As an in-class exercise and side project in my Core Studio 3D course, I was tasked to interpret the idea of a “Family of Objects”, and create a set of 3D objects with that idea in mind. In my initial sketches, I conceptualized a “Family of Objects” to mean an actual family of objects (partner 1, partner 2, child– could be any gender, or sexual orientation, etc). At first I thought of a family of Russian nesting dolls, but decided that was too derivative and generic. Then I thought of a group of 3D printed action figures, but dropped the idea thinking it was too complicated, and since learning how to use Maya in such a short amount of time (as well as an entire class in 3D design in 2 weeks) would prove too difficult. From there I thought more broadly, and conceptualized a family of spaceships (Mothership, Fathership, and Childship), as well as a family of little aliens made out of clay. I eventually carried over the alien idea and realized, with help from my Prof., that I could make this family of objects out of very simply materials. Thus, I scrapped my old ideas, and re-conceptualized my “family” as a family of aliens completely covered by aluminum foil, and only aluminum foil.
The family is composed of a mother, father (wider than the mother and possessing of a small horn on his head), son (in the middle), and infant fetus of indeterminate gender. Despite being covered in aluminum, their body shape and plan implies they are lanky, long-necked reptiles of some sort with tentacular arms and an amorphous, gooey lower half (even though my original designs had the aliens be octopus like at their lower bodies). I created the aliens’ rectangular ship (a not to scale model) simply by wrapping aluminum around the actual box it came in. The ships of the aliens are purposefully long and rectangular since the aliens culturally value (and valued) pragmatism and making do with easy to find materials, and knew that long ships are the most efficient for space travel, similar to how humans use cylindrical craft due to their low drag and their ability to simulate gravity when spinning in space (rings do the same). The arrangement of this alien family is extremely specific– the son looks up at the Mom, who is holding in her appendages a newborn child, and looks down at the son, while the Father watches on. It’s One Big Happy Aluminum Family!
I came up with a science fiction story surrounding this little family of aluminum aliens, which is as follows:
These low-tech extraterrestrials (explains the aluminum costumes) biologically need to be covered in aluminum foil and rudimentary technology at all times due to their extreme sensitivity to natural light and heat (aluminum is an insulator of heat). This family is one of only a surviving few of their species who traveled across the stars for many years after their home planet Cryalum, normally cold and orbiting a dim red dwarf star, was ravaged by the passage of a much larger yellow star through that planet’s system. Its gravity and extreme heat caused these alien people to burst into flames, and their world to become engulfed in the flames. Those who survived were situated on off-world colonies who only slightly or moderately felt the gravitational effects of the incoming star, but once they saw what happened to Cryalum, and the rogue star’s lethal effects on the system’s asteroid belts, whose space rocks threatened to destroy other nearby planets and their moons, they conspired to leave their home system, and find refuge somewhere else. Because of the low technology of their ships, it took years for them to exit the bounds of their system, by which time some asteroids had already begun to whiz by across the planets, showering them with destruction, with some planets even colliding with one another or being ejected out of orbit. Some space rocks even impacted the fragile ship of the aliens. By the time the surviving aliens escaped the clutches of their home system, only a few dozen ships remained, with their populations slowly dying and starving as they headed towards another star system about 5 light years away.
Following their arrival to this new star system on a hospitable planet, which they called Xalgib, the aluminum covered aliens decide to procreate and send ships all across the galaxy to ensure the survival of their species. A few dozen ships are sent every few years in different directions all across the stars. About 20 years after the aliens’ arrival to their new home, a rogue series of asteroids from the belts of their original home system crashed on Xalgib, killing the entire population on that world, leaving only those on their ships amongst the stars left, not once, but twice.
One of the ships inadvertently ventures alone into the void between stars, having been one of the last ships to leave Xalgib before the disaster– one whose occurrence they will not know for many years due to the delay in the travel of Xalgib’s distress signals across the vastness of space. A tragedy. This ship carries a single family inside, kept cryogenically frozen, even in their aluminum suits. The ship’s computer detects that it is approaching a new solar system, and it manages to identify the most habitable planet there for the alien family, relative to their biology. It’s not Earth they desire, but the icy moons of Jupiter. It isn’t long before humans discover the approach of this craft through their probes, from a species technologically ahead by only about 20 to 30 years. As the aluminum aliens awaken and grow accustomed to their new home, they are unaware of the space race happening on Earth and the scramble of all the world’s most powerful nations to meet these aliens first. What they do not realize however, is how much these poor extraterrestrials despise the light and our Sun, hiding in the dark side of Jupiter’s moons and only venturing to the light side to gather resources from nearby worlds. Should these aliens make contact with humans, they might be afraid of us due to our ability to withstand light and heat, and our worship of the Sun across many cultures, or they might see us as fiends and go to war (but why they would if they are already weak and frail is the mystery).