Merritt Island Spoils Project GREY ISLAND is a project that explores the relationship between NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the natural landscape it sits within, managed by Merritt Island National Wildlife refuge.
Jan 2020 this project will be exhibited at Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach in addition to an on island public program supported in kind by Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida.
Sheltered by palms, overgrown orange groves, and towering forests of spiraling aluminum, an artificial archipelago dots the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway. Populated by alien species that seem to subsist on nothing more than electrical signals, these un-mapped, unexplored worlds vibrate with the songs of birds and cicada, the low rumble of thunder and the bellow of rockets designed to send men to distant planets.
Here, an uncharted island within Kennedy Space Center evokes the otherworldly. Merritt Island Spoils Project steps foot on Grey Island; the ground beneath our feet is as unknown as Martian terrain.
We ironically and poetically argue that Grey Island, a man-made spoil island within the boundaries of both Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Kennedy Space Center, offers a viable alternative for future human habitation.
The project critiques the development of commercial spaceflight missions intended to establish permanent settlements on Mars through the use of terraforming. If we consider Kennedy Space Center as our final point of departure, then Grey Island is a return, a re-encountering of a world that is both familiar, yet strange and magical.
Playfully testing the island’s suitability for future habitation, the MISP team modifies strategies developed by NASA to explore the lunar surface, turning these methodologies back onto the terrestrial landscape.
The team catalogs new, unknown species, and attempts to gain a comprehensive understanding of this hybrid techno-ecological system.
Research involved audio recording, drawing, video, and scans and a 22’ tandem kayak, Dome.
Shona Kitchen + Alyson Ogasian
With thanks to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Photography by Jessina Leonard