Whitley Bay residents get the chance to go to Mars – Video

AN Artist from Whitley Bay has unveiled her new digital installation showcasing the Martian planet.

Kelly Richardson revealed her Mariner 9 project at The Spanish City Dome in Whitley Bay.

Richardson’s work evokes imagined futures for mankind, futures that are both beautiful and unnerving.

The 12 metre-long panoramic installation is a minutely detailed battlefield of real and imagined spacecraft amidst a dust storm. Whilst most of the failing, abandoned craft are no more than corroding remains, some still partially function, attempting to find signs of life, and occasionally transmitting data back to a planet where possibly there’s no-one left to receive it.

Richardson has taken NASA’s own imagery and technical data of the Martian landscape, and combined it with Terragen, a complex scenery generation software used by the film and gaming industries, pushing the software to its limits to create an uber-realistic red planet, minutely replicating its distinctive geology and weather patterns.

The opening of Mariner 9 also coincides with the landing of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory - known as “Curiosity” - on the red planet at the beginning of August.

Standing very close to the sea, Spanish City has been an iconic feature of the north-east’s coastline and culture for over a hundred years, and the raw texture of its darkened interior is the perfect atmospheric setting for Richardson’s human-scale version of Mars.

Linda Arkley, Elected Mayor for North Tyneside, said: “I’m delighted that Tyneside Cinema have agreed to work with us to bring the premiere of Mariner 9 to the Spanish City Dome, which has already been key to other successful art events recently held in the area such as Global Rainbow and Shimmer. It’s important we to continue to use the Dome in interesting and exciting ways ahead of Spanish City’s regeneration.”

Canadian-born Richardson draws on science-fiction cinema, literature and the history of landscape painting in works that interweave fine art, animation, real footage of spectacular natural wildernesses and Hollywood special effects, to create highly sophisticated and immersive works that are realised over several months and sometimes years.

She currently lives and works in Whitley Bay.