Zoe Kirkwood’s work plays with ideas of the renewed space race that has seen a technocratic and capitalist elite vie for a foothold in the outer realms. This new ‘race to escape’ contrasts with the majority of the world that is now confined to our homes and immediate surrounds - In 2020 Buckminster Fuller’s ‘spaceship earth’ becomes ‘spaceship home’ with a series of sculptural elements that form a kind of home décor with which to investigate these ideas.
Culminating in a series of furniture prototypes for off-planet living, Zoe’s work offers a playful response to the idea that only the rich will be able to escape whilst the rest of us are left here to deal with problems including climate emergency and social and economic inequality from unfettered capitalism. The series of formal dining chairs and a deconstructed chandelier are two wholly unnecessary items when considering the set-up of a viable off-planet living environment. The extravagance and superfluous nature of these objects touches on the fact that it is this kind of absurd excess which has played a part in creating a situation where the technocratic and wealthy elite can escape to a different planet. The names of the chairs, Elon, Larry and Richard, elude to the SPACE Act 2015 that legislated the right of private companies to make profits in space.
*The formal dining chairs take their shapes from a series of aerothermodynamic (thermal/weight) studies of an earth atmosphere re-entry vehicle. The chandelier takes its structure from an 1854 image of an early coin mint (from Andrew Ure's Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines Volume I). The changing lighting states are designed to reflect studies into Martian light which is very different to here on earth.