Artist's Mark Dennis and Chris Gommersall have been working together since 2008. For this exhibition they have written a piece of music entitled 'Hymn to the United Federation of Planets' for string quartet and synthesized voices, in celebration of the constitution of the fictional interstellar federal republic from the Television series Star Trek.
The work tries to imagine the creation of a piece of music from the perspective of a utopia in which the sole purpose of the arts lies in the promotion of the species-capacity for perfection. The Hymn to the United Federation of Planets will be performed live on 12 March and will be installed as a multichannel installation thereafter for the duration of the exhibition.
The United Federation of Planets was created with the aim of ending war via the establishment of a federal republic of sovereign planets bound together by a perfectly just constitution, consistent with the innate right to freedom and equality of all its citizens. As has often been noted, the Federation bears remarkable similarities to a Kantian concept of international justice. Across his political works, Kant argues that the civil condition remains incomplete when justice is restricted to a domestic level and where a state of nature exists between states. We have a duty therefore to establish a universal and lasting peace secured in a cosmopolitan republic of all states, together and separately.
The lasting enthusiasm for Star Trek's Enlightenment vision of human progress towards a cosmopolitan future is unashamedly hopeful. Even as the Federation exists in an unrealistically utopian context of perfect altruists enjoying a universe of abundance, it may assist us in bringing the thought of our own obligation to the establishment of global justice and perpetual peace as an idea of pure reason closer to intuition.