SXSW 2015: A Space Program
Directed by Van Neistat A Space Program is a documentary recording Tom Sachs’ live show, “Space Program 2.0”, which premiered in New York’s Park Avenue Armory in 2012. In the film, Sachs, an artist renowned for his ability to recreate “engineering masterpieces” with everyday items, produces an ambitious show in which he creates a “mission to Mars” in search of life, complete with spacesuits and spaceships made out of a mix of materials including plywood and cardboard.
Van Neistat has a reputation for making subversive short films such as the now notorious iPod’s Dirty Secret, in which he and his brother stencil over Apple adverts in protest of their lack of a policy for replacing faulty batteries. Their rebellious, counter-cultural nature fits in well with Sachs’ work, which plays the joke of the absurdity of the fake Mars mission straight-faced. The show features such wonders as a landing of the spacecraft on an old Atari console, the use of an old boom box to introduce Mars’ possible life to Earth culture, and the dispersal of opium poppy seeds on the new planet (because narcotics can help with future funding of space programs) via poppy-seed bagels. The sheer level of imagination and inventiveness is impressive, especially when combined with Sachs’ dark sense of humour. For those who missed out on the live show, it’s worth a watch.