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Lyn Hagan (Newcastle, UK)

This writer and artist is attempting to become the first person to put art on planet Mars.

Lyn Hagan is an artist predominantly interested in creating art in unlikely places. Last year she went into orbit at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Centre in order to study the effects of zero gravity on a cat, and this year, strange as it may sound, she is intending to make her debut on Mars, with the help of The European Space Agency.


...your work all about?
The chaos of collective instinct: everything on its own path, adapting and surviving. When the cat and mouse in zero gravity piece was conceived I was interested in whether the predator instinct would still remain in disorientating circumstances.

...the one piece of work you wish you'd created?
Around 1992, a man named Ben Silcock climbed into the Lion enclosure at London Zoo, with two chickens that he wanted to feed to the lions. I was fascinated with the theatre of what he had done, even though it was madness. When researching him, I came across another incident in which another man had gone to the same lion, but this time with a Bible. He had scaled the enclosure and been mauled but, like Silcock, had lived. I wanted to interview both men, and show the videos together, but it just never happened.

...the world coming to?
I think the world will go on and on. That is where my anxiety comes from, the idea of infinity and me being finite.

....the best piece of advice you've ever heard?
That willpower will get you through. It does, although it doesn't feel that way at the time.

...the most important thing for an artist to remember?
The sense of freedom you had drawing pictures as a kid and how irrelevant the art world is to that feeling.

... the most inspiring thing you've ever seen?
I saw a man with no legs once get on a bus that didn't have the facility to lower for his wheelchair. He just tipped himself out, threw his chair up the stairs and climbed on, refusing help from anyone.
...the cleverest thing you've ever done?
I don't look on myself as clever, I think I have a good survival instinct and can persuade people to do unusual things.

...the stupidest thing you've ever done?
Being on the parabolic plane, with the cat container in one hand and the mouse container in the other – that felt stupid.
I am talking to a scientist at the European Space Agency about doing something for their ExoMars rover mission. I would love to work upon a choreographed dance for the robot on Mars and produce tracks in the sand that will be symbolic of drawings – a kind of remote drawing really. I also like the idea of doing something in the ocean, with an audience swimming down to see it. It’s good for your soul to try to do something impossible.

...the point?
The worst question to ask with art is why.