robotcowboy: onward to mars
music, performance, space travel
2014-present

Onward to Mars landing sequence

Onward to Mars logo

Onward to Mars mission patch

Onward to Mars cold night

Begun in 2006, robotcowboy is an audio/visual performance platform using wearable computing with an emphasis on embodiment and action. Its second incarnation, titled Onward to Mars, is a "one astronaut space rock opera" that focuses on space and humanities future on the Red Planet and is influenced by the author's time at the Mars Desert Research Station.

How do you talk about going to Mars to a general audience on stage? Wear a spacesuit.

See the main project page here: robotcowboy.com

This project was supported by a Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier (FRFAF) grant from the Studio for Creative Inquiry and the 1st annual New Hazlett Theater Community Supported Art (CSA) series. New Hazlett show photos by Renee Rosensteel.

Audio & Video documentation is currently on the uplink.

Motivation

It's been 45 years since the last Apollo astronauts left the moon and Buzz Aldrin laments on the cover of the MIT Technology Review: "You promised me Mars Colonies. Instead, I got Facebook."

If we didn't go then, why don't we go now?

robotcowboy: Onward to Mars is about crossing lines. In leaving this planet as a species, we'll be crossing a line for the first time since we started walking erect, using tools, and created civilization thousands of years ago. Similarly, with this show I hope to encourage my audience to cross a line in their view toward a contemporary mission to Mars: that it would not have to remain in the world of science fiction, but could cross over into reality if we have the will to do, as Kennedy said, "something hard".

Story

The story for robotcowboy: Onward to Mars follows a single astronaut on a one way trip to the Red Planet. In the near future, it is discovered each celestial body emanates harmonics on the newly found fundamental frequency of the universe related to their electron cyclotron resonances. Particles rotating within magnetic and gravitational fields generate unique frequency patterns related to both this fundamental and that of the body itself, forming a fingerprint or "song". Life on each planet evolves to the frequencies of its home and must adapt if it is to live on a new world or perish. Specially trained, the Astronaut is sent ahead of an existing crew with "scientific (musical) instruments" in order to discover the "song of Mars" and ensure the success of the following landing and colonization efforts.

Presentations

17th Annual Mars Society Convention, Houston TX, USA August 2014

The paper was published in the conference proceedings. A PDF copy is available here: robotcowboy: Onward to Mars, A One Astronaut Space Rock Opera

Carnegie Science Center i5 Video Awards, Pittsburgh PA, USA 2014

Studio for Creative Inquiry FRFAF (Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier) grant presentations, Pittsburgh USA, 2014

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