First presented at the Venice Biennale in 2019, the photoprint wallpaper Mars in Atacama considers the vastly multitudinous conception on landscape and belonging. While researching advertisements and facilities rendered by international space agencies, Minoliti found that many images depicting the planet Mars were actually images of earth. They were taken in places analogous to the red planet such as the Atacama desert in northern Chile, with its “very Mars-like environment”. This confrontation between the terrestrial and the “alien” calls into question which populations are seen as potential consumers of space exploration versus those which are not. The practices of today’s space agencies mirror colonial processes that often used landscape painting of strange and curious lands to lure settlers and explorers to South America. They promise adventure and reward in a great unknown through extra-planetary colonialism.
Mars in Atacama is envisaged as a habitat that houses painting. In Venice, it was shown with one of Minoliti’s own paintings. Here, Olev Subbi’s painting The Eighth Foreign Town (Kaheksas võõras linn, 2007) was selected. Mirroring the concept of the foreign and belonging, elements of Mediterranean views taken from Subbi’s various tours through the south of Europe collide in a colourful image of harmony. Foreign towns eventually formed a series of works that were developed throughout Subbi’s late career. They are not hostile environments, but ones of beauty.