"To make an imperfect analogy: Human civilization was like a young, unworldly person walking alone across the desert of the universe, who has found out about the existence of a potential lover. Though the person could not see the potential lover’s face or figure, the knowledge that the other person existed somewhere in the distance created lovely fantasies about the potential lover that spread like wildfire."
—— 《三體》劉慈欣; The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu
To enter the orbit of the lover,
traveling through the atmosphere with burning heat,
and finally, a loud crash into the unfamiliar terrain of another,
making an impact on this land.
Then begins the study of this crater, a gravitational collapse,
as it slowly becomes one with the land, a landscape.
Around the crater is a rim of the shattered, melted rocks and dust of the past; now existing as a new formation.
The land of the lover and the meteoroid were once unfamiliar travelers, now together as one crater – a proof of impact brought through the journey.
My time in Aotearoa presents itself as finite, controlled according to the expiry date of my visa. Since the age of 15, I have been classified by both the governments of Taiwan and New Zealand as suspended between the status of a traveler and a resident. To grow with the land beneath my feet I must remain confined in a limited yet renewable cave of time.
I wander between the departure and the arrival. As physical as my departure was, it was driven by a very abstract idea: hope. A hope that relies on another space of a potential lover, unknown, but existing at this very moment; immersion in the belief that a trajectory of travel could bring flourishing to the future; a leap of faith, into a fantasy of a better tomorrow.
A 'better future' was wished for by both me and my parents. Both my departure and arrival truly occurred as I began the attempt to assimilate, to understand the structure of this world in front of me, the environment that I once found unfamiliar but soon believed in and operated myself under. How would I define a flourishing future but the trajectory I am destined to undertake?
The title 'Terrestrial Analogue' is borrowed from 'terrestrial analogue sites' in astrobiology, referring to places on Earth with assumed past or present geological, environmental or biological conditions of a celestial body such as the Moon or Mars. Analogue sites are used in the frame of space exploration to either study geological or biological processes observed on other planets, or to prepare astronauts for surface extra-vehicular activity.
Here the idea of an environmental analogue is used as a metaphor for fictional geological narratives. Two acts of travel correspond to each other: an escape inward, intuitively converting bodily experience to a speculative fictional status; and a trajectory outward into other worlds, to leave the surface of Earth and immersed in an imagination of a future that launches into the external cosmos. With digitally generated craters, its excavated dust overtaking the site, and silicone retinal scans presented in planetary fashion, the crashing of the two worlds are presented together as craters and an imagined material record of the collision. The crater is an impact that slowly becomes one with the geological narrative and thus, a landscape of terrain.