Beakerhead visitors get to explore a development project – on Mars

Persephone Smith-Johansson has been sent to Mars to oversee the building of condo units for Martian colonists. Well, sort of.

Smith-Johansson, who isn’t an actual person, was dispatched on her ‘journey’ at one of the 14 Beakerhead events happening in Calgary from Sept. 13 to 17.

Mars 112 was a walkthrough of the first condo on Mars as the “colonists,” got to explore her condo, inventions, and gently play with Smith-Johansson’s robots.

Smith-Johansson was a character created by the Mars 112 team for their project.

When asked about the project idea, Gina Freeman, the project leader and volunteer at Loft 112 in East Village said, “Let’s do something really complicated and hard.”

With this plan, the team thought about having a remote community that survives on its own, said Freeman.

“The most remote possible community would be on Mars and how we serve people there,” she said.

With this idea, Freeman gathered a team of Architects for developing homes on Mars, including a University of Calgary (U of C) Masters of Fine Arts student who does human-technology interactions, a videographer who put together all the videos of Smith-Johansson, as well as someone who does a lot of LED light projects.

One of the many projects in the Mars 112 site was the “Robot Run,” which allowed the team to meet with the “Robots Are Fun” girls, and place their robots on display for the site.

“Robots Are Fun” was created by an eight-year-old girl who encourages young children to learn about robotics.

They have happily teamed up with Mars 112 and created a “Robot Run” that consists of a difficult series of obstacles for the robots to navigate through with the assistance of human interaction to finish the course.

The run encourages visitors to help the robots along their way and show the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence.

According to Freeman, this year was the first time the Mars 112 team worked together on a Beakerhead attraction.

“Previous years I have just been a volunteer, and we all have had little projects with Beakerhead, but this is our first large-scale contribution to Beakerhead,” said Freeman.

The three U of C architecture graduates each had their own individual project for Mars 112, which all fit into the bigger picture, by relating to the idea of a developer showcasing the different services and options available to live on Mars.

“Instead of looking at a technological solution, we’re looking at more of a social and cultural solution to it,” said Cody Kupper, one of the three graduates who worked on this project.

One part of their project is about a dome to allow farming on Mars.

What made this site unique was that there was no set path to follow through Mars 112 and everyone’s experience was different.

“Everyone will have their own set of experiences, and if they talk to other people who also came to the site they will hear about other stories that will be happening,” said Freeman prior to the closure of the installation.


<strong>Architect On Mars: </strong> Cody Kupper, one of the three Masters of Architectures graduates that worked on this project, standing in front of his team’s work. Mars 112 is one of the 14 Beakerhead events that are open to the public from Sept. 13 to 17, 2017. These photos were taken in downtown Calgary on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. (Photo by Jenny Lyver/The Press)
About Jennifer Lyver 2 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Jennifer Lyver worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.