Claudia Reiche, Helene von Oldenburg – What is the MARS PATENT and what does it do? – 2004

including The ‘Oldenburg-Reiche Prize’, Rules and Information for the Competition 2004/2005


First publication workshop Space: Science, Technology and the Arts in collaboration with ESA/ESTEC, 2004

Home away from home. A poll on the space community.

As introduction to the work of the MARS PATENT please see the following 6 questions of a poll inspired by the well known (especially US-American) slogan “Home away from home”. (Table 1) The MARS PATENT initiated this poll in May 2004. 523 persons (participants and friends of the MARS PATENT) were asked for their opinions on the questions. The resulting numbers will be delivered within MARS PATENT’s presentation in Noordwijk at the “7th Workshop on Space and the Arts” and can be filled in on site. If you can’t attend the workshop, the correct numbers will be sent to you on demand as a free service. (You are welcome to guess the results on your own as well.)

Table 1. Questions of the poll “Home Away From Home”

‘What is the Mars patent and what does it do?'

Have you ever dreamed of seeing works of art and theory on Mars? Now you can! (Fig.1)

Fig. 1. The logo of the MARS PATENT. Please note the black rectangle and imagine what may be hidden from sight.

The MARS PATENT is the first interplanetarian exhibition space founded by Helene von Oldenburg and Claudia Reiche. You are invited to experience culture on a fascinating and promising new site. Millions of miles away the red planet now lies within your reach – in a completely new way. Since the early days the MARS PATENT committee has been working hard to find a discriminating place for your desires which allows a new sight on Earth: The MARS PATENT offers its MARS EXHIBITION SITE (MES) (Fig.2) to you as a free experimental area and invites every thing which does not fit completely on Earth but tends towards the MES.


A thing? A real thing? Could be your idea, your object, your work, your question, your protest, your project, your desire… (Fig. 3)

Fig. 3. A real thing?

Mars – still untouched by human hands – is a dry, cold and poisonous place and often experienced to be of terrific beauty. The Mars Exhibition Site (MES) is located near the equator in the north of a lowland area named Elysium Planitia. MES is a floating area. Its slightly changing form is a strung-out rectangle. Think of an area of approximately 3148 square kilometers offering a wide range of altitudes within a rocky landscape filled with incredibly shaped lava masses – exposed to storms and temperatures varying rapidly between -127 °C and +15 °C. The MARS PATENT is a place for art and theory and sensible to its various concepts. With MARS PATENT’s HRM_1.0n (High Reality Machine) (Fig. 4) we offer cutting edge technologies for installing sculptures, Internet relay chats, kinetic objects, art-and media theories, science fiction literature, telepresence systems, videos, sound installations, manifestos, web-art etc. by teleportation. This machine will become a potent device in your hands to place your things on the MES.

Fig. 4. HRM_1.0n (High Reality Machine), appearence: camouflage

The main feature of the HRM_1.0n is the signal transmission with the ‘sender’ located on Earth and the ‘receiver’ located on Mars. The teleportation by the HRM_1.0n signifies an irreversible transfer from Earth to Mars. No matter treated by the HRM_1.0n will remain undamaged – from slight atomic disturbances to even more destructive effects. We differentiate a) Matter-Signal-Matter-Transformation (complete teleportation), b) Signal-Matter-Transformation (signal realization), c) Matter-Signal-Transformation (matter realization). HRM_1.0n’s Capacity of Signal Processing Rate: 1027 Tetra Flop/sec. Transmission Shaft Size is 32cm x 24cm x n cm.

In order to illustrate the conceptual process, that has to be completed before any teleportation by the HRM_1.0n takes place, the following example is useful. If a submitter plans to send “a line” to the MES, there are different possibilities how to do so. (Please note: The example refers to “a line” only in the geometrical sense.)

Table 2. How to send “a line” to Mars (formatting for the HRM_1.0n)

The HRM_1.0n’s way to carry out the wishes to send “a mere concept” of a thing or “as data” is technically and epistemologically tricky, if not impossible. But nevertheless we have no prove, that during previous tests with the machine on this problem no concept and no data were teleported. At least no material changes could be perceived and this possible fault could be ruled out definitely.

