover topped with a wireless camera sits on the edge of this crater watching these alien and threatening forms evolve. The live video stream from the wireless camera is displayed on a flat screen monitor next to the piece. A complex system of cams underneath the pool of black liquid move magnets up and down to “activate” the magnetic ferrofluid in the reservoir and create the strange spiky forms. The technical aspects and mechanisms of the piece remain hidden behind a velvet curtain and are secondary to the magical space above.
Dimensions: 48”L x 32” w x 42” h
Materials: Custom kinetic mechanics, steel, rubber, wireless video, ferrofluid