top of page
The Ash Is Your Mirror

The Ash Is Your Mirror



Moon Gallery, Nanoracks, Voyager Space


Hay tanta soledad en ese oro.

La luna de las noches no es la lunaque

vio el primer Adán. Los largos siglos de la vigilia humana la han colmadode

antiguo llanto. Mírala. Es tu espejo.


There is so much loneliness in that gold.

The moon of every night is not the moon

That the first Adam saw. The centuries

Of human wakefulness have left it brimming

With ancient tears. Look at it. It is your mirror.

—Jorge Luis Borges translated by Robert Mezey

Humanity has always put faith and hope in the moon, and the moon has returned that faith with light and steady predictability. Our positive and imaginative vision, shared by our ancestors, places the moon on a higher ethical and elevated plane. Taking this a step further, we strive to present ourselves in the best possible light with our travels to the moon, as with our explorations of the cosmos. As a musician, I’m fascinated by the famous golden records which are rapidly flying away from us into unexplored space. The contents of the records were chosen with great care, and show some of humanities greatest cultural achievements. But what of the darker side of life on our planet? Of course we don’t want to share that with potential neighbors in the cosmos. Humanity’s history is also one of rape, violence, aggression, destruction, and as Borges says, ancient tears.

So I’m intending to write a text about the worst accomplishments of man – wars and cruelty. This is hardly our civilization’s greatest work. Yet it is unquestionably significant.

I might write the text on a large sheet of paper, in a spiral, outside, at night in the moonlight. And then burn it. The circular physicality of the paper, the periodic nature of the spiral writing, the light in the night, and the dusty grey ash of the burnt tears all reference the moon and its steady relationship to our lives.

One could easily interpret this ritual of destroying a depiction, as a shamanistic or religious rite. A kind of cleansing. The destruction of destruction, as it were. But in no way will my actions as an artist efface the violence of our planet. I can only call attention to our mistakes, and remind people that others, from other planets, and other galaxies, not to mention our future descendants, and their children – others may look back at our artistic brilliance, and dismiss it for the destruction we have caused. Worse, our destruction may eliminate all traces of our artistic heritage. And all that will be left is those two golden records, streaming aimlessly into outer space.

The ash is our mirror.

Technical information:

Artwork name:

The Ash Is Your Mirror




Guy Livingston



This work is part of the following collection:

Moon Gallery




1 x 1 x 1 cm



IAAA Art Style:

Launch vehicle / mission:

Antares 230+ / NG-17 Cygnus resupply mission

Host spacecraft / hardware:

International Space Station



Launch location:

NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia

Launch date:

19 Feb 2022

Orbit / space location:

LEO, International Space Station (ISS)

Return vehicle:

SpaceX Dragon 2

End date:

11 January 2023



Client / Agency:

Moon Gallery, Nanoracks, Voyager Space


Guy Livingston

Pianist, radio maker


Guy Livingston


Moon Gallery


Moon Gallery


Let's do this together!

This record is a work in progress. We invite you to contribute to this archive.
If you have additional information to share about this artwork, or if you spotted an error, please leave a comment below.

Share Your ThoughtsBe the first to write a comment.

Are you the copyright holder of this artwork and do not wish to be included in this archive, then let us know by mail and we will remove your record.

Copyright Disclaimer: Exception to copyright for libraries, museums and archives. Copies for the preservation of cultural and scientific heritage: libraries, archives or museums can restore works or make digital copies of works in order to preserve and conserve them for future generations. More info here. This database and its content are protected. More info here. No copyright infringement intended.

bottom of page