Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility

An ambitious commission that tells the story of the artist's project to raise and imprint her colony of Moon Geese and train them for life on the Moon

Agnes Meyer-Brandis’s poetic-scientific investigations weave fact, imagination, storytelling and myth, past, present and future. In Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, a major commission, the artist developed an ongoing narrative based on the book The Man in the Moone, written by the English bishop Francis Godwin in 1603, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth within her project Moon Goose Colony at Pollinaria in Italy; giving them astronauts’ names*, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions and housing them in a remote Moon analogue habitat. (* Neil, Svetlana, Gonzales, Valentina, Friede, Juri, Buzz, Kaguya-Anousheh, Irena, Rakesh, Konstantin-Hermann)

The remote analogue habitat simulates the conditions of the Moon and was accessed and operated from Meyer-Brandis’s control room installation within the gallery, where instructional videos, photographs and vitrines of the geese’s egg shells and footprints were displayed.

Meyer-Brandis developed the contested history of Godwin’s original fiction – posthumously and pseudonymously published as if the genuine account of the travels of Domingo Gonsales.  She wove a narrative that explores the observer’s understanding of the fictitious and the factual, with a nod to notions of the believably absurd.

Oxford academic, William Poole [1], in his Preface to the 2009 edition of The Man in the Moone [2], explains the importance of Godwin’s work, “First, it is a work of literary sophistication.  It is narrated by a slightly implausible figure who does a number of very implausible things, not least fly to the moon and back.…its supposed time-frame further heightens readerly problems about who and what to trust in this text, and why… its finely integrated discussion of various state-of-the-art ideas about astronomy and cosmology – magnetic attraction, diurnal rotation, and the possibility of interplanetary travel and extraterrestrial life.  The dramatisation of these discussions in The Man in the Moone is at once a form of popular science and also a form of popular fiction.  This is the age-old problem of fiction – the probable impossible intermingled with the possible improbable."

The Moon Goose Colony

A film in 19 installments by Agnes Meyer-Brandis tells the story of the artist's project to raise and imprint her colony of Moon Geese and train them for life on the Moon, watch the introduction here.

Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, 2011 links directly to Meyer-Brandis's, Moon Goose Colony, 2011, a project during her residency at Pollinaria, Italy, the site of the remote analogue habitat where the artist has raised and houses the colony of moon geese. 

Notes


1 William Poole is John Galsworthy Fellow, New College, Oxford, and author of The World Makers: Scientists of the Restoration and the Search for the Origins of the Earth (2010).
2 The Man in the Moone (1638) (Broadview Editions) by Francis Godwin and William Poole (Paperback - 1 Nov 2009), preface

Reviews and blogs about the show

    The Rhizome

    Art Monthly (February 2012) review 

    Liverpool Daily Post, Moon Goose Analogye interview 

    BBC World Service - The Strand, Agnes Meyer-Brandis interview 

    Criticismim.com - Moon Goose Analogue 

      Partnership

      Commissioned with FACT and first shows in Republic of the Moon, Dec 2011-Feb 2012 at FACT, Liverpool

      Presented with AV Festival, Newcastle-Gateshead, 2012

      Pollinaria, Italy

      Supported by

      Arts Council England Grants for the Arts

      Artist's website

      Agnes Meyer-Brandis

       

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      Primate Cinema: Apes as Family

      A two-screen video installation made for and with chimpanzees by artist Rachael Mayeri in collaboration with comparative psychologist Dr Sarah Jane Vick.

      This documentary outlines their project.

      The Project

      In Primate Cinema: Apes as Family, the artist imagines a primate social drama in a contemporary urban context and shows this to a chimpanzee audience. Her two-screen video installation juxtaposes the drama enacted by humans in the guise of apes (of a young female city ape befriending a group of outsiders) with mesmerising footage of the reactions of its ape audience at Edinburgh Zoo.

      As the watchers of the watching chimps, we perceive - or we imagine - fascination, puzzlement, and flashes of anger in their responses. Sited in different spaces in Los Angeles and Edinburgh we are never sure whether we are seeing a lab, zoo, wildlife park, rumpus room or post-apocalyptic landscape inhabited by half chimp/half humans. Mayeri’s intriguing and amusing story-and-response structure contains darker undercurrents in its contemplation of the lives of our captive close relatives.

      To make Primate Cinema: Apes as Family artist Rachel Mayeri collaborated with comparative psychologist Dr Sarah-Jane Vick, testing different styles and genres of film to gauge chimps’ responses and discussing issues around cognition and communication in research primates.   


