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Making up Mars on 11 May 2017 was about the interplay between cultural, scientific and technical ideas related to living on Mars. Agata Kołodziejczyk (European Space Agency, ESA), artist Ivan Henriques and Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Het Nieuwe Instituut) gave lectures on their perspective on the Red Planet. Moderator was Aldje van Meer (Willem de Kooning Academy).

Read a summary of the lecture on Mars Gardening by Klaas Kuitenbrouwer.

Since the 19th century, scientists, filmmakers and science-fiction authors have speculated about living on Mars. Under the influence of technological developments and capital injections from Silicon Valley new life has been blown into the possibilities Mars may offer. Furthermore, some fictional scenarios seem to be becoming reality. Or maybe not? This edition of Thursday Night Live! reviewed possible or less probable scenarios for life on Mars. Discussions revolved around the different value systems and terrestrial frames of reference from which they come, and the potential of speculative design research to reflect this. Klaas Kuitenbrouwer opened with a historical overview of Mars from a cultural perspective. Agata Kołodziejczyk (ESA) examined ESA’s Moon analogue mission and artist Ivan Henriques explained his Mars Mariana project.

Agata Kołodziejczyk

Agata Kołodziejczyk is a research fellow in the Advanced Concepts Team at the European Space Agency (ESA). It seems probable that in the future humans will live in more hostile environments, as a result of increased desertification on Earth or following the establishment of habitat settlements in space. To prepare for these contexts, ESA is looking into developing a Moon analogue mission facility to test future technologies, designs and services for living in space.

Ivan Henriques

Ivan Henriques is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher working on multimedia installations that examine living systems. He explores hybrids of nature and (technological) culture to create new forms of communication between humans and other living organisms. He coordinates the Hybrid Forms Lab at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and was recently invited for the Overseas Creators Program in Japan. His most recent project ‘Mars Mariana, 2016’ took place within the framework of the ongoing research of Symbiotic Machines for Space Exploration (SyMSE, 2016–2018).

Klaas Kuitenbrouwer

Klaas Kuitenbrouwer is an expert in digital culture at Het Nieuwe Instituut and as such focuses on relations between mediation, technology and culture. He is currently working on the Gardening Mars research that will be presented in Het Nieuwe Instituut in 2018. This Thursday Night is part of the research Symbiotic Machines for Space Exploration (SyMSE) by the Willem de Kooning Academy; VU University (VU), Amsterdam; Cefet/RJ and the European Space Agency (ESA). ‘Gardening Mars’ is an initiative of Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Listen to Ecology in the Garden of Machines, a lecture by Angelo Vermeulen, artist, biologist and captain of NASA’s Mars simulation mission.

Watch an interview with Jorge Vago (project scientist of the Exo Mars project).


19:30 – 21:00
also this evening

Pop-in expo: King of the Moon, exploring space

17:00 - 18:30 Book launch NAi Booksellers: Licht Verdicht

18:00 - 19:30 Wageningen University Alumi: Duurzaam bouwen

18:30 - 19:30 Thursday Bite dinner guests: Wieger Wamelink and Angelo Vermeulen

19:30 - 22:00 Iconic Houses Lecture 2017 by Tal Eyal: The Weizmann House and Erich Mendelsohn


Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam

Thursday Night at Het Nieuwe Instituut
Luca Napoli

Thursday Night Live! is a weekly programme of lectures, screenings and discussions on architecture, design and digital culture. Developments and critical insights are discussed by thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad.