Alice Bucknell

3rd Prize

The Martian Word for World is Mother

“The project wants to move away from an anthropocentric understanding of the Red Planet by reframing language as less a tool of communication than a type of shared affect, between past and future, humans and nonhuman kin.”

The project focuses on the hypothesis of a speculative future in which Mars artificially assumes the characteristics of a habitable planet and the need to explore new languages able to imagine alternative futures on the Red Planet, moving away from a mainstream anthropocentric vision. The work, inspired by The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, explores three different colonies on Mars, three different ways of approaching the concept of terraforming, an artificial process to make a planet habitable for man, each with a different conception of the future of the red planet and its resources.
Combining the strategies of science-fiction, 3D worldbuilding and the language of artificial intelligence, the artist presents three different conceptions of the future of the planet and who will decide its fate.

American artist and writer Alice Bucknell lives and works between London and Los Angeles. With a background in anthropology and research architecture, she works primarily through game engines and speculative fiction to explore interconnections of ecology, magic, outer space, and nonhuman and machine intelligence. Across all of her work, she takes a research-based approach that roams across disciplines, including architecture, environmental science, linguistics, and collaborations with artificial intelligence, to better envision worlds that have been and worlds to come.
Recent projects have speculated on possible futures for Mars; a fictional eco-tourism resort located in the Florida Everglades; and the relationship between cryptocurrency and architecture in
the apocalypse. She has exhibited her video work internationally, including at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Ars Electronica in Austria, Fiber Festival in the Netherlands, and New Contemporaries and Serpentine Galleries in the UK. This summer, she was profiled by Cura Magazine as one of 40 artists shaping the future of art.
In 2021, she established New Mystics, a collaborative platform for exploring the intersection of magic and technology that features texts co-written by artificial intelligence. In 2022, she curated New Worlds, an event series at Somerset House focusing on the politics and poetics world-building that featured multidisciplinary collaborations with nine artists, spanning rituals, live-action roleplay, deep listening exercises, film screenings, and performance lectures.
Her writing appears regularly in publications including ArtReview, Flash Art, Frieze, and Mousse. She is currently an Associate Lecturer in MA Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins, and she gives lectures and guest-teach elsewhere at institutions including the V&A in the UK, Fabrica in
Italy, and SCI-Arc in Los Angeles.

PHOTO CAPTION: Alice Bucknell, The Martian Word for World is Mother

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