GO or NO GO? Special event curated by Goshka Macuga and Ariane Koek

Thursday 25 May 2023


Thursday 25 May at 17.00 Palazzo Strozzi hosts GO or NO GO?, a special panel curated by the artist Goshka Macuga and the author and curator Ariane Koek, founder of the first program dedicated to the relationship between art, technology and science at CERN of Geneva.

The appointment will see the participation of experts from various disciplines, including art, astronomy, philosophy and psychoanalysis, to reflect on the idea of the future and on the relationship between humanity, earth and space.
Thanks for the support Gruppo Beyfin S.p.A.

The event takes place as a special event on the occasion of the installation of the work GONOGO by Goshka Macuga in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi.

Goshka Macuga, GONOGO

Over 15 meters tall, GONOGO is the monumental sculpture, exhibited for the first time in Palazzo Strozzi, whose title alludes to the “go/no go” testing process before a rocket launch, Macuga presents a voyage with many possible interpretations. The idea for the work dates back to the summer of 2021, when a prototype of it was among the finalists for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Standing on a fluorescent blue structure that resembles a launch pad, the futuristic, gleaming metal rocket towers within the Renaissance space like an ambivalent object of desire and diffidence. The artist conceived it as a way of encouraging viewers to think about our complicated relationship to the future of this world and the idea of moving beyond life on Earth. Space exploration has been one of humanity’s most enduring aspirations, but nowadays this outlook has come up against a context made more fragile by the effects of the pandemic and the climate crisis. The rocket launch could therefore be fueled by these emergencies and by a search for new inhabitable worlds or could be cancelled in favor of a commitment to protecting our planet.

My sculpture visualizes the dilemmas we are facing—it embodies the fantasy and our reality, our aspiration and our failure. GONOGO responds to the opposites that define problematic areas of our culture and language, and which thus create divisions rather than a union. This division is not only a social phenomenon but something that we can identify with, individually, every one of us. For me the work reflects on an inherent duality, it leads me to think about the contradictions in the binary understanding of the structures in our world.

Goshka Macuga

The piece, commissioned by Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and ultimately intended for the foundation’s new venue on the Venetian Island of San Giacomo, has an interactive digital extension via a website. This platform can be accessed by scanning a QR code or typing in www. gonogo.space; it allows viewers to share their experiences and suggests new ways of thinking about the themes and ideas explored by the work. The digital platform will create an archive of content accessible to the public, offering interactive functions and teaching materials; it will also house a collaborative project in which other artists, scholars, and scientists are invited to participate.

Goshka Macuga

Goshka Macuga was born in Warsaw in 1967 and at twenty moved to London, where she studied at Central Saint Martins and then at Goldsmiths. Active around the world, she is based in London. Macuga is a versatile, interdisciplinary figure, taking on roles that normally go beyond one person’s purview.

“I’m not interested in specializing in any specific field,” she says. “The moment I find most exciting is when I’m thinking about the creation of a work: an endless list of possibilities. The less concrete they are, the more exciting. You could call it a love affair with the unknown.”

The artist’s multidisciplinary mindset allows her to create works that bring together very different themes in a highly narrative manner.