Presented by AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHIC ARISTS
Project Astoria is non-ironic, non-judgemental study of attempt and failure. It accepts as its premise the human inclination toward “the ideal” — or at least betterment — as a functional part of the human condition, one that is a viable and valuable catalyst for transcendence and that could propel us toward a multitude of unknown outcomes. Though these outcomes can be qualified, the inclination itself is neither good nor bad. The sweet sadness of the images is a eulogy to humanity’s great idealistic endeavours and their outcomes. They are not hopeful, but neither are they hopeless. Instead, there is a quality of nostalgia and quietude, and a lack of urgency. On the surface, the images are a sort of anthropological glimpse into the people, animals, and objects of a failed late-1960s attempt to colonize an Earth-like moon and transform it into a utopia. The images pick up with the multi-national colonists 15 years after they embarked on their journey. Earth has all but abandoned the utopian colonization effort, and while the first generation of Astorian youth are ascending into adulthood, the project infrastructure has fallen into a state of disrepair. The images follow the teens as they navigate the tangled world of adolescence only to be thrust into adulthood at the very moment Project Astoria is coming undone.