Peak of Eternal Light (artefacts)

After months of fruitful collaboration with the European Space Agency ESA as artist in residence at the Advanced Concepts Team ACT, Jorge Mañes Rubio has started a new series of artworks working with materials that are solely used for manufacturing satellites, spaceships and other aerospace purposes, such as the iconic golden vapour deposited aluminium aerospace film and moon dust (lunar regolith simulant) that ESA is currently using to prepare astronauts for future lunar missions. These objects answer specific sacred and spiritual rituals to be held on the Moon. Inspired by the concept of the ‘Moon Village’, these new artworks merge strong ethnographic influences from past cultures with futuristic aesthetics, reimagining our legacy as human species in a potential interplanetary future. 

“While visionary concepts such as the Moon Village help us to rethink potential futures and our actions to realise them, art allows us to put them into perspective, and recall their human elements”, adds Leopold Summerer, head of the ACT. “Jorge has made a beautiful bridge between ethnography and space exploration, by imagining future empirical evidence from a ‘Moon Village culture’.”

After decades of isolation, the inhabitants of the Moon Village start developing a certain sense of self-sufficiency and common identity. For the first time they feel free from all outside domination. Like it was once common in many traditional societies from planet Earth, they start making intricate objects with a special agency whose function transcends physical interaction. 


Untitled #1 (Vessel)

From the Peak of Eternal Light series, Amsterdam, 2017. 20x18x17cm

Vapor deposited aluminum aerospace film on lunar regolith simulant

Unearthed from the interior of the Moon Temple, protected from direct sunlight and radiation, this exuberant vessel is almost in perfect condition, although it’s hard to establish its age. The object tells a story of the supernatural, a tale of immortality. We now know that, after the struggling first generations of settlers, the effects of lunar microgravity extended life on human bodies, allowing the Moon Village inhabitants to live significantly longer than those on planet Earth. With an erratic shape and a robust regolith exterior that resembles the lunar surface itself, the function of this vessel was most likely to symbolically encapsulate the elixir of life in its precious golden interior.

Untitled #3 (Protection)

From the Peak of Eternal Light series, Amsterdam, 2017. 95x36x7cm

Vapor deposited aluminum aerospace film and lunar regolith simulant

This stunning neckpiece, carefully crafted from compressed Moon dust and aerospace materials, is believed to be one of the first objects created by lunar settlers. Due to its large size and weight, it was probably aimed to be worn only during very specific occasions. While its function remains unclear, the piece was definitely created to fulfil sacred and spiritual needs. The object was passed on through different generations of Moon Village inhabitants, and it was believed that it could help restore cosmic balance or provide protection to whoever wore it.



Untitled #2 Yellow Gold (Reflection) & Untitled #2 Copper Gold (Reflection)

From the Peak of Eternal Light series, Amsterdam, 2017. 120x90cm

Vapor deposited aluminum aerospace film on canvas

Several layers of aerospace film are stretched and placed over what appears to be an irregular surface or canvas. The result is a bursting and glowing surface, reminiscing of a powerful solar eruption. This phenomenon, usually accompanied by coronal mass ejections, occasionally results on spectacular auroras on planet Earth. On the Moon though, devoid of atmosphere and magnetic field to deflect radiation, these storms might not be fatal but have certainly been feared since the first human settlements. We can assume that this piece served as a visual reminder to the Moon Village inhabitants of these beautiful yet devastating solar events.


Untitled #4 (Solitude)

From the Peak of Eternal Light series, Amsterdam, 2017. 120x46x10cm

Vapor deposited aluminum aerospace film and lunar regolith simulant

Shaped in what seems to be a shield with strong ethnographic influences, this object is used in complex dances and rituals among the Moon Village inhabitants. Living in a tough environment where human contact is scarce, solitude is the most common enemy among the lunar citizens. Therefore this and other similar objects are used in celebrations, where people can acquire a majestic presence, gathering, dancing, and breaking free from their monotonous and harsh daily activities.


Untitled #5 (Play)

From the Peak of Eternal Light series, Amsterdam, 2017. 16x12x5cm

Vapor deposited aluminum aerospace film 

This particularly small mask is believed to belong to a Moon Village child. It was probably used as a role-play artefact, through which the younger generations could learn about important sacred lunar rituals. 


Untitled #6 (Afterlife)

From the Peak of Eternal Light series, Amsterdam, 2017. 22x20x5cm

Vapor deposited aluminum aerospace film on lunar regolith simulant

Masks have played an important role in many ancient civilisations from planet Earth. They were worn by shamans, rulers, dancers or important personalities, in many cases even accompanying them to the grave. Most were worn for important celebrations, burial rituals and transformation rites, where the mask would confer mystical powers or serve as a gateway to a parallel dimension. Burials masks were commonly used among Moon Village inhabitants to honor the deceased and secure the departing spirits with a safe passage to the afterlife. Masks were carefully crafted in moon dust featuring the faces of the deceased and covered with golden aerospace materials to protect them on their last journey.


Peak of Eternal Light has been created by Jorge Mañes Rubio as artist in residence at the European Space Agency ESA