Michael Najjar "mission control" 2016
Hybrid photography, archival pigment print, aludibond, diasec, custom made aluminum frame
132 x 202 cm | 52" x 80", edition of 6
67 x 102 cm | 40.2" x 26.3", edition of 6
From "outer space" series 2011-ongoing
Read about the series here
“mission control” shows the Jupiter Control Room at Europe´s Space Center CSG in French Guiana. This facility manages the space flights of all CSG launch vehicles, usually from point of launch to end of mission. A staff of flight controllers uses telemetry to monitor all aspects of the mission and sends commands to the vehicle via ground stations. A huge flow of data related to the attitude control system, power, propulsion, and thermal systems, attitude dynamics, and launch and orbital operations is processed in this room. Final countdown takes place here and spaceflights are closely monitored until their payload is accurately placed in the correct orbit. A mission control room is a highly charged mythic space. The relationship between simulation and reality - which is fundamental in space exploration - accumulates in such a room where reality is mostly invisible yet continuously constructed from a torrent of data.
The artwork "mission control" oscillates between reality and simulation, composed as it is of various views of the control room ceiling. On closer inspection it reveals a filigree network structure which relates to the “nerve center” metaphor often used for control rooms. The center picture screens show the Ariane 5 VA229 rocket on the launch pad overlaid by the time schedule of the upcoming launch. The central part of the work depicts the darkness of space, the ultimate destination for the launcher’s payload.
Michael Najjar belongs to that vanguard of artists who take a complex critical look at the technological forces shaping and drastically transforming the early 21st century. Najjar’s photo and video works exemplify and draw on his interdisciplinary understanding of art. He fuses science, art, and technology into visions and utopias of future social orders emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies. Najjar’s pictorial language of form and content guides the viewer into a complex construction of simulated reality which is generated by the montage of multiple image sources and elements. He removes the photographic image from its historical viewing conventions and resituates it in a fundamentally new mode of perception. His work is grouped in thematic work series and distinguished by its supreme technical precision, innate sharpness, and highly artful reinterpretation of reality.