Among next years commemorations of the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landings, one story will be likely be downplayed, and perhaps even forgotten entirely. Werner von Braun was the first head of NASA’s Marshal Space Flight Center and the chief engineer of the the vast Saturn rockets which launched three astronauts to the moon. Feted and rewarded for his role in the Apollo program, von Braun’s crowning triumph obscures much darker origins, a life story of two contradictory halves, bisected perfectly by the events of the Second World War.
Before 1945 von Braun had designed ballistic missiles for the military of Nazi Germany, including the V-2, a forty foot rocket designed to rain terror on cities like London and Antwerp. Captured and transferred to the United States at the war’s end under a covert program, von Braun continued his work, and began an improbable transformation from untried war criminal to the space hero he is mostly remembered as today.
Using an unconventional narrative structure to draw together imagery from these two contradictory lives in contrast against each other, Wv.B seeks to lay bare the moral complexities of von Braun’s life, and of space science in general.
-Shortlisted for the LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2018