On Ancient Earth

The Artist Expedition Society x Lumen

On Ancient Earth is an exhibition about the relationships we have with the night sky. Projection and sounds based works by 15 artists from 8 countries have been exhibited outdoors at night at The Earth Sanctuary in Central Australia exclusively for the night sky. 

Here, the landscape has been shaped by the forces of fire and water, rather than concrete and steel, and the night sky in Central Australia is uniquely dark.

What lies beyond the outer edges of Earths atmosphere?

This question, when lying here in a swag at night, is stumbled upon naturally. 

This exhibition reflects on our relationships with the night sky, which for so many during these Covid times, has been restricted due to lock down and light pollution.


Desert Festival is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government and Alice Springs Town Council.

This exhibition takes place on Arrente country. We acknowledge elders past, present, and emerging. 

Welcome to Arrente Country

Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia

[The Black Man in The Cosmos]

London, United Kingdom

Sun Ra lands on a new planet in the outer space to seek a utopian refuge for the emancipation of the Black man. An experimental and poetical interstellar journey through the cosmos, addressing the identity crisis issue and traumas among European Afro-descendants.

HOAX MEETING

London, United Kingdom

DRAN’s experimental film proposes the night sky as vibrant matter: stars become bodies, colliding, and shifting within the darkness. The digital imagery in the film imitates astronomical patterns and formations, highlighting the performative energy within stellar movements. HOAX MEETING explores the spiritual relationship between humans and the universe. The scenes are full of luminous objects and uncanny visions, materializing from hand gestures. DRAN intends to present a belief that stars can transcend human capabilities and connect people through time – it constructs a community of identities. Hence, the film is an appreciation of the scale, the aliveness, and the strangeness in what lies beyond. In relation to these unprecedented times, our connection to the night sky and it’s vitality is more important than ever before. It is our human resource that can create invisible bonds between us – since social environments have now become fragile and restricting. How can our preoccupation with the universe change the way we see ourselves and others? How can we find direction and existence within this void? These are questions which DRAN attempts to negotiate between and develop through technology. Special mention to visual artist, Can Askoy for collaborating on filming.

Observing A Baker's Dozen: A Lunar Study in Variations of Size and Shape

Victoria, BC, Canada

In the spirit of discovery and inspired by the Apollo era landings and the festival’s close proximity to the Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve, this short film takes us on a journey across a fictional landscape, focussing on thirteen of the most prominent craters. The pseudo-lunar features were created using regolith recipes from differing sources including NASA’s Educator’s Instructional Guide:Exploring the Lunar Surface, a pamphlet aimed at students grades 3-5, to Maggie Alderin-Pocock’s Book Of The Moon, a must have resource for lunatics. Combining time-lapse footage with a look and feel reminiscent of the images produced by those first cameras taken to the lunar surface, the film is a playful examination of the enduring pull of the Moon in our collective consciousness.

Interplanetary Radio Frequencies: received from different planetary magnetospheres 1979 – 2017

Greenwich/Deptford, London

No sounds can be heard in outer space yet radio waves traverse this environment and are picked up by receivers on Earth. Names like ‘chorus waves’ are given to these plasma waves that recall sounds within our auditory experience, yet these electro-magnetic phenomena are charged particles responding to the influence of magnetic fields from different planets. ‘Interplanetary Radio Frequencies’ explores a parallel experience of visualized sound responding to historical transmissions of radio waves, which have then been refracted into revolving, circular motions referencing interplanetary plasmas.

During 1980, Voyager 1 picked up magnetospheric activity on Saturn. Radio waves received included rhythmic gong-like sounds produced by Voyager’s stepper motor, contributing to the sense of time, space and alterity of these liminal transmissions. More recent radio waves visualized in this installation were received between 2012-7 from the Van Allen Probes, responding to ionospheric activity in the Radiation Belts 60-36,000 miles away from the Earth. The clarity of these transmissions contributes to the perception that they were recorded on earth. The chorus waves sound rather like birds in a rainforest, as existed throughout Australia when it was part of Gondwana 50 million years ago.  All sound files from University of Iowa’ Space Audio

Yes, I am still up

CAI

Arctic Finland / London

A compilation of donated images and videos of the night sky from a circle of trusted friends. We have shared late night calls with each other throughout the years when the dawning day was too much to bear

Erased Moon

Dublin, Ireland

Can the moon be understood beyond any human description or naming? As soon as we [us humans] name something we claim possession or ownership of that thing. In an effort to understand, we label and categorise; colonising the object or place. I have, therefore, erased the word “moon” in an effort to save it from a capitalist market. Creating a series of descriptors using a combination of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives; appropriating the language of Tlön, a fictitious planet imagined by Borges in his infamous ‘Ficciones’, 1944. 

Set seven years in the future, he alludes to an un-materialistic world; one in which the inhabitants speak a language void of nouns. This change in speech shifts the inhabitants’ understanding of their world as “objects in space” to a world understood as “a series of actions”. My hope is that if the moon is not an object then it cannot be owned or exploited, preserving its existence and the night sky.

