Failing Forward

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The Eriskay Connection, 2022. Edition of 700 copies.
Swiss bound softcover, 120 pp., + folded poster, b/w illustrated, 208 × 290 mm. Photographs by Marjolein Blom / NASA Archive. Text byMerel Bem, Vincent Icke (English / Dutch). Design by Dongyoung Lee.

Fifty years ago, in an era popularly known as the Space Age, optimism concerning scientific progress seemed endless. The desire to put the first people on the Moon spurred advances in technology. However, while the techniques from the space industry found a way into our daily lives, science grew increasingly apart from the everyday world. Scientific interpretations are complicated for non-experts to grasp, resulting in an exchange based on trust.

This relationship has always been fragile, and in recent years scientific facts are more and more regarded as ‘an opinion’. The truth is that science actually is a temporary and uncertain activity, with ambiguity, curiosity and unpredictability as fundamental elements of its process. Could we see science as a metaphor for life itself? Just as surprising and unsure? A process of fall and rise?

In Failing Forward Marjolein Blom (NL) explores what connects art and science. Her own photographic work of minor and major mysteries from the everyday world, is interwoven with images from the NASA archive, depicting scientists working on models for space travel. A kaleidoscopic work of oddities that focuses upon the notion of the attempt.

This book revolves around truth-finding, bewilderment and human control. It navigates the two parallel worlds of our scientific and daily reality. While shifting between the enigmatic and the specific, between the clear and the ambiguous, it depicts the delusion of people ever being in control in this world.


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