The French ambient duo AIR’s newest project, Le Voyage Dans la Lune, is a soundtrack for a voyage beyond the stratosphere.
Le Voyage Dans la Lune (translated as A Trip to the Moon) is a seminal French silent film from 1902 directed by Georges Méliès. It was the first science fiction film ever produced, loosely based on Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and H.G. Well’s The First Men In the Moon. There was a version of the film that was hand-painted that was lost for decades, but was found in 1993, and massive efforts to restore the work of art were begun.
In coordination, the Fondation Groupama Gan and Fondation Technicolor asked AIR to score a new soundtrack to the restored version, which you can hear a bit of in the clip above. In 2011, AIR released a new album titled Le Voyage Dana la Lune, which was ultimately inspired by the project.
The soundtrack is definitely a departure from AIR’s earlier sounds. More raw, more evident that there is a human beyond the scenes detailed layers of sound. The album is a work of art, dark but flawlessly executed in typical AIR fashion.
Seems like the news is full of bitter Americans, though Ham the Chimpanzee, the first chimpanzee launched into outer space in 1961, has to be one of the most bitter in history. British artist Joe Wilson produced the above package design for San Francisco based brewery 21st Amendment’s Bitter American Seasonal Ale. It’s a nice, cheeky alternative to traditional alcoholic product packaging which can sometimes take itself too seriously. I know what I’ll be grabbing next time I pop down to the corner store.
The Chinese have a long history of space travel, dating back all the way to the late 50s. So finding a cool space suit definitely wasn’t a problem. The space suit above was created by Wu Ershan as a part of a series called Nomadic Plan in Outer Space. The suits are meant to represent the nomadic lifestyle of the Mongolian people.
I love how the space suit looks, almost like a space age bushido. The layered plates on the shoulders and legs are not only beautiful ornamentally, but also look like they could protect the wearer quite sufficiently. The porthole in the face mask along with the grill kind of look like a smiling face though, which is in contrast to the rest. Perhaps one day we’ll see something like these in 20 or 30 years?
I wanted to revisit his work and put a spotlight on his larger series of cosmonauts done in oil because I find his work rather… gravitating. Jeremy’s cosmonauts series is split; half are depicted in the familiar concrete transportation frontier, crashing to city streets or floating underneath highway overpasses while the other is shown in a soft monochromatic void. Both parts to his series feel interchangeable as if they were captured in sublime silence.
The works reminded me of this Gemini transmission between Gemini IV Astronauts Ed White & James McDivitt after White completed NASA’s first ever spacewalk:
White: That was the most natural feeling, Jim.
McDivitt: …You looked like you were in your mother’s womb.
Cristina De Middel is a photojournalist. Her series “Afronauts” captures the narrative of Zambia’s failed attempt to put man on the moon in a dignified, triumphant light. Her dossier reads:
“Afronauts’ is based on the documentation of an impossible dream that only lives in the pictures.”
Zambia didn’t put space boots on the moon, but these photographs show a quilted portrait of not shattered, unattained dreams, but nationalist hope and determination. There’s some published pieces out there that tries to paint Zambia’s space ambitions in the 1960’s as an absurdity. If you wish to see Zambia unattained goals in that light, I can only wonder want you think of Newt Ginrich’s ambitions for a moon colony while running for office in a country that isn’t funding lunar exploration either. We all have ambitions. Here’s to the dreamers.