Other voices

Moscow, Russia

This audio piece is made in early summer of 2020 as part of my personal project that is called “Coronavirus vs encephalitis”. The project uses video and audio mediums to contemplate on the two dangers that are present at the moment in the area where I live, ie a Moscow suburb. On the one hand – the COVID virus and the need to avoid dangerous human contacts. In search for solitude I often find myself walking in the nearby forest – the only outdoor space that allows for self isolation. But there lies another danger – the insects that cause encephalitis.

This danger is somewhat undervalued, yet more than 5000 people living in Moscow suburbs was affected by this disease solely during the spring of 2020. When I go for a walk in the forest I think of the loneliness that people face during this times. And when the night sets in, I look up at the starry skies that emerges as the mediator between the two dangers and also as the only witness evoking the romantic notion of sublime as something that cannot be grasped by human mind…

Notes on the (Microscopical) Character of Krakatoa

London, United Kingdom

Notes on the (Microscopical) Nature of Krakatoa chronicles the journey of volcanic dust from eruption of Krakatoa in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) which took place on August 26, 1883. A Norwegian vessel named the Borjild was in the vicinity of the erupting Krakatoa where volcanic ash fell and accumulated on the ships’ deck. A year later, the ship made its way to Dublin Port, docking in February 1884. John Joly, a geologist at Trinity College Dublin obtained samples of the volcanic ash and wrote a paper entitled ‘Notes on the Microscopical Character of the volcanic Ash from Krakatoa”. The film is composed of Joly’s own geological specimens, including ash and pumice from Krakatoa and voiceover excerpt from the aforementioned paper. The work was made in collaboration with the Trinity College Dublin Geology Department and funded by Offaly Co. Council (Secrets of Offaly).

Lunar Breath

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Everything relates to everything else, one small impact calling for a resonance, the transformation of the whole picture. Is there’s anything more reassuring than continuous movement? Like breath, the roaring of the earth and the moon drawing the tides. 

Water ripples shot under full moon projected on the desert rippled sand surface.

Surface to surface, blending patterns,tactile melodies of gravity. From starry skies to the depts of our waters. Journeying to the rhythms and tones of place.

Super 8 / Length: 8:20min (the time it takes for the sunlight to reach the earth) / Sound: underwater recording of photosynthesis (weeds) blending with undercurrent, waves.

To The Ends Of The Earth

London, United Kingdom

An experimental film reflecting on my relationship with the sea, horizon, and sky – my three constants within the marine environment. Using film footage and photographs shot during my journeys onboard a cargo ship, a tall ship and a yacht, sailing in the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. I discover the remoteness and connectedness of each location – a pristine environment broken by our presence.

Away from land there are no visual references other than the Sun, Moon, stars and the horizon – traditionally used by sailors to navigate. Changing light registers my journey through each Earth day. At night the stars are as clear and as abundant as I have ever seen them. Days and nights are endless. The passage of time is slow and the constant motion is disorientating and exhausting.

Ancient Light 16mm

London, United Kingdom

This film forms part of my series “Ancient Light” which considers how it is possible to capture light from distant stars onto photosensitive film. This 16mm films aims to show the spin of the Earth, as the stars appear to move through the sky. This piece was commissioned by Bow Arts.

A Dream to Space

Paris, France

This video installation presents the sending of a dream to space: three pages selected from astronomer Camille Flammarion dream’s notebook. At present time, the dream is traveling onboard NASA Osiris Rex spacecraft through space and goes back in time. It journeys towards the asteroid Bennu, towards the night of the dream, this morning of 1856 when Camille Flammarion, young man, foresaw in the folds of his dream the forest of Aldebaran.

The video retraces the take-off of the dream. It is projected alongside a reproduction on a mirror plate of three pages of the astronomer’s dream book.

With thanks to NASA_Osiris Rex team as well as historians Philippe Baudoin and Patrick Fuentes for opening the doors of Camille Flammarion’s archives.

Video credits :Directing: Anaïs TondeurImages: NASA Osiris Rex, Bryan DavisSound: Olafur Arnalds, Verses, 2015Realisation: Anaïs Tondeur

The Distant

Perth, Western Australia

A work that utilises radiofequency, vocals and instrumentation. Inspired by the vastness of the desert, the sky above and the space in between. The Distant is a response to the fragility of humanity and the magnitude and possibilities that exist within our universe.

A Set of All Points (2020)

London, United Kingdom

Scrapped from social media on a single day, these images of the moon are first identified using computer vision then arranged into the order shown using a different type of algorithm to create a different type of a record of a moon phase. The title refers to both the technical mathematical description of a circle (used by the algorithm to find the moon in the pictures) and its relationship with the infinite, but also gestures at the impossibility of collecting all images to create a complete collection of knowledge of the moon, given that one half will always be unknown.

Under the Fading Light

Margate, United Kingdom

This film depicts Louise’s two long term views of the night sky, from the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand and central London, England. Earth’s rotation creates day and night cycles, and it’s orbital motion and tilt of its axis causes seasonal changes which are used by flora and fauna for ecological processes. Artificial lighting is devastating these natural rhythms. It is easily forgotten that we are on a planet that is a single, fragile, ecosystem when looking through this haze to a starless sky.

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If you are inserted in joining The Artist Expedition Society at The Earth Sanctuary on October 2nd 2020 please click the image below.

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