Collection: Simon Vega

Simon Vega
b. 1972, La Libertad, El Salvador; lives in La Libertad, El Salvador
Tropical Mercury Capsule, 2010
Wood, aluminum, tin roofing sheets, cardboard, plastic, television, fan, icebox, and stereo
118 x 236 ½ inches ¶¶67 ¾ x 130 inches (capsule)¶
Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, gift of Mario Cader-Frech and Robert Wennett¶¶¶¶
Image courtesy of Ernst Hilger

Tropical Mercury Capsule is a life-size, satirical representation of the space capsule developed by NASA for Project Mercury, the first human spaceflight initiative of the United States, which operated between 1959 and 1963. Created from cheap materials, such as cardboard and tin roofing sheets, Simón Vega's version fuses an object once associated with state-of-the-art, first-world technology with the provisional architecture found in the favelas, shantytowns, and slums of the developing world. The capsule is equipped with a car seat, small TV, stereo, electrical fan, and an icebox loaded with beer, emphasizing the ramshackle nature of Vega's fictitious space program. Beyond its humorous undertones, Tropical Mercury Capsule reflects on the aftershocks of the Cold War on the politics, economy, and culture of El Salvador. Indirectly, the work also references the ever-increasing tendency in modern societies for individuals to isolate themselves physically while maintaining a virtual presence through social media.¶

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