Photons of Mars

Photons of Mars

3 channel film installation, 2019

Photons of Mars is a multi-screen meditative installation with sculptural elements about micro and macro interconnections through image optics.

The installation is a 17 min version of the documentary The Other Side of Mars, however it is a completely independent piece. The main focus of the installation is on spatial representation and people’s movements without dialogue or voice-over. A model of the existing Martian rock, ”Jake Matijevic” in a glass vitrine opposes the projection screens. The installation is arranged in a way that invites viewers to just be present in these places, rather than steering the attention to a specific narrative.

Filmed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, facilities on Earth dedicated to interplanetary research, the piece reveals the daily work of a Mars rover driver. For those who work in this position, the visual material collected from Martian landscapes with time becomes more than just the sum of the data derived from the photons hitting the Mars rover’s camera sensors. Although no apparent activity takes place on these serene dunes the intimate every day observation of this far away place allows for its deeper understanding. Is it only due to images charged with certain cultural implications that such comprehension of previously unknown worlds becomes possible? As we follow the routine and change of locations from Earth to Mars and back we can not help but feeling that connection. The familiar and alien affect each other, and appear as one space that possesses different qualities and layers as if hinting on the very mystery of collective or personal knowing, the mystery of creating a recognisable description of something one gets in contact with.

Exhibitions and Collections

The Photons of Mars film installation is shown as part of the Waag Society‘s More-Than-Planet exhibition curated by Miha Turšič. Taking place in the world’s oldest university observatory in Leiden the exhibition opened on July 1st , and closes December 23rd 2022.

Photons of Mars was featured in the group exhibition A I S T I T / coming to our senses curated by Satu Herrala and Hans Rosenström at Helsinki Kunsthalle, fall 2021. In November 2021 it was exhibited at CYFEST-13 at the Stieglitz State Academy in St Petersburg, as part of the program MARS: Facts and Fiction curated by Nina Czegledy and Lydia Griaznova.

In 2019, the installation was shown as part of the group exhibition Supre:Organism at Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen in the Netherlands, by the Waag Society. The curator of the exhibition was Miha Turšič.

The installation was included in the collection of Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, spring 2019.


Script, editing and video composition: Minna Långström
Producer: Liisa Karpo
Camera: päivi Kettunen
Second unit camera: Minna Långström
Music: Mira Calix
Sound design: Pelle Venetjoki
3D-animation: Nuutti Koskinen and David Berg