As a controlling device (for instance in the above discussed cases) THE MARS PATENT additionally provides an ongoing live-report from the local situation of the project’s area, the MES. (Fig. 5) The 24 hours MARS CAM service for every project is accessible at http://www.mars-patent.org/report/report.htm.

Fig. 5. Live Report by MARS CAM

Attention: female first names only will be accepted! (Fig.6)

Fig. 6. MARS PATENT’s “female privilege” rule, http://www.mars-patent.org/form/form.htm

The question “If I’m not of female sex, could I register under a female name?“ is answered in the MARS PATENT’s Frequently Asked Questions (http://www.mars-patent.org/faq/faq.htm): „The HRM_1.0n (High Reality Machine) is not able to control the biological identity. It’s your commitment that counts“, even “ If they [the aliens] come up with a real e-mail address, they can always try. With a female first name we encourage every alien to participate.“ The „female privilege“ rule is thus carried out strictly symbolically and processed by the HRM_1.0n’s binary structure.

This call goes out to all readers of this text: Send your thing to the MARS PATENT[1]!

The 'Oldenburg-Reiche prize', rules and information for the competition 2004-2005

Fig. 7. The ‘Oldenburg-Reiche Prize’, in 2 polished brass plates for personalized engraving of the winner’s name

In 2004 the MARS PATENT’s founders Claudia Reiche and Helene von Oldenburg agreed to underwrite a contest designed to prove that the HRM_1.0n (High Reality Machine) works and to explain its principle functions. The authors pledged a Grand Prize of two polished brass plates (Fig. 7) for the first scientist or artist whose solution is convincing to the MARS PATENT’s grand jury. This jury consists of 5 (five) randomly chosen members of the friends of the MARS PATENT with an international reputation and experiences as jury or program committee members, chairs of institutions or else. This jury will stay anonymous until the results of the reviewing process being declared to guarantee their independency. One brass plate with the engraved name of the winner will be teleported by the HRM_1.0n to the MES, and fixed with 2 brass screws on a beautiful rock on Mars, coordinates: Latitude 19° N, Longitude 281° E, facing south. The second brass plate will be given to the winner at her or his free disposition. Attention: the “female privilege” rule is modified here. If there are two equally convincing submissions, the female author will be declared winner. Submissions should be e-mailed to: office@mars-patent.org until December 31, 2004, 24:00. The winner will be notified on the first of May 2005 and presented on the MARS PATENT’s website, as will every submission to allow a public discussion of the submissions and the jury’s choice.


Editor’s Note: Most of the links from the original references below are no longer valid. We have removed them. You can however find them in the original publication from 2004


[1] http://www.mars-patent.org

Concept, content, design, performance: Claudia Reiche, Helene von Oldenburg.

Programming: Alexandra Bialas.

Contributors until May 2004: Ellen Nonnenmacher, Marina Grzinic, Dellbrügge & de Moll, Flora Urania Museum für werdende Kunst, Lena Eriksson, Judith Siegmund, i-love-u, Reva Stone, Gisele Bone, Maya Consuelo Sternel, Iana Krachounova, Stephanie Dean, Claudia Raddatz, Eugenia Gortchakova, Anna Pein, Doro Carl, Susan Chales de Beaulieu, Pio Diaz, Katherine Williams, Jamilia Jazylbekova, Saide Sesin, Ursula Palla

Collaborations: Mars Polar Lander Participation Certificate, presented to Mars Gallery by Dr. Wesley T. Huntress, Associate Administrator, Office of Space Science, NASA, 17.4.1998, on transporting the former name of the MARS PATENT on a CD-ROM wih the Mars Surveyor ’98 Project to Mars;

AIRBASE, curated by Torsten Flüh, Helene von Oldenburg & Claudia Reiche Introducing The Mars Gallery, Photos, Facts & Fiction, An Internet Project, 30.7.1998, Dublin (IRL), Presentation with information graphics, diapositifs and objects derived from teleportation tests;

Opening 26.9.1999, Office of the MARS PATENT, Hamburg (De) with Ellen Nonnenmacher: Strickliesl on Mars, Installation and Presentation;

