Matt Wolf, USA, 2020o
They came from the American counterculture of the 1968 movement, had already built farms and traveled the world in a ship they built themselves. In 1991, with money from a Texas oil billionaire, these visionaries built a giant replica of Earth's ecosystem called Biosphere 2 in Arizona to see if it was suitable for extraterrestrial missions. Spaceship Earth describes how the eight inhabitants of Biosphere fared during two years.
To the fascination of the world’s press, the Biospherians trooped inside the gleaming glass-and-steel structure in 1991, like astronauts getting on board a spaceship. Inevitably, relations between them frayed. The air quality started to deteriorate. And they had not anticipated what might happen if one of them needed hospital treatment. Yet the real Lord of the Flies meltdown happened afterwards. As a result, the investor Bass called in the Wall Street bankers to evict the hippies and the free-thinkers from the Biosphere management, as part of a mission to repurpose it as a profitably “environmentalist” tourist attraction. The Biosphere 2 project now looks like reality TV, or maybe a conceptual art happening. Its quixotic extravagance is rather amazing. (Excerpt)Peter Bradshaw