What a couple of weeks!
Things and thoughts:
On of the things that has stuck with me ever since beginning research in to sci-fi and the idea of terraforming, let alone in reality, was the importance of bees. Bees pollenate flowers so that plants can reproduce, and without them the diversity of plant life or its ability to reproduce and support human life is massive diminished. Movies such as IO and the Netflix series Nightflyers feature bees prominently, so it’s not a new idea.
Further into my research on bees I found that it is occasionally the case that if you try and move a colony, then the colony can ultimately die. I think there are many parallels that can be drawn between the human and bee colonies, that in some way suggest a pessimism or optimism for the future of our species on a foreign planet.
The Derbyshire Record Office archive is a place I have been trying to get to for what seems like ages! I had loose plans at the end of 2019, albeit requiring me to be more decisive about which parts of the collection I wanted to see, and then COVID-19 came along and shut down my hopes for months… My area of interest in the archive is the Rolls-Royce rocket development department in the 1950’s – 1970’s. Arguably playing a large part in the origin of space exploration, the Rolls-Royce rocket department were developing the RZ.2 rocket for the Blue Streak IRBM missile programme. After realising that the missile system was too expensive and too vulnerable to pre-emptive strikes, the rocket was redeveloped as the first stage of of a civilian satellite launcher called Black Prince.
Whether or not this story is true is some what irrelevant, but equally completely relevant to what I am interested in. All of this, to any body who was not there, is here say. There may be ‘evidence’, videos and photographs, but how do we know that they really depict what they are depicting?
As the archive images are under copyright until 2039 I have had to re-work the images several times through several digital and analogue layers, and will be developing this further as I go on.
As well as thinking about the bees I have been thinking a fair bit about birds. Artemis, Goddess of the Moon (the namesake of NASA’s next mission there), is also Goddess of the hunt. This makes me follow the rabbit hole of ideas and give me mental images of hunting trophies and exotic wildlife displays in glass boxes at large manor houses such as Wollaton Hall and Chatsworth House. What do they symbolise? Success and achievement? Dominance, power over another species?
This also got me thinking about how a photograph of one of these birds would be received – would the bird in the photograph appear alive, or as a taxidermy? The interesting aspect that I would like to further explore with this is whether people would see an alive or dead bird, or would so a photograph as referential to the past existence of the bird with no answer as to whether it was alive or dead?
I think i’ll it there on this one… It got a little philosophical towards the end! Hopefully I can continue developing these ideas very soon!