1- The Quandary

"Art does not reproduce the visible; rather it makes it visible." Paul Klee

"Back Enngineered" from the new Full Face Photo (E03-00824)
to match the light values and resolution of the original Viking (70A13 & 35A72)
by jim Grefsrud

To date, the predominant focus of the Mars investigation has been on settling the question of whether the Face on Mars is a natural formation or builders’ art. This has led us down a path of endless photo analysis and debate, not unlike that surrounding terrestrial artifacts of very ancient origin -- for instance, those found on the plateaus of Giza, Egypt, or Marcahuasi, Peru.

The growing quandary over what are the measurements of "reality" for an "alien work of art," and what are the standards/rulers we should use to assess that reality, will most likely continue for many years to come.

Dr. Malin and "the hidden few" at NASA that make the decisions, have been looking for "peer reviewed" information by other scientists. But even uncovering more visual data has not proved sufficient to say one way or the other if the structure at Cydonia is Art or a Natural Formation.

Indeed, if this is an ancient work of art, wouldn’t it make more sense to be looking and analyzing it with the tools of Art itself? Should we not be looking through the ancient records of our own planet (given that at least half the Face seems human) for clues to understanding the significance of its primordial message?

Have we have been so focused on the "artificiality" question... that we have neglected the more fundamental implications of such a momentous find - its overarching meaning?

Should we not approach this artifact with the same awareness we bring to Picasso’s "Guernica"; Duchamp’s, "Figure Descending Staircase"; or Pollack’s hidden, two-face icons? Surely, more would be served now by meditating deeply on the implications for humanity if we began to seriously consider this approach?


  • What clues does the Face on Mars now offer -- if any -- about our own ancient (and still almost completely unknown) evolutionary past ...?

  • Does it possibly embody in its Monumental form symbolic stories of our human DNA?

  • What about myths related to our consciousness?

  • And, what is the symbolic significance of the depiction of the feline?

These questions are far more complex (and, frankly, far more interesting) than "scientists" versus "the artists." As everyone knows, there are the hunters and there are gatherers. The hunters strike out for new territory, exploring the unknown, and in so doing expanding the boundaries of human awareness and consciousness. The gatherers remain put, providing essential stability required to literally maintain the system. Both the Arts and the Sciences have their "hunters" and "gatherers." In the Art world, the Impressionists fought a hard battle to break free of the French Art Academy and thus birthed modern art as we now know it. In the Sciences, Galileo paid dearly for holding to his vision.

Today, in the space sciences, we continue to have "gatherers" - experts who are very good at keeping systems stable, and without whom, minus their practical space science and engineering applications, space travel itself would be literally impossible. Yet, many of these "experts" now presume they are the only human beings qualified to define the realities of Space. But are they really? Are they qualified to be the ultimate arbiters, or even authors of reality "out there?" For instance, are they truly qualified to evaluate a work of Art ... in Space !?

Where is the subtle line separating "the real" from the so-called "ink blot test?" This is a valid question - certainly after twenty years of dealing with the scientific, political and artistic problems of "Cydonia."

Yes, the linear process of "science" is a great tool for gathering and quantifying the data that’s come back from Space, especially background readings on the age and make up of other objects in the solar system. Yet, those are not the tools appropriate (or even able) to understand the Soul of Space... the Message of the data - especially, any kind of truly "anomalistic data." This calls on the spatial / non-temporal mind rather than the linear / quantitative mind. Whatever it turns out to be, the fact is that the question of "the Face" has become a catalyst in the collective consciousness of millions, stirring primal memories and hoped for dreams and fears.

In all fairness, one cannot (and should not) lump all scientists together (or all artists for that matter...). In this process, we observe two basic types of scientists:

(1) the "visionaries / hunters" -- who are willing to risk it all. Galileo, Tesla, and Hawking are obvious examples of this group.

(2) the "scientific priesthood" of "linear thinkers / gatherers" -- who perpetuate and maintain the accepted models, creating stability for the system, yet at times stifle fundamental growth -- by closing off the visionaries through their stubborn attempt to "maintain the status quo" (the peers of Galileo, Tesla, et al.).

