"In the continuation of my series on the space adventure "Space Utopia" I went to Iceland in August 2021 to photograph the Iceland Moon Mars Simulation expedition. It is a collaboration between the Icelandic Space Agency and Professor Michael Lye with the participation of NASA/Johnson Space Center whose goal is to test a new spacesuit of the Artemis generation: the MS2. The sites for the Iceland Moon Mars Simulation Expedition were selected for their resemblance to an environment similar to that which would be found on the Martian surface and which could serve as landing, research and habitation sites for future planned missions to the Moon and Mars. These sites include lava tunnels, glaciers, glacial debris fields, basal- tic black sands, volcanic craters, and remote areas containing buried ice. Research will determine how astronauts can train to identify signs of Mar- tian life using geothermal energy and explore how frozen water sources in the polar regions of the Moon and Mars can be reused as fuel for rockets and for long-term human habitation.
Iceland has played an important role in the history of space exploration. In the 1960s, NASA sent the Apollo astronauts to northern Iceland to train for their missions to the Moon."
– Vincent Fournier
“My work is freely inspired by the dream and mystery side that the scientific and technological utopias echoes in the collective imagination. With the Space Project I have voluntarily mixed a historic and documentary vision of the spatial adventure with staged situations fed by the cinema and my childhood memories. Thus, these mythical places of the space exploration become film sets where Jacques Tati would meet with Jules verne or Stanley Kubrick. This body of work take at present a new resonance with the development of a new space exploration but this time by the private sector of the aerospace and robotics industry.”
“Space exploration is humanity’s great adventure, a leap into the unknown towards a dark light beyond Earth’s protective atmosphere and the gravity that keeps us there. Space represents the universal desire not only to contemplate the sky, but also to project oneself into it. Desire, from the Latin work ‘desiderare’, means regret and ‘nostalgia for a lost star’. But how can one desire something unknown? Could it be that – stardust that we are – we are reminded of a primeval time when we floated in space? Might men not be gods fallen from the sky, unconscious of the fact, but nevertheless nostalgic for the star they have lost?”
“My aesthetic, philosophical, and recreational fascination with outer space undoubtedly comes from the pictures and books I read in the 1970s and 80s – television series, science fiction novels and documentaries – that were blended and superimposed in my memory like a palimpsest. My images are a mix of purely documentary elements and very carefully constructed staging in which each detail depends on the overall composition. Emblematic locations for space exploration are like cinema sets where Tintin might meet Jules Verne in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey…”
“I photographed both the past and the future of space exploration between 2007 and now, from the space race in the 1960s to the NASA SLS launch vehicle expected to go to Mars. The present decade marks the transition from political to economic considerations in space, and the introduction of a worldwide dimension. After the Cold War and the domination of the super powers, the space sector became less of a military priority than an economic one also involving investments by private rms with multiple interests: communication, science, research and development, ecology, health, technology, and even space tourism.”
– Vincent Fournier
‘ “Kosmic Memories” reveals extraordinary architectures, veritable totems of civilisation of the future erected as so many signs of a possible elsewhere. It is not by chance that this science fiction universe was born between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1980s, especially in the satellite and non- aligned countries of the former Russia. First of all, the obsession with the cosmos is an old tropism of the Russian imagination (Tsiolkovsky, Sputnik, Gagarin…) and with the rapprochement of the West, artistic creation frees itself from political dogmas. If all these buildings have different functions, commemorative, political, institutional, their forms testify to the same breath: the invention of a future imbued with science fiction. We can see flying saucers, space stations and a multitude of geometrical shapes from another planet. Built mostly in concrete and at the tops of stellar landscapes, a telluric power from elsewhere emerges from these monumental architectures. Their location, while often a place of memory, also coincides with dawn or dusk, with a lateral light that reinforces their strangeness. Brutalist, futuristic, utopian, mystical, esoteric beauty…between Tintin’s “Temple of the Sun” and the monolith from “2001, Space Odyssey”. These sentinels embody the dream of a future that is always to come.’
– Vincent Fournier