Designers create Martian flags for Space10 exhibition
Seven designers have created flags for the Martian Flag Assembly exhibition at the headquarters of IKEA's innovation lab Space10, in Copenhagen.
For the exhibition, which is on show between 15 and 22 June 2018, curators Bas van de Poel and Marc Vermeeren asked the designers, "what would the Martian flag actually look like?"
A reference to the Lunar Flag Assembly in 1969, where six national flags were mounted on the Moon during the Apollo mission, the exhibition features flags designed by Bráulio Amado, Timo Lenzen, Jena Myung, Hassan Rahim, Johanna Burai, Golgotha and Builders Club.
Vermeeren and Van de Poel, who run creative agency Matter, decided to embark on the project after seeing entrepreneur Elon Musk talk at the International Astronautical Congress last year.
"During his talk, Musk announced that his company SpaceX will send humans to Mars in 2024," they said.
"Will the flag represent Mars as a planet? Will it represent a nation? Will it represent a corporation, conveying a branded gesture of achievement? Or will this flag unite all nations on Earth, conveying a message of hope and peace?" they asked.
Among the designs is Stockholm-based artist Burai whose flag features a geometric layout with a series of circles and words including capitalism, trauma, oppression and racism.
The design is meant to raise ethical concerns regarding the colonisation of Mars. "After all, we cannot neglect how much damage human colonisation did to the Earth's ecosystem," said the curators.
A pragmatic design, by London-based design studio Builder's Club, consists of six panels made from a smart material that absorbs light during the day and illuminates the Red Planet by night.
The flag by German designer Timo Lenzen features two hands nearly touching – a reference to Michelangelo's painting The Creation of Adam, where God and Adam's hands are reaching to one another.
"The Mars colony will forget about powerful rulers and gods, they will erase all those iconic religious figures," explained Lenzen. "What's left is just a gesture, a disembodied glove which can be worn by anyone."
Elsewhere, the colour red is used in both Golgotha and Myung's flags and is suggestive of Mars' nickname, the Red Planet.
New York-based designer Rahim poses an alternative world with his flag for Mars, where the fictitious Vision Man Recording Group has become the "galaxy's first rulers of a black planet".
Finally, Portuguese designer Amado's flag features an "evolution" of the peace symbol, which was originally created in 1958 by British artist Gerald Holtom as part of the campaign for nuclear disarmament.
As well as displaying the flag designs, the exhibition is accompanied by an installation of red lasers, a fog machine and a backdrop of 120 beats-per-minute ambient techno music.
As plans for Mars habitation are slowly becoming a reality, more designers are creating products suited for life on the Red Planet.
French designer Clément Balavoine has designed flight suits that can be precisely tailored to support the musculoskeletal system of SpaceX travellers, while Ma Yansong, founder of MAD Architects, has designed a sci-fi-inspired furniture collection suited for life on Mars.