Within the current NASA, we clearly can discern (as exemplified by the true story of Louie Freidman -- a former JPL manager who became the Executive Director of the non-governmental "Planetary Society" -- who literally covered his eyes when first handed a packet containing Cydonia research by the early Independent Mars Investigation Team) this fearful "status quo" attitude of the resident "scientific priesthood." Scientists who are so threatened internally by a challenge to their belief system, whose position is so fragile, that they will NOT ALLOW themselves to even see another possibility.

Then there are those linear thinkers who claim they "want to see"; who actually manage to create a framework that allows them to embrace an identity as a "pioneer" by departing somewhat from the limitations of the actual data and their fellow linear thinkers -- even to the point of manipulating in their minds "pixels and shadows" to substantiate (in the case of the Face on Mars) their prior perceptions of "adorning diadems" or "perceived facial symmetry," and more... all in an effort to make the data predictably acceptable to their own pre-conceived ideas (and consciousness) -- rather than truly discovering "what is."

Finally (in this age of the federally funded monopoly of science), there is the inevitable layer of political reality: why do those in NASA who do see (and they do exist...) NOT WANT THE REST OF US TO SEE!? Indeed, has our attention been continually, deliberately diverted all these years into endlessly debating the question of the "reality" of the Face on Mars to keep us from deeply examining its meaning?

Some, when confronted with an unprecedented phenomenon, remain stubbornly opposed to accepting anything unfamiliar as "reality." Others (as just noted) seem to have a need to "add familiar elements" to such phenomena, to confirm that what they see is still part of their personal "reality." The truly open mind -- willing to explore and discover what actually is there, to suspend judgment long enough to leave an opening for reception of The Message (if any) that is being communicated from their encounter with an unexplained phenomenon - is truly rare ...

Throughout the history of this planet, great civilizations have inevitably been measured by their art (just look at Egypt!). Art has in fact been the eyes and voice of all societies, the expression of the creator’s psyche in its social setting, acting as a platform to launch the consciousness of all his or her viewers to a larger understanding. The artist brings together elements to inspire the viewer’s imagination... to expand the given "theme" - whatever it might be Art has thus served as a catalyst for the transformation and unification of the collective consciousness throughout all cultures on this planet; why would we expect any less of a highly sophisticated society living on another, nearby planet?

What we are witnessing in our terrestrial response to this ancient Martian Cydonia enigma called "the Face on Mars" is nothing less than the temporal displacement of consciousness and the igniting of secrets codes within our collective human unconscious. One only has to walk into any Modern Art museum to understand how utterly useless scientific measurements are for understanding The Message being communicated by that kind of "archetypal phenomena" - by a fundamental work of art.

For those who are now struggling to experience this literally monumental Art -- The Face on Mars - for those who find it confusing to see two faces (or other forms) combined on a single Martian mesa, remember that the scale of this Monument meant that most of the time, for most viewers, it was seen one image at a time ... and then in profile. And, as the sun traveled across the Martian sky, it "sculpted forms in light" upon features that were carefully laid out to respond to this literal movement of planetary Time. Facial Features -- designed to trigger deep realizations and emotions in the intended audience for this extraordinary Monument (including us?), to be so prominent in one view - were obviously (now) intended to quietly dissolve into literal invisibility just hours later.

Ironically, it has turned out that this is not NASA’s time worn, overused 20-year cliché -- "a trick of light and shadow." Rather, it is a tour de force of the Builders’ increasingly apparent genius in using "light and shadow" to create almost truly Timeless Art ...to communicate a Message down through time that "someone" thought profound ... It’s now up to us to stop quibbling about the reality of what we are seeing at Cydonia, to turn our collective efforts and imaginations to finally understanding the true meaning of that Message ... of a Martian work of Art.

" This object/sculpture was obviously intended to be a LIVING sculpture -- far beyond even my original estimates in the first editions of "Monuments."


- Richard C. Hoagland

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