      Rachel Mayeri is a Los Angeles-based artist working at the intersection of art and science exploring subjects ranging from the history of special effects to the human animal.  Her ‘animated documentaries’ often combine motion graphics, live action, documentary, storytelling and Hollywood-style genres.  In 2009 her Primate Cinema: Baboons as Friends (2007), a film noir re-enactment of a baboon social drama with human actors, was presented by The Arts Catalyst as part of Interspecies: artists collaborating with animals in London and Manchester.

      Partnerships

      Primate Cinema: Apes as Family, a collaboration between Rachel Mayeri and Dr. Sarah Jane Vick, has been commissioned by The Arts Catalyst.

      Support

      Wellcome Trust Arts Award, Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies and Arts Council England. With the kind support and collaboration of Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

      Websites

      Rachel Mayeri

      Edinburgh Art Festival

      Exhibition tour

      Exhibition & Symposium, The Arts Catalyst, London

      Primate Cinema: Apes as Family will be shown in a solo exhibition at The Arts Catalyst, 50-54 Clerkenwell Road, London
      19 October-13 November 2011
      Cinema as Primatology symposium with Rachel Mayeri and Sarah Jane Vick
      Tuesday 18 October 2011, 4-6pm
      The Crypt, St James Church, Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0EA
      Admission free, booking essential. Online booking here:

      Screening 

      Primate Cinema: Apes as Family screening and talk with curator Rob La Frenais
      7pm Wednesday 7 December 2011, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham

      Nottingham Contemporary

      Exhibition & Salon, Abandon Normal Devices Festival, Liverpool

      Primate Cinema: Apes as Family première at AND Festival, Liverpool
      29 September-2 October 2011, 11am-6pm
      TAO Gallery space, Slater Street, Liverpool

      Simian Safari - AND festival Salon event 
      Sunday 2 October 2011, 3-5.30pm
      Hosted by Rob La Frenais, with Rachel Mayeri and Sarah-Jane Vick.  
      What is it that makes us human? Does trying to understand other intelligent species such as chimpanzees or dolphins tell us something about ourselves, our belief that we are somehow unique? In this salon and bus tour of Knowsley Safari Park we explore interspecies communication and whether we can break free of what John Berger called the “loneliness of man as a species”. 

      Abandon Normal Devices Festival

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      The Great Glen Artists Airshow

      The third international artists' airshow

      The Great Glen is a huge natural fissure in the earth, encompassing Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal. In September it will be the site for the Great Glen Artists’ Airshow, with activities that redefine the air as medium taking place at either end of it. Previous Arts Catalyst artists airshows, in 2004 and 2007, involved artists flying objects or investigating aeronautical culture. In common with these earlier airshows movement through air and landscape will be explored. Yet this year’s event will be more abstract, redefining the philosophical territory of the air and the ownership, or the mapping of the spatial landscape.
      At one end of the Great Glen will be the main site, at the Highland Institute for Contemporary Art (HICA), with activities taking place on nearby Loch Ruthven, in the woodlands and on the open brae, or fell.  At the other end of the Glen will be the unique Utopian venture, London Fieldworks' project Outlandia, a treehouse for artists in the sky, in Glen Nevis. The two-day event should prove a unique, unusual and rewarding participatory art experience.

      (Gaelic information available - see menu on left of this page)

      New publication now available

      A Journey though the Great Glen to the Library of Outlandia, mapped out by Adam Dant, published by The Arts Catalyst for Great Glen Artists Airshow is now available for £3 (inc UK postage and packing).  SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER

      The Great Glen Artists’ Airshow, free performances and events at HICA

      • an airborne investigation of wind currents above Loch Ruthven by Dutch artists Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum. Polak will be extending her inventive use of global positioning (GPS) technology in her live performance beside the water in this collaboration.  
      • Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson of London Fieldworks will present new work, installed in the woodland behind the loch, which imagines the flight path of birds as augurs, or omens, part of an ancient tradition of divination by birds. This new project was made in collaboration with a former hunter turned bird guide in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. London Fieldworks are also the creators of Outlandia, the destination of the Sunday bus tour event.  
      • Poet and artist Alec Finlay will read Sky-wheels poems beneath a wind turbine reached through the woodland.
      • Brazilian artist Camila Sposati will create a vast smoke drawing across the horizon of the fell, Yellow Vanishing Point, tracing the landscape, perspectives and contours of the hills, in an ephemeral performance that dissolves into the ether.
      • Participatory flying of 'supremacist kites' by artist, Susanne Norregard Nielsen, suitable for those with kite-flying experience.

