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Steve Brower’s “BPL”

Parker's Box
2008-01-01

Conspiracy theorists still believe that the Apollo spacecraft landing on the moon was filmed on a soundstage in Culver City California. This collection of artifacts and documentation, all beautifully displayed in Plexiglas vitreens, seems an attempt by an eccentric to fight back with his own plethora of low-ball high-tech gadgets and memorabilia. Brower Propulsion Labs was, supposedly, the secret last stop for wanna-be astronauts and knuckleheaded ideas that didn’t make the grade with NASA. The tragic-comic tale of Conrad Carpenter, a down sized astronaut recruit, is pictured with spacesuit drawings, rocket launch pack, and funerary photos of the failed attempt to blast his ashes into space. Other items of interest are: the Mission Control Desk with web cam; a miniature spacesuit designed for ether a “monkey of orphan”; and a sketch of an apparatus for smoking in space. This is high-concept high-jinx that’s still trying to get off the ground, but does reach new altitudes in the orbit of “simulated/authentic” humor.

—James Kalm
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