Space Gear And Recycling
May 19, 2012

Space Gear And Recycling

Michael Harper for

Who hasn´t, in the days of their youth, cast their eyes skyward to count the stars, make guesses as to how large the moon really is, and wish so badly to be able to float amongst the firmament?

Of course, it´s likely you – like the rest of us – weren´t able to make these dreams come true, a notion which probably hits you hardest near your 30th birthday. Just because you can´t float in the inky blackness of space doesn´t mean you can´t dream. And what better way to feel interstellar and fabulous than your own pair of NASA-inspired sportswear or a trip to a sardonically irreverent art display complete with NASA branded Winnebego and Beer-dispensing Darth Vader?

Artist Tom Sachs has teamed up with Nike to create a limited edition line of space-inspired sports gear to coincide with his most recent Space Program project, in which he and his team will recreate a four-week trip to Mars in what´s being called an “immersive Space Odyssey.”

The “Mars Yard” shoe from Nike is not cheap. Retailing for $385, the old-style looking shoe is made from Vectran fabric recovered from the Mars Excursion Rover airbags. The outer-sole of the shoe is inspired and borrowed from the Nike special forces boot.

Sachs has also created silvery tote and duffle bags to complete his line, each borrowing NASA design cues and repurposing NASA material. The tote, for example, is made from Cuben fiber, a polyethylene fabric normally used for air balloons, kites and parachutes. The choice of fabric seems like more of a suggestion than an idea, as the $400 tote also comes with a 30-foot parachute cord, pry bar, grappling hook and small case you can use to hold, you know, whatever.

The “Spacebag” duffle also gets the recovered NASA material treatment, utilizing Vectran lining from the Jet Propulsion Lab as well as materials from automotive airbags. The cheapest of the 3 options, Spacebag retails for $250.

Despite the cost of these objects, Sachs wants more to make a statement than a payday.

The art installation portion of Sachs´ latest endeavor began on May 16 and will continue until June 17. For 4 weeks, Sachs and his “crew” will conduct 90-minute demonstrations, activating different sculptural systems simulating lift-off through Mars walk.

Each of these sculptures is hand-crafted out of crude materials: foam-core, glue, plywood and steel.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Sachs said the main issue of the installment is “transparency in construction.”

In order to draw attention to this transparency, Sachs and team painted the plywood they intended to use before they cut it or drilled holes, making the screws visible.

“But this installation represents where we´ve been, and shows a transparency of construction and a transparency of use,” said Sachs.

“As it is, we´re destroying our planet. The more you use your iPhone, it only gets worse and weaker, while plywood, leather and other organic materials tend to improve with age.”

Sachs also emphasizes the importance of “green” versus “recycling,” saying, “℠Green´ is kind of a phony buzz word, and people talk about recycling. The real word you want is ℠re-use´”

“Space Program: Mars” runs through June 17 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.