The Mid-20th Century created a potent utopian cultural idealism based around faith in technology that expressed itself in many ways. Space exploration was both the most public and the most extravagant of these manifestations.
In the current climate, the idealism and hope for the positive outcomes from the use of technology have largely been supplanted in the national discourse by other factors and ideals. But what would happen if the utopia envisioned by the ideals behind the Space Race had actually been realized? What if a low-budget version of that imagined future came back to analyze the present? Who would it send? It would send The Factronauts.
The Factronauts are intrepid explorers sent by their parent agency, Nor-cal Artists Seeking America into the unknown and unfamiliar world of the contemporary United States. Their mission is to collect, analyze and interpret the facts they encounter while maintaining their good humor and belief in the effectiveness of their process. A nation they no longer recognize as a familiar and safe landscape becomes other-worldly, a surreal and at times hostile place that is fractured by social, economic and political divisions. They have become foreigners in their own backyards.
The Factronauts comprise a series of performances, docu-fiction hybrid videos that function simultaneously as documentation of the performances and part of the piece, photos and other ephemera. Peter Foucault and Chris Treggiari most frequently wear the customized explorer suits while Vita and Bryan Hewitt work primarily on the media and documentation aspects. All four artists work together on the conceptual elements of the piece.