Saturday, May 31, 2014
The Swede Sending A House To The Moon
Via The Local: Swedish artist Mikael Genberg's crazy idea of sending a sculpture in the shape of a house to the moon looks set to become a reality. For daring to go where no artist has gone before he's our Swede of the week. Obviously. Dubbed the Moonhouse, Genberg's latest project isn't the latest solution to Sweden's housing crisis. No, it's far more complex than that and involves rocketing a self-building house to the moon. Once there, the pad will unfold all by itself and remain on the lunar surface alongside the American flag left by Neil Armstrong back in 1969. The house will be familiar to most Swedes who have ever spent a weekend in the countryside, with a fetching shade of red for the coating and with white cornices to boot. "For me, its about doing something that shouldn't be possible to do", Genberg tells The Local. "This is the first art on the moon. That in itself is cool. I see the moon house as a kind of beacon for human thoughts". By conservative estimates the cost of sending the Moonhouse into space will be around $15 million (100 million kronor) so Genberg has taken to crowdsourcing to land the cash. With 184 days remaining he has only notched up $3.639 and is appealing for donations. He's already attracted some powerful backers though, including Sweden's sole astronaut Christer Fuglesang. The Swede got into art after a childhood fascination with comic books. Despite studying economics, he kept at his art after high-school thinking one day he might turn to designing and selling commercials. But the art world was never far from his mind and eventually he pursued it full time. "I remember when I first stepped foot into the art school - it shocked me. I didn't understand what people were talking about, they were wearing strange clothes. I was totally intrigued. By lunch time I was completely sold", he says. You wouldn't put it past Genberg landing the moon money as he certainly has previous successes when it comes to mixing accommodation with unusual settings. In 1998 he made headlines in Sweden for building a treehouse in his home town of Västerås. He initially planned to leave it open to the public to "borrow", but soon the town's drunks started asking for their turn so and Genberg decided it was time to bring back the economic studies. "I couldn't let the drunks borrow it. We couldn't have them 13 meters in the air - they'd fall like grapes to the ground. Instead, someone suggested making it into a hotel. So I did", he says. In 2000 he created an underwater hotel room which remains in operation in Gothenburg. His reputation as a creator of alternative living environments has granted him cult status in the art world. That celebrity looks set to be enhanced further with the Moonhouse. Reliable media reports have said it will take flight in October of 2015. "I'm not trying to be provocative, but if a few people are angry, just a few, then there's a friction that strengthens people's positivity. A dialogue is started", he tells The Local. "If everyone thought a house on the moon was a fantastic idea then it wouldn't be interesting at all".