Mondo immaginario, Group Show, curated by Elke aus dem Moore, Shedhalle Zürich (CH), 1.10.-28.11.1999, Presentation and on-line installation; Shedhalle/Programm 1999, edited by Shedhalle Team, Zürich (CH) 2000, Helene von Oldenburg/Claudia Reiche: Call to all dreamers and wannabes, p. 86-87;

Infection manifesto, Zeitschrift für Kunst und Öffentlichkeit, no 3, edited by Andrea Knobloch, March 2000, Helene von Oldenburg/Claudia Reiche: Mars Patent: Call to all cyber- and other feminists, p. 84;

netz.kunst-künstlerInnen online, [Auswahl und Redaktion: Verena Kuni, Frankfurt/M., Stand: 17.6.2000];

n.paradoxa no 11, Defining Experiences: feminist exhibitions in the 1990s, What is your most memorable experience of a feminist/women’s art exhibition in the past 10 years and why? Did it challenge or change your understanding of feminism?, Ulrike Bergermann on MARS PATENT, November 2000;

FACES | PROJECTS M-R, list showing webworks by women;

Kunststücke – ein Galeriespiel unter dem Titel von Liebe, Geld, Abenteuer, curated by Galerie Helga Broll, Claudia Reiche/Helene von Oldenburg: Presentation of the Mars Patent, 10.12.2000, Basel (CH), Lecture with information graphics, installation;

Tiefenschärfe, edited by Zentrum für Medien und Medienkultur der Universität Hamburg (D), March 2001, Ulrike Bergermann: Praktizierte Virtualität. Das Netzprojekt Mars Patent zeigt High Reality, p. 18-20;

levels #2 talk, curated by Andrea Knobloch in the Galerie am Parkhaus, at the occasion of: Themenheft Frühling, 27.3.2001, Berlin (De), Presentation;

n.paradoxa, international feminist art journal, Economies/Exchanges, vol 8/2001, edited by Katy Deepwell, Website Reviews, p. 95;

ifu related ressources on the web, edited by Internationale Frauen Universität, net.art and other electronic art, last updated 5.3.2001, http://www.wifu.org/links.html, filiale, zeitgenössische kunst gender vermittlung – schaufenster, curated by Verena Kuni, commented link, last updated 19.4.2001,

Opening 30.4.2001, Office of the MARS PATENT, Hamburg (De) with Flora Urania Museum für werdende Kunst: Romance, Installation and Presentation, The Guardian: Is there conceptual art on Mars?, comment on the MARS PATENT, 27.7.2001;

Space, From Earth Gravity to the Surface of Mars, Installation throughout Peformance, curated by Ferens Art Gallery/Hull Time Based Arts, Ferens Art Galley, Kingston upon Hull (GB), 3.9.-14.9.2001, Installation, Poster Presentation;

MarsNews.com, NewsWire for the New Frontier, Mars Movies, related Websites, September 2001, Commented link, http://www.marsnews.com/focus/movies/;

Opening 18.9.2001, Office of the MARS PATENT, Hamburg (De) with Judith Siegmund: A Really Short Attempt at Communication with (Wo)mankind and Extraterrestrials, Installation and Presentation;

i-love-u, additional link to their project on the Mars Patent website, October 2001, http://www.i-love-u.ch/mars/editorial/editorial.htm;

Opening 26.3.2002, Office of the MARS PATENT, Hamburg (De), with Maya Consuelo Sternel: Visit an Alien Resident, Installation and Presentation;

Ein unguter Ort – doch besser als die Welt, series of exhibitions, performances, lectures, curated by COPYRIGHT Projektbüro (Ute Lindner/Patrick Huber/Bernhard Thome), Projektraum in der Galerie Kampl, Claudia Reiche/Helene von Oldenburg: “Ein un-ort-end-licher Ort: der Mars”, Berlin (De), 11.5.2002, Presentation, http://www.copyright-projekt.de/presse/pressearchiv_12.html;

COPYRIGHT, Ein unguter Ort – doch besser als die Welt, Rahmenprogramm des XXI. World Congress of Architecture der UIA Berlin 2002, Symposium, curated by COPYRIGHT Projektbüro (Ute Lindner/Patrick Huber/Bernhard Thome), Akademie der Künste Berlin (D), 24. – 26.7. 2002, Lecture, Das Mars Patent: Datentransfer und Teleportation. Zu den technischkonzeptionellen Grundlagen der ersten Ausstellungsfläche auf dem Mars, http://www.copyright-projekt.de/projekte/-02orte/akademie.html;

