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Artists Create Their Own Earth-Based Embassy To The Moon

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If there's one thing artists like Leonid Tishkov and Agnes Meyer Brandis have taught us, it's that the art community reserves a special place in its heart for the Moon. That natural satellite still locked in Earth's gravitational pull has served as the subject of more art projects than you'd expect, enchanting the Russian photographer who travels the world with his own "Private Moon," the German installation master who's training geese to fly to their original orbiting home and many more.

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Leonid Tishkov, Private Moon in Formosa, presented by The Arts Catalyst in Republic of the Moon, London 2014

In fact, a new exhibit curated by the Arts Catalyst is proving that the United Nations, China and Google aren't the only competitors with horses in the contemporary race to the Moon. Titled "Republic of Moon," the collection of DIY space plans, fictional expeditions and physical lore meant to conjure new ideas about our favorite rotating rock, showcases a group of artists aiming to set up their own Earth-based embassy to the Moon.

"The artists in 'Republic of the Moon' regard the Moon not as a resource to be exploited but as a heavenly body that belongs to us all," Arts Catalyst writes on its site. "The exhibition asks: Who will be the first colonizers of the Moon? Perhaps it should be the artists."

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Agnes Meyer-Brandis: Moon Goose Colony, Pollinaria, 2011

Artists on board include Liliane Lijn, Leonid Tishkov, Katie Paterson, Agnes Meyer Brandis, and WE COLONISED THE MOON, all of whom have helped transform London's Bargehouse into a center for debating, exploring and mythologizing the Moon. Along with their artworks, performances, workshops, music, lectures, a pop-up moon shop and some lighthearted protests against "lunar exploitation," the exhibition involves a manifesto deeming the Moon to be an autonomous region.

The manifesto draws inspiration from Tony White’s short story, “Occupy the Moon!”, about an imaginary universe in which an occupied moon plays host to a dystopian future amongst the craters. It reads, in part:

'Is the moon inhabited?' they used to ask. It is now! FIRST by our oppressors, whose so-called 'achievements' in selling land on celestial bodies be damned. They shall not steal or kill as if the Moon were made peculiarly for them. It cannot be imagined that science's 'obstinate quest' would have completely diminished poverty, but no one with the least knowledge in philosophy should be ignorant of oppression, nor that nothing can be perceived by human understanding without enquiry...

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WE COLONISED THE MOON, Enter At Own Risk, presented by The Arts Catalyst in Republic of the Moon, FACT Liverpool 2011

Tishkov, Meyer Brandis and company toy with the possibilities of a future Moon encounter, whether that will include reclaiming the birthplace of galactic birds, finding a way to leap frog to Mars or devising methods to capture the Moon for oneself, all from the safety of planet Earth. Scroll through a preview of the sci-fi exhibition here and let us know your thoughts on the embassy in the comments.

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WE COLONISED THE MOON, Enter At Own Risk, presented by The Arts Catalyst in Republic of the Moon, FACT Liverpool 2011

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WE COLONISED THE MOON, Live Moon Smelling by artists in residence in Republic of the Moon, London 2014

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Liliane Lijn, moonmeme, presented by The Arts Catalyst in Republic of the Moon, London 2014

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Leonid Tishkov, Private Moon 2009, presented by The Arts Catalyst in Republic of the Moon, London 2014

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Leonid Tishkov, Private Moon Moscow studio of the artist, presented by The Arts Catalyst in Republic of the Moon, London 2014

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Moon Vehicle, Joanna Griffin photograph from the project in India

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Agnes Meyer-Brandis: Moon Goose Colony, Pollinaria, 2011

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Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Moon Goose Analogue, presented by The Arts Catalyst in Republic of the Moon, London 2014

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Moon Vehicle, Joanna Griffin illustrations from the project in India

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Title page from first edition of The Man in the Moone, by Francis Godwin, 1638

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Katie Paterson, Earth-Moon-Earth, presented by The Arts Catalyst in Republic of the Moon, London 2014

"Republic of Moon" will be on view from January 10 to February 2, 2014 at Bargehouse in London.

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Leonid Tishkov's "Private Moon"
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