The Afronauts by Cristina de Middel, 2012

In this book, the artist departs from historical facts. In 1964 a Zambian science teacher named Edwuard Makuka decided to train the first African crew to travel to the moon. He planned to use an aluminium rocket to put a woman, two cats and a missionary into Space. First, the moon, then Mars, using a catapult system. He founded the Zambia National Academy of Science, Space Research and Astronomical Research to train his Afronauts in his headquarters located only 20 miles from Lusaka.
The project was never carried out, but Cristina de Middel speculates on what might have been.
The book is a mash-up of her photographs, simulated documents, found photographs and her artwork. The style of the pictures is varied, but it is worth highlighting the use of symbols and myths, such as the photograph of a bird’s wing lying on the ground, a referent to the legend of Icarus. The author also incorporates translucent pages that can be read similar to the paper used for technical drawings and specifications; by doing so, she provides a sense or evidence that this might be real.

In this video you can see the entire photobook:

And here you have a short video made by the artist departing from the photobook

Visit the artist’s webpage for more information about the project

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