A fusion of multimedia artistic expression is set to embark on a cosmic journey, becoming an everlasting fixture through a series of unmanned spacecraft that will gently touch down and settle upon the lunar landscape.
This groundbreaking initiative, known as the Lunar Codex, encompasses an array of contemporary creativity encompassing art, verse, literary periodicals, harmonies, cinematic endeavours, podcasts, and literary works. Within its digital realm, it houses the contributions of a staggering 30,000 creators, spanning artists, wordsmiths, musicians, and cinematic auteurs from an impressive tally of 157 nations. The inspiration for this project originated from the ingenious mind of Samuel Peralta, a Canadian physicist and wordsmith who now enjoys a partially retired phase of his illustrious career.
Holding the position of executive chairman at the helm of the Toronto-based enterprise, Incandescent, Peralta has embarked on a mission of engagement with the creative minds behind these artistic undertakings. He has diligently sought permissions and collaborations to encompass these pieces, fostering an environment where they can seamlessly meld into the codex. Furthermore, submissions from individual artists have also been welcomed into the collection, under the stipulation that their creations have garnered a spot in exhibitions, catalogues, or anthologies.
The Lunar Codex, divided into four chronologically ordered capsules, houses its contents in the form of meticulously transferred digital information onto memory cards.
These lightweight analogue storage modules boast the capacity to hold an astounding 150,000 microscopically etched pages of text or imagery on a single 8 1/2 by 11-inch sheet.
In an interview, Peralta remarked, “This marks the most expansive and globally-reaching endeavour to propel cultural creations into the cosmos. Such an entity is unparalleled in its existence.”
Strikingly reminiscent of NASA’s iconic Golden Record, a repository of audio and visual snippets encased within a metallic disc, dispatched aboard the Voyager probes in 1977, this venture unfurls new dimensions in the world of space-bound creative assemblies.
It’s important to note that similar pursuits in the past encompassed “The Moon Museum,” a petite ceramic tile embellished with line drawings by illustrious artists including Forrest Myers, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, and John Chamberlain. Back in 1969, it marked the maiden artistic voyage to the lunar surface, adorning the Apollo 12 spacecraft. Fast forward to 1971, and a metallic sculpture conceived by Belgian artist Paul van Hoeydonck was left behind as an emblem of the Apollo 15 mission.
More contemporarily, modern-day visionaries like Jeff Koons, Sacha Jafri, and Xu Bing have each endeavoured to propel their artistic creations into the cosmos, albeit met with varying degrees of success.
In contrast to the historical Apollo initiatives, the Lunar Codex boldly incorporates a substantial collection of women’s contributions.
Some of the prominent gems within this compendium include linocut masterpieces by Ukrainian printmaker Olesya Dzhurayeva, who relocated from Kyiv in April 2022; the captivating canvas “New American Gothic” (2020) by Ayana Ross, laureate of the 2021 Bennett Prize; the thought-provoking serigraph “New Moon” (1980) by Alex Colville; and an archive hailing from “The Poet and the Poem,” a radio show-cum-podcast that features episodes with esteemed poets laureate such as Rita Dove and Louise Glück.
One iteration of the codex already embarked on a lunar sojourn last year, as part of NASA’s Orion mission. As autumn arrives, an additional series of capsules are poised for launch under the auspices of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.