That’s me, standing next to a communication dish at Tidbinbilla, a place just outside Canberra in Australia. It’s one of three stations that NASA uses to communicate with craft in deep space; Voyager 2, the Mars rovers, and all that other great stuff exploring for humanity.
When Tom Sachs built his communication dishes for Space Program 4, he could have named them Madrid or Goldstone, but he went with Canberra - he named his dishes after this place in the picture. It was one of those cosmic flukes that made me very happy. But not because of a photo from when I was a kid with denim shorts and knee-high orange socks.
When my mum took this picture, I wanted to become an aeronautical engineer. For something like eight or nine years, it was my whole childhood focus; eventually, I managed to finish school with grades good enough to study ‘aero’ at university. But you know what? When I finally got to university? I didn’t enjoy it. The dream crumbled.
So I deferred, left home, and moved to Canberra. My proud parents went from having their eldest studying aeronautical engineering at a prestigious ‘sandstone’ university to, uh, having a kid that was attending art classes in community college.
That’s why I love Tom’s Canberra reference because it’s the nexus of my paradox - what’s my purpose? I’m still exploring and trying to figure that out… I should take the kids to Canberra.
Originally written for the Sachsian Syndicate.
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