That’s why Bostrom hopes the Curiosity rover fails. ‘Any discovery of life that didn’t originate on Earth makes it less likely the great filter is in our past, and more likely it’s in our future,’ he told me. If life is a cosmic fluke, then we’ve already beaten the odds, and our future is undetermined — the galaxy is there for the taking. If we discover that life arises everywhere, we lose a prime suspect in our hunt for the great filter. The more advanced life we find, the worse the implications. If Curiosity spots a vertebrate fossil embedded in Martian rock, it would mean that a Cambrian explosion occurred twice in the same solar system. It would give us reason to suspect that nature is very good at knitting atoms into complex animal life, but very bad at nurturing star-hopping civilisations. It would make it less likely that humans have already slipped through the trap whose jaws keep our skies lifeless. It would be an omen.

From "Omens" by Ross Andersen

"Their Pleas"

They pluck my sleeve, tug my hand, pull

my hair. They do not kneel to kiss my hem.

No, it’s not like that but they want tokens.

Again, not souvenirs but something small

and useful, something that will help them out

after life, maybe in an underworld.

They need a sighted guide to lead them to

the river, and they need a remnant of

the old world as they embark for the older world,

the one that has existed since the first

grievous death. They need to feel they still

can touch and still be touched, as once they did

and were, and one would have to be a cold,

uncaring woman to deny their pleas:

a woman with a bulletproof  heart,

without a memory of life on earth.

Thier Pleas - Kelly Cherry

The Mummies of Guanajuato

The city has put 119 of the bodies, some still bearing hair, eyebrows, and folds of skin, on display. Author Tom Weil writes, “In the figures one sees both the living and the departed, death with a human face and humanity with the skull beneath the skin.”

Ray Bradbury, who visited the museum in the 1940s, wrote, “They looked as if they had leaped, snapped upright in their graves, clutched hands over their shriveled bosoms and screamed, jaws wide, tongues out, nostrils flared. And been frozen that way. All of them had open mouths. Theirs was a perpetual screaming.

“The experience so wounded and terrified me, I could hardly wait to flee Mexico. I had nightmares about dying and having to remain in the halls of the dead with those propped and wired bodies. In order to purge my terror, instantly, I wrote ‘The Next in Line.’ One of the few times that an experience yielded results almost on the spot.”

(via Futility Closet)

"21st Century Self-Portrait"

Based on a 3D scan of his face & CT scan of his skull, coupled with his filigree aesthetic the piece allows both forms to be viewed simultaneously juxtaposing the newfound reaches of our vision, discovery & technology against our vulnerability, privacy & humanity. The disembodied head suggests our increasing digital disconnect from the physical world & reexamination of reality.  


Alejandro Jodorowsky's "Dune"

On avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's gorgeously detailed but ultimately unrealized version of Dune:

I don’t think it really weighs on him, because he honestly feels that he made the film. He feels that it’s a success. When he’s talking about drawing the storyboards, he doesn’t say, "We drew the pictures," he says, "We were shooting. Moebius was my camera." So in his mind it’s really done, and that’s kind of what you’re left with at the end of that project. There’s that book. It’s not a failure because they never went out to the desert with their cameras and their crew and their cast. So it stopped at this kind of perfect moment of closure with that book. And maybe that’s as far as it was supposed to go. He said he wanted to have the film be a prophet, that he wanted the film to change the world. I mean what happens to prophets? Prophets are killed.

Via The Verge