Client: Socrates Sculpture Park
Location: Queens, NY, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $75,000
Socrates Sculpture Park
Passage to TOI-700 d is a portal to a second Earth, from a future where the colonization of extraterrestrial land has been conducted.
Humanity’s search for a new home has been conceptualized as the path to salvation, echoing the Eurocentric “new world” rhetoric that fueled the colonization of the Americas. The current expansion of territory, reframed through an anthropocentric lens, views extraterrestrial land as resources awaiting possession.
As viewers encounter this structure, the allure of another world beckons. They must choose their actions: Do they give in to their desire to explore and risk repeating the history of colonization? Or search for an alternative way out for life on earth?
This project is presented in the newest exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park (Queens, NYC) titled SINK OR SWIM: CLIMATE FUTURES. This year, Socrates asked artists to consider the present-day ecological conditions and challenges that our globe faces. Shieh’s futurist aesthetic points to the science fiction trope of the human search for life on another planet as a necessary outcome of environmental degradation on Earth. In particular, Shieh's sculpture presents ‘sunlight’ and ‘blue skies’ as indicators of a utopian, habitable environment. He began the project by researching artificial skylights commonly used in retail and healthcare spaces and created his own version of an artificial sunset with epoxy resin. Through computer modeling and 3D-printed prototypes, he developed the precise measurements that were required to create an illusion of a boundless afternoon sky. The project was built on site over three months at Socrates Sculpture Park.