Candy – A Meditation on Gluttony

  • Illustrations of the ‘Pantheon on the Moon’ Proposal
    Nevdon Jamgochian (Thailand and USA)

    paintings, objects, c-prints

    Modern Art Museum, Yerevan
    August 1-7, 2014

Nevdon Jamgochian has been selected for the ‘Mars 2025 art on the moon’ project. For his show in Yerevan, he has chosen to illustrate his proposal with artistic conceptions of what it might look like. In brief, he would like to send a lunar rover to the moon installed with a 3-d printer. This printer will make sculptures of every animal that has gone extinct since the first moon landing. These sculptures will be updated in real time with every new animal that goes extinct. Hopefully this ‘Pantheon’ of statues of extinct animals on the moon will encourage humans- through shame- to stop behaving as gluttonous children in a candy shop.

Mars 2025 is a privately funded group of space enthusiasts and scientists that include equal part billionaires such as Elon Musk, Paul Allen, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos with seasoned aerospace veterans Dr. Alan Stern, Mike Griffin, Burt Rutan and Peter H. Diamandis. Their first return flight to the Moon is branded ‘scientific’ and their second flight to the moon considered ‘artistic’. In an attempt to bolster support for a manned mission to Mars, they are sending an artist to the Moon.

The technical specifications are inspired all by themselves.

From their artist call:

The two-person crew will consist of one NASA certified astronaut and one ‘artist’. If the selected ‘artist’ does not meet the physical and psychological requirements of the mission, an appropriate substitution may be made. The mission will last approximately (48) hours with (26) hours spent on the surface of the Moon. Two space walks will be performed totaling (4) hours outside of the craft. The ‘artist’ is allowed no more than (6) cubic feet of cargo weighing no more than (30) kilograms. Installation, performance, sculpture, dance and/or land art will be consider for selection. Select artist proposals will be judged by the Mars2025 board of directors and awarded based upon originality, inspiration and artistic merit.
Guest curator Geoffry Dietch and company rolled up their sleeves to task through the 10,851 submissions, narrowing down the selections to the most compelling (and accomplishable) proposals from 98 countries.

But in the end, the Mars2025 jury bypassed the A list artists, the (st)architects, and the comedians for the more serious and introspective proposal by artist/educator Nevdon Jamgochian.


A Proposal for a Pantheon on the Moon

‘What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place?’

The age of thinking machines has freed technological man from the judgment of God. While this is a boon, it is also a curse. We have learned to shed our shame from many hateful superstitions, but we need to relearn to be embarrassed about certain things. Foremost of the things we need to view as sinful is the destruction of our environment. What I propose is nothing less than the creation of an evolving pantheon to watch and condemn us and grow in proportion to the amount that we continue to destroy the diversity of life on earth. This pantheon will exist on the moon, which sits in eternal judgment of our actions.

My installation will consist of small Apollo style lunar rover, albeit in miniature, with a 3-D printer bolted on top. This rover will be connected to a remote control station located on the top floor of Walden Three. The Walden Three station will broadcast commands to the rover upon each new extinction of animal species on earth. The rover will first create a small mound and print out a sculpture of the murdered animal on top, measuring 5 centimeters high. A remote camera will broadcast the sculptures watching the earth until our murderous ways finish us off or are eliminated. Currently there are more than 2000 animals on the critically endangered species list, from the Western Lowland Gorilla to the Spix Macaw, needless to say this list is growing exponentially despite the turnover rate.

The 3-D printer and lunar rover are projected to weigh less than 15 kilograms and take up slightly more than one cubic meter of payload space. It will be outfitted with enough printing paste to print out roughly 75,000 statues (there are 59,508 species of animal life currently known). An emergency button located in the control station at Walden Three will start the rover on an autopilot printing mission for all of these species. The final act of this automatic mission will be a statue of a human, in case of our own extinction.

I intend to inaugurate the rover with a dedication ceremony on the moon. The ceremony will be held in the recently constructed posteriori language of Lingwa de planeta and hopefully broadcast in every country on earth. A small plaque will be placed on the rover that has the text of the Percy Shelley poem ‘Ozymandias’, also written in Lingwa. This well known English poem’s theme is on the impermanence of human achievements as opposed to the permanence of nature.

I am in excellent physical condition to carry out this project, having subjected myself to the exercise regime of Jørgen Peter Müller everyday since April 9th 2012. Furthermore, I am the descendant of two human species (Armenian and Jewish), who were the subject of the largest attempted human annihilation ever- thus I is something of a human variant of the animals once on critical endangered list.

I sincerely hope that the committee considers my proposal, as a primary value in the exploration of space is increasing our own self-awareness and understanding of the unique value of our own planet.

(Nevdon Jamgochian, January 2014)

Nevdon Jamgochian was born in San Francisco, CA in 1971. For the last ten years he has been teaching in India, Germany, and presently in Thailand. As well as teaching he works as an artist and as a writer. His current art has the answer to questions, which have eluded him in the last decade. Namely, how does one introduce narrative to painting- that is, how can one make a series of paintings as rich as a novel, how do we incorporate writing with painting and finally how do we address profound historical issues such as the Armenian genocide with art? He is pursuing these questions by creating a fictitious world and artist, through whom we may reassess what we think is true and what we really know.

The exhibition was organized by ACSL with kind support of the Modern Art Museum of Yerevan
The project ‘Pantheon on the moon’ has been funded by MARS 2025 and Walden 3 Seattle