THIRD SHIFT SPOTLIGHT: Brandon Vickerd

The exhibition Falling Sky consists of two separate sculptures: Sputnik Returned 2 installed in Charlottetown and Challenger installed in Saint John. Sputnik Returned 2 consists of a replica of
Sputnik, the first man made satellite to orbit the earth, installed as if it has crash landed into parked sedan; while Challenger consists of a replica of the escape hatch from the NASA space shuttle Challenger installed as if it has fallen from the sky and flattened a Canada Post mailbox.

The project Falling Sky is a metaphor for the failed promise of a future of scientific advancement that was once heralded by modernism. The sleek futuristic design of the crashed objects, resting lifelessly in their respective craters, will recall a modern-day Icarus whose faith in technology lead to hubris and his imminent demise as he fell back to earth. Sputnik Returned 2 has a simple
design, both streamlined and reflective, alludes to the space race of the 1950s. Today this design appears as a wonderfully crude relic of the period, a potential unmanned doomsday weapon mirroring the excesses of the cold war while also recalling the proto-modernist sculptures of Brancusi. Challenger presents a somber narrative, drawing on the cultural legacy of failed attempts at space travel and provoking viewers to question the heroic narrative of space exploration.

As an artist I create public installations that do not immediately reveal themselves as sculpture, but instead seek to insert an anomaly into the viewer’s experience of the everyday. The context
of the public setting and the lack of institutional signifiers such as pedestals or signage allows the viewer to experience the work in the same way they approach common objects. Upon initially viewing Falling Sky, the audience will be unaware that they are an audience. They will be confronted with the artifacts of a narrative, causing them look upwards, tracing the imagined trajectory of these fallen objects. Trying to rectify the various crash sites with the empty sky above, the viewer will be left to question our culture’s faith in the promises of technological advancement.