Upon discovering a group of meteorites in the Swiss Alps in the 1940s, scientists immediately launched an extensive research project to determine the origins of the mysterious rubble. After some preliminary experimentation, they revealed that the material travelled to Earth from Ferox, an undiscovered third moon circulating the planet Mars. With funding from the IEMS, the scientists sent the first Rovers to Ferox, conducting critical experiments and collating data on the meteorites’ peculiar abilities. These studies went on for many years, until research was brought to a sudden halt due to unfortunate budget cuts.While this block in funding stagnated further developments and understanding of Ferox, a massive collection of data, images and text was meticulously archived for decades. In order to spread awareness about Mars’ third moon, artist Nicolas Polli created an open source website for anyone to access the materials, which were also recently published in an extensive book of research. The story of Ferox is incredibly compelling and important for the history of space research, but there’s just one catch: none of it is real.
With the help of both writers and scientists, Polli fabricated the entire Ferox archive in his own studio, creating images that mimic the aesthetic of archival space photographs, Ranger imaging and laboratory documentation. As a discourse, science remains relatively inaccessible to the masses, and Polli believes our default acceptance of information – especially through images – needs to be questioned. His project Ferox, the Forgotten Archives encourages viewers to trust their criticality, rather than blindly accepting the information they are given.