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  • A World Above the Clouds

    A collaborative success between Choi Centre · Cloud House and the Slovenian Embassy in China

    April 18th to May 8th, 2024

    The grand opening of "A World Above the Clouds" on April 17, marked a collaborative success between Choi Centre · Cloud House and the Slovenian Embassy in China. The focus of the Slovenian photographer Matjez Tancic’s “Space Series” is on sites of exploration, innovation, and the scientific investigations taking place in labs across Europe, all beautifully and accurately photographed in multiple countries around the world. The multiple stations he has visited include China's own amazing Mars base, the C Space in Gansu.

     

    Dr. Jonathan K.S. Choi, Chairman of Jonathan KS Choi Foundation, H. E. Tanja Fajon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, and photographer Matjez Tancic, provided insightful speeches during the opening. We were also joined by 160 esteemed guests, including Ambassador Wu Hongbo, Special Representative for European Affairs of the Chinese Government. As well as ambassadors and embassy representatives from 26 countries, including but not limited to, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Albania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Mozambique, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, as well as the European Union Delegation and the United Nations Development Programme.

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    Humans have been fascinated with Space for centuries. Imagining worlds that crystallized in the 20th century through a multiplicity of literary writings by novelists whose already active imaginations were ignited by exciting new scientific discoveries. Science and literary license coalesced in a film industry in which all manner of fiction and fact were blended together in stories of fantastical futures and interplanetary travel. Imagined worlds were now given credence by the extraordinary creativity of movie industry special effects: movies brought Space into the realm of the possible.

     

    Meanwhile on Earth, recent decades have seen a huge growth in worldwide investment in the Space Race. The cynical might wonder if this is prompted by our awareness of Earth’s diminishing resources. Humanity has had a destructive impact upon the Earth’s ecology, such that we might pity the moon and Mars, as the focus of human interest for building new settlements. Yet, as photographer Matjaz Tancic has witnessed, as the race for space gathers momentum across the planet, the innovations this is producing are being put to good use. Not just attempts to make movie plots come true – like the fantasy of Matt Damon surviving by growing potatoes on Mars. The findings of research teams for growing food with no recourse to soil and minimum water, in easily transportable greenhouses. Have applications for life on Earth. Understanding what we eat, how we breathe, how we move, and how we will function in the world beyond Earth, relate to the fundamental existence of mankind on Earth, just as much as on the moon, or on Mars.

     

    The focus of Matjez Tancic’s “Space Series” is on sites of exploration, innovation, and the scientific investigations taking place in labs across Europe, all beautifully and accurately photographed in multiple countries around the world. The multiple stations he has visited include China's own amazing Mars base, the C Space in Gansu. Some are already award-winning photographs, like China Dreams of a Palace in the Sky, which won second place for best Feature Photo of the Year at the SoCal Journalism Award in Southern California, USA.

     

    Since the first man set foot on the moon in 1969, the world has engaged in almost fifty years of imagining a moment soon when living on Mars becomes a reality. But “soon” has proved to be illusory; always round the corner, but never quite arriving – (although just in August 2023, Virgin Galactic successfully flew six tourists to Space for first time aboard its VSS Unity space plane, so perhaps soon is not so far away after all.) Perhaps it doesn’t matter. The power of human imagination alone is enough to make us believe in possible world’s on other planets. As evidence for this, Matjez includes a small group of AI generated pictures that show just how prevalent imagining Mars, and space in general, is.AI is able to generate scenes that are almost more real than reality.

     

    So, in this exhibition, as we close the doors on one world, we open for you the doors to a whole new world, inviting you on a journey far from this planet into outer space.

    Image courtesy of Choi Centre · Cloud House