A project of WE COLONISED THE MOON in collaboration with
FREEHAND, the Young People's Programme at FACT, Liverpool


The moment of landing is the most precarious. When we send machines into space a crash is what we fear the most. Massive investments of time and resources in technology, hope and ambition, obliterated. But in art, failure can be a beautiful concept, the stimulus of new possibilities, an iconic dramatic pivot.

Taking inspiration from unplanned disasters with satellites and robots sent to observe, explore and record, we will work with teams of young people to build machines with a terminal end in mind. We will shoot high speed films of the crash impacts and award a prize for the most aesthetic one.

During this workshop series, which runs in parallel with the exhibition Republic of the Moon, teams of young people from the FACT Freehander programme will design and build robotic devices for the purpose of creating the spectacle of a crash.


December 17, Introduction

Some material to research:

Cecil Hepworth "Explosion of a Motor Car" (1900)
Zabriskie Point final scene
NASA Mars rover
NASA Prepares for Lunar Impact
NASA Ranger VII Photographs of the Moon
NASA Orion Drop Test
Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom Flex

Wikipedia, Crash

Small Mars Rover Voyager Spce Cfaft Sputnik Planet Landing Module Satelite Medium Size Planet Rover

January 14, Design & Engineering


Bring all kinds of little thingies that are interesting and could be useful. Gold and silver rescue foil is always good for space probes. Old camera parts, LED's, wheels form RC cars, tubes, antennas, ... Here are some of the thingies I will use next.

The build begins. In Liverpool with Sue and Louise from FACT the students begin with individual sketches based on images of Mars Rovers, Lunar Explorers and Space Probes. We pick out a key feature from each and make a collective drawing. Using card, tape and foil to build up a carcass around a set of wheels. Focusing on space aesthetics and crashability. Using a live web link to Hagen in Germany in his dads old DIY workshop he joins the build with his own rover designs.



Rover in Workshop Rover in Workshop Rover in Workshop Rover in Workshop

February 4, Catapult, more engineering & test site preparation

This are our really first experiments with a catapult we build today at FACT.
We will be both in Liverpool at FACT to work with you on your rover and space probes.

Think already about how the CRASH test site / film set could look like.

Set LightingImpact Studies

February 10, The crash test dummies

Modell_1 Modell_2 Modell_3 Modell_4
Modell_5 Modell_6 Modell_7 Modell_8

February 11, Highspeed crash filming

Studio in Liverpool

Studio_002 Studio_003 Studio_004 Studio_005

February 15, Presentation, (The BOX, FACT)

Young People's Coordinator: Louise Latter, FACT
High Speed Filming: Edward Edwards, SlowMo High Speed Camera Hire
Video /  Photo: Hagen Betzwieser
Musik: »Time Decay« by morgantj / »Minimai« by Numbernaut

Commissioned by FACT and The Arts Catalyst
Part of the exhibition Republic of the Moon, Liverpool