The Myth of the Martians
In 1827, in Milan, the myth of the Martians was born. Giovanni Schiaparelli, director of the observatory of Milan, is interested in the planet Mars. After observing various works, including maps made by astronomers, he realized that they did not correspond to his vision of the planet. He then decided to create his own cartography. He used the term "canali" to represent the natural channels he observes. A few years later, the work was taken up and translated into English. But it was without counting on a translation error ... Indeed, Percival Lowell translated this term by "canal » which did not have the same meaning in English as in italian where it was endowed with supernatural connotations. The myth was then created and relayed by many artists and a culture was born.
It is on this true story that this artwork by 6 students was based.
They created a true cosmic and celestial atmosphere by creating a "confined" place with sheets and tarpaulins hoisted in the corner of a classroom. This exhibition is immersed in a Martian sound atmosphere thanks to the music of the X-files series, and visual display of a star projector and a telescope.
The total artwork, inspired by the Bahaus movement, was composed of several "workshops".
The first consists of a medium representing the solar system at the center of which featured the planet Mars. It is represented with, on one side the natural channels and on the other, supernatural channels, i.e. the Martians. This medium was built with several materials: cardboard, paint, glitter, and a garland of light. The solar system was built with polystyrene balls.
The second representation focused on the Martian culture. On the left side of the confined area, film posters and recent newspaper articles were displayed to show that there is still today a real culture around this myth.
The third display a play. This play, performed by the students, traces the entire history of the myth of the Martians from its creation to the mass culture that this myth represents today. The students put themselves in the shoes of a narrator, Giovanni Schiaparelli, a historian, a journalist, a cultural affairs director expert in Martian art and a communication specialist. The intervention of all these characters allows the visitors to understand the real stakes at the heart of the creation of the myth and to learn about several anecdotes related to it!
The objective for this group of students was to plunge their classmates into the heart of another world to better understand the myth of life on Mars.
The students carefully planned the trajectory of the visit of their exhibition that enabled the visitors to experience the birth of this true culture. When visitors appear at their booth, the students engaged with them by asking a simple question: "Do you know the story of the birth of the myth of the Martians". Through this interaction, visitors are led through the different displays described above, which allow each visitor to be immersed in the atmosphere created by this myth and the way it was disseminated. The exhibit is very creative and playful, as it unfolds in such a way that there is interaction with the audience so that they can immerse themselves in this supernatural world and learn more.
Finally, this exhibition made the students realize the importance of a good translation. By mobilizing Shannon's theory, we understand that communication has been linear and that it is not adapted to this situation! The importance of feedback is even more present! Through Wiener's theory, we can see the importance of a communication loop, it would have prevented a translation error. With good feedback this myth would never have seen the light of day!