- Year: 2016
- Location: Seattle, WA
- With: Zach Corse
- Curated By: Greg Lundgren
- Special Thanks: Dan Allison (fabrication), Isabel Blue & Peter Richards (installation)
- With Support From: OpenLab Art & Science Research Center
Flag Field is an installation of 196 flags on the surface of the moon, forming a complete 14-row square grid—one flag for each country officially recognized by the United Nations at the time of this writing. The fact that this number is disputable and liable to change is rendered irrelevant by the inevitable fading of each nylon flag’s distinctive markings by ultraviolet light exposure over the course of the next few decades, as occurred with the first American flag and the five flags installed during subsequent NASA missions. The flags will slowly become indistinguishable from each other, turning a uniform white, the international symbol of ceasefire and peace. Flag Field will endure as a gesture of hope that by the time this bleaching takes full effect, the countries represented by the original flags will have resolved their differences enough to have cooperated on meaningful action to address the issues threatening our planet today.
By including every nation of Earth rather than a singular flag or other memorial representing all nations, the piece becomes an assertion of the value of unity in heterogeneity, in the plurality of differences that bring separate human communities together to stand for a common cause. A visual representation of the common heritage of celestial bodies, Flag Field also serves as a gentle corrective to previous flag installations which, despite the universalist rhetoric attached to them, emerged from a specific national agenda with military connections. The field itself will stand as a snapshot of the current era to future astronauts and the societies they come from, memorializing the promise of the current historical moment and offering a silently abiding benchmark against which to measure future developments on Earth. Though superficial differences between the flags may be erased, they will remain separate, distinct from each other in spacial orientation, now signaling their commonality rather than their uniqueness. Taking into account the history of flags in colonial enterprises, these flags, which in the beginning appeared to be signaling conflicting territorial claims, will be slowly revealed to be staking claims on the same shared resource.
Laid out in a grid of 14 x 14 squares with 4 feet between each 4.5-ft high flag (with an additional 1 foot underground), the flags will cover an area totaling 2704 square feet, 52 feet on each side (This model represents approximately one quarter of the full area of the installation.) Precise placement will be aided by a simple laser template system and pole-mounted low-gravity spirit level. Thorough research into documentation of similar lunar flagpole installations indicates that the upper two feet of lunar regolith can be dug or penetrated easily across the vast majority of the Moon’s surface. Our materials are designed to fit within the specified payload and be easily installed within the allotted time by two persons wearing restrictive spacesuits, following our simple system and using a common hammer or mallet, and pre-cut jigs and flanges on poles to make installation fast and intuitive.
Cargo: 196 aluminum poles and nylon flags, installation tools
Cargo Weight: 60 kg