Motz Berliner Straßenmagazin, edited by Friedrich Adolphi, Sonderausgabe by COPYRIGHT Projektbüro (Ute Lindner/Patrick Huber/Bernhard Thome), Ein unguter Ort – doch besser als die Welt, no. 15/2002, Claudia Reiche/Helene von Oldenburg: Mars Patent – Die erste interplanetarische Ausstellungsfläche auf dem Mars, p. 22; Urtux, Kein Ort, überall – Kunst als Utopie, edited by Institut für moderne Kunst Nürnberg in collaboration with Verena Kuni, Nürnberg 2002, Claudia Reiche/Helene von Olderburg: Mars Patent, Haben Sie jemals geträumt…, p. 6475;

Open A.I.R. 2002, Die internationale Künstlerinnenstiftung Die HÖGE präsentiet ihre neuen resident artists, 26.5.2002, Högenhausen (De), performance by Claudia Reiche;

Galeriespiel part two >>> VERNISSAGEMARATHON, curated by Galerie Helga Broll in cooperation with Galerie Hinterconti, Hamburg (De), 1.9.2002, presentation and installation;

Fundus im bateau bleu, by invitation of Peter Jap Lim, Claudia Reiche/Helene von Oldenburg: Der marsianische Seiltrick (vom bateau bleu zum Mars) Kassel (De) 5.9.2002, presentation and videoscreening “String” by Claudia Reiche/Helene von Oldenburg;

Aussstellen, Workshop, curated by Andrea Sick, Frauen.Kultur.Labor TheaLit, Bremen (D), 26.10.2002, presentation; n.paradoxa, Online links: n.paradoxa, Women’s Art Work on the Net, edited by Katy Deepwell, February 2003;

Skrevet i stein. En net.art arkeologi. – Written in Stone. A net.art archaeology, Bergen University (No), Exhibition March 2003;

Rhizome, Net Art News, Helen Varley Jamieson: Exhibition in Space, 27.8.2003;

Joe Jennet’s Daily Webthing, 27.8.-2003, MARS PATENT;

Hall of Fame, edited by bildwechsel, Hamburg (De), September 2003;

Picatrix, edited by Michael Heinrich, November 2003;

01xy, Allemagne | art réseaux: artistes et groupe d’artistes, November 2003, http://benjah.free.fr/3a.htm;

Engineering Gender. Konfigurationen kybernetischer, virtueller und biopolitischer Existenzen, Conference organized by genus, Münsteraner Arbeitskreis für gender studies, Claudia Reiche/Helene von Oldenburg: MARS PATENT – die erste interplanetarische Ausstellungsfläche auf dem Mars, 6.-8.11.2003, Münster (De), lecture;

MARS PATENT @ Interkulturelle Begegnungsstätte Hamburg St. Pauli e.V, Opening with Eugenia Gortchakova, Susan Chales de Beaulieu, Doro Carl, Anna Pein, Hamburg (De), 14.11.2003, presentation and installation, passing by, Morgana Nawelbuta or Martina Miranda on behalf of Claudia Raddatz;

La Mèdiatheque du Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, (Ca), galeries et musées virtuels: Allemagne, November 2003;

Beate Engl, Space is a place. Der Weltraum als möglicher neuer Ort für Kunst im öffentlichen Raum im Zeitalter seiner Kommerzialisierung, Masterarbeit im Rahmen des Studiengangs “Public Art and New Aritistic Strategies” an der Bauhaus Universität Weimar, Mentor: Ralf Homann, Betreuer/in: Katharina Hohmann, Joseph Vogl, February 2004, discussion of the MARS PATENT p. 45;

Annick Bureaud, „art spatial, l’utopie de la réalité/Space Art, the Art of the Impossible Made Real“, in artpress, vol. 298, February 2004, mention of the MARS PATENT, p. 37.

© Claudia REICHE, Helene von OLDENBURG & Leonardo/Olats, mai 2004, republished 2023.