Unrealised Project

Launch into space of a solid lead satellite by use of alchemy

John Bowman and Simon Poulter 1984

Following the successful journey from Norwich, England to Rouen, France dressed as a chicken and a rabbit, which was sponsored by Norfolk art consumers, Bowman and Poulter made a speculative approach to Shirley Cargill for money to fund a new project.

Shirley was, in 1984, recognised to be an art supporter and benefactrice. After a 'phone call to her, one of the artists paid a visit to one of her homes, Elsing Hall, Norfolk, England. The artist wore a Futilist's robe and took along a box of impossible solids and a certificate of certain death.

The project was explained:
1. to have a solid lead sphere cast at a Norwich foundry
2. to travel to Scotland and climb to the top of Ben Nevis
3. by use of alchemy alone, to launch the satellite into an orbit 1,343 m above sea level
4. the artists to wear matching Futilist blazers and flannel slacks
5. photographic and other records to be made during the whole project
6. a large work to be made on return from the launch, sufficient to dominate the impressive entrance of Elsing Hall

Shirley Cargill's initial response to the project was amusement, turning to bemusement and finally fearful rejection.

The drawings and images here are from sketch books and photos taken around the time that the project was planned.

alchemical procedure

Shirley meets the Futilist

the launch

Futilist's robe

box of impossible solids

certificate of certain death

John Bowman & Simon Poulter 2005