Juno Scale Model 1:1 | 2019 | EPS foam | 450 x 500 x 450 cm
The following text is about my own thoughts about my work "Juno Scale Model 1:1"
Disclaimer: I am not a writer, but I will do my best to make a summary of my thoughts.
I have been following the real Juno spacecraft form the very beginning. As I do with a lot of science experiments. I watched Juno"s construction, I watched its launch in 2011 live via internet, and I still watch it now as it is sending back the most amazing pictures and data.
To me scientific endeavours such as Juno are the most valuable things we can do as humanity in this incomprehensible universe we live in. Because in the end, nothing matters. In the short amount of time I have, I would like to know (as much as possible) what this universe is. That is why Juno is important, it gathers knowledge. I wanted to get to know Juno and pay a tribute, so I was building a 1:50 scale model for my bookcase when DordtYart approached me for an exhibition and residency with the theme Appear / Disappear. This scale model of Juno was not meant to be an art project, but it became one then.
Appear / Disappear. A spacecraft like Juno is constructed in a Ôclean roomÕ at NASA, its instruments are sensitive and NASA does not want any failures to happen to this sensitive 1.3 billion dollar machine so access to the process is restricted. When construction is complete, rigorous testing begins to prepare for launch. At this point people have been working on the spacecraft for decades, final goodbyes are being said before the spacecraft gets loaded onto a 60 meter tall missile, never to be seen again. Juno wonÕt return, it will burn up in Jupiter's atmosphere and its 10 year mission will be complete.
The data Juno generates is invaluable, humanity will be working with this data for many many years to come, figuring out all kinds of facts about jupiter, the solar system and beyond. Some mysteries about the planet and the solar system will disappear.
The interesting thing about scientific equipment and experiments is that they are not designed to be aesthetic, the shape is determined by the function. Therefore, whilst making a model of something, you automatically encounter the function of its parts. Sometimes though, this function is too complex for me to understand. This is also a theme I often apply in my work, this lack of knowledge leads to objects and shapes to be somewhat abstract. I like the idea that abstraction can become less due to educating yourself. Juno and its discoveries are a prime example of this process
Modelmaking is a thing I do to get to know objects I admire. There is no better way to know an object than to make it yourself. It creates a deeper connection with the object and a personal relation to it. But because of space limitations, most objects need to be built on a smaller scale than the original. This forces you to make choices and to not be as exact as you may want to be. The scale also causes a problem when you try to relate yourself to its original size, you can put a scale model of a person next to the object and use your imagination, but the best thing to really relate to the original, is to make it full-scale.
Also modelmaking is often done by people in their free-time, or to pass time. Like solving a puzzle, it is fun but an utterly useless thing to do. I feel this also resonates with my existential feelings about life and the universe.
Space, time and scale
Because "Juno Scale Model 1:1" is a model of the Juno spacecraft, and because it is a 1:1 model, I am immediately confronted by space, time and scale. I am confronted by the fact that I myself am 1:1, I am in space, I am in a moment of time, I am on a planet called earth. The real Juno this model represents is flying around Jupiter, a huge gas giant approximately 658 000 000 kilometers in the direction of the bright distant light I see in the night sky when jupiter is at its closest to earth. (June 10th, 2019, during its exhibition). Scale is a difficult subject to grasp because it is so relative.
In history, most artistic objects were about gods, admired people, mysteries and fantasy stories that were seen as important. The names Juno and Jupiter also originate from these times. Until recently we knew very little about how the universe really was, The stars and especially the planets were seen as signs from the gods. Today it seems most people take for granted how much we have discovered and in what fascinating time we live. Objects like the Juno spacecraft should be world-famous and admired.
The object is not weather proof, but can be adjusted or coated to be weather proof. I would love to someday make a version that is both weather and vandal proof for placement outside. The current version is suitable for making molds and castings.
Many many thanks to DordtYart and Mondriaan Fund for their trust and for helping me realise this work!