This video explores Venus in its dual conception as Earth’s sister planet and as a repository for more than 2000 places named after females and mythological women of Earth. Starting at the site of the first Russian landing in 1967 in Eistla regio, we encounter both 50 sites and their female counterparts as we rove over the surface through these painted scenes.
Realised from the imaging of Venus from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft in 1990, Lily Hibberd’s strangely detailed landscapes draw from remote sensing radar images known as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). As she painted the surfaces and sites of Venus during six months, the planet has risen in the evening sky through her studio window. Seeing this, Lily wondered if Venus might be gazing back at her: Venus seemed closer, Earth much smaller. And, she thought, the territorialization of the other planet tells us very little about Venus itself.
In contrast, the attribution of female names or mythological figures to more than 2000 sites on Venus has produced another planet entirely. Venus is not only a celestial body in which we see ourselves, it is a repository for the countless imaginings of the female across human civilization. The “off world” most often associated with fertility has given birth to a place virtually peopled with womenfolk. To travel through the painted terrain is to encounter these entities not only as landscapes, bodies, or myths, but also incredible, powerful female souls.