Hand-painting, Ink, Natural Pigments, Rubbing
18.25 × 14.25 × 1.25 in
An Organik Unique (#II of The Planets series). Collage by Marshall Weber, painting by Marshall Weber, Kurt Allerslev, and Laura Smith, and binding by Kurt Allerslev.
Inspired by evidence from NASA’s Curiosity landrover which suggests there was organic life on Mars, the Organik group began an homage to the planet which expanded into a multi-faceted meditation on Mars the planet, Mars the Roman god of war, war in general, and specifically World War One and the battle of Gallipoli (as eloquently described by musician/poet P. J. Harvey). The use of the spices has numerous direct and indirect references from the metaphorical, as with the subtext of the turning of trade/spice roads into routes of military campaigns, to the olafactory, as with the use of burnt mustard pigment to evoke the deadly mustard gas used in WW1. The saffron used throughout the book is from Turkey and evokes the strong sunlight of the area as well as being another historical indicator of trade and conflict.
Collaged throughout the book are images of Australian, Turkish, and New Zealander soldiers from the infamous battle of Gallipoli, including a young Kemal Atatürk (then known as Colonel Mustafa Kemal), leading his first major battle, Atatürk would go on to found the modern secular and the democratic Republic of Turkey.
The cratered Martian landscape on the covers of the book is formed by a cayenne, poly-vinyl acetate, and water suspension; thus the feverish cayenne smell that emanates from the book summons the Mars spirit.
PJ Harvey, Excerpts from the song “All and Everyone” from the album, “ Let England Shake”, 2012
Old Latin Verse
Cato the Elder, Fragment from “De Agri Cultura CXLI” also known as the Mars Prayer, c. 180 BCE
Image and Map Sources
NASA, Curiosity Mars land rover Mission, 2012
Various sources, The Battle of Gallipoli, Turkey, 1915
Red and white ochre rocks from the Warange Basin in Australia cayenne, red rubbing wax, PVA, Sumi ink, paprika, turmeric, carbon transfer, saffron, paint and ink markers, henna, mustard.