      Open Air meal at HICA 5-8pm
      The Territory of the Air, HICA 6-7.30pm.  Free progamme of talks by artists about the military/industrial and aerospace presence in remote places such as Scotland.

      • Artist, Louise K Wilson will discuss her Spadeadam project in which she attempted to trace the remains of Britain's cancelled space programme, Blue Streak
      • Gair Dunlop will provide insights into his photographic and video work relating to contemporary archaeology of the airfield and his forthcoming project at the nuclear reactor Dounreay
      • Esther Polak will talk about the implications and possibilities of increased civilian uses of GPS technologies
      • Claudia Zeiske, Director, Deveron Arts and cultural activist will talk about Walking and Art, in relation to Huntly’s Walking Festival and the recent residency at Deveron arts by Hamish Fulton

      SUNDAY 19 SEPTEMBER

      Perambulatory bus tour of the Great Glen, 10am-5pm, conducted by artist Adam Dant, in conversation with The Arts Catalyst curator Rob La Frenais.  This day-long event takes place along the length of the spectacular glen and will reveal unusual and possibly hidden aspects of Loch Ness and the Caledonian canal with the aid of a new ‘aerial map’, Biblioteque Outlandia, devised by Dant.  

      The climax of the journey will be the arrival at and the first public unveiling of Outlandia, the tree house for artists, which will be inhabited by Adam Dant in the manner of the Scottish enlightenment. Dant will be the first of many artists to transform the Utopian aerial studio, devised and designed by London Fieldworks as a long-term artists project for Fort William. 

      Partners

      The Artists' Airshow is presented by The Arts Catalyst in association the Highland Institute of Contemporary Art (HICA) and Sunday's bus tour created in partnership with London Fieldworks' Outlandia artist's treehouse project in Glen Nevis.

      Support

      Arts Council England, Scottish Arts Council, Henry Moore Foundation, Mondriaan Foundation, Highland Culture Fund, Brazilian Ministry of Culture, The British Council,
      Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, H2007, Highland Council and Nevis Partnership

      Artists' websites

      Esther Polak, Ivar van Bekkum, London Fieldworks, Alec Finlay, Camila Sposati, Susanne Norregard Nielsen, Louise K Wilson, Gair Dunlop, Claudia Zeiske, Adam Dant

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      Zero

      9' film by Mike Stubbs with Gina Czarnecki made on an Arts Catalyst zero gravity flight in Russia

      Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Yuri  Gagarin’s first manned trip to space, in an age when space tourism has become a reality, what does the future hold for our new born? A first shaft of light, a splinter of an image, first movements and a sense of independence. Zero is a lyrical view, playing on the metaphor of weightlessness, mobility, existentialism and consciousness. At what point are we aware of our own bodies, what is private and where does the external world begin?

      Recorded by Mike Stubbs, who was part of a team of artists and scientists invited by The Arts Catalyst to participate in a parabolic flight at the Gagarin Cosmonaut   Training Centre, Star City, Moscow, in 2000. The text comprises writings by Net Robot, Netochka Nezvanova and poet Kevin Henderson.

      Read by Yuri Gagarin and Kevin Henderson

      Construction: Gina Czarnecki

      Sound Design: Gerald Maire

      Commissioners & Support

      Commissioned by PVA MediaLab and Watershed Media Centre with Arts Catalyst and the support of TVI, Duncan of Jordonstone College of Art. Parabolic flight and trip to Russia supported by London Arts Board.

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      Silvers Alter

      Silvers Alter is an interactive installation that takes the form of a large-scale projection within which human forms "live"

      This is a stage for artificial evolution where human ‘control models’ and their created offspring are the subjects for the audience to manipulate and mate. The ‘beings’ that the viewer creates have never existed before - the process of selection generates creatures and sounds with their own individual resonance. The audience exerts selective choice to shape the flow of random mutation and therefore directs the evolutionary course. The audience creates the ‘artworks’ in a real-time experience.
       
      The installation takes the form of a large scale back-projection on which human forms ‘live’. These figures are changed by the audience’s presence and movement within the space. Interactivity is very physical. It encourages a social, physical and verbal interaction between people before the interaction with technology.
       
      The project is an experimental observation of the development of consciousness and science. It is not a fictive game with still unexamined possibilities of genetics and it does not aim to popularise scientific discoveries. It raises many questions: To what extent are we prepared to participate in all that we have made possible and that we aspire to make possible for ourselves? How do we make decisions about who to propagate and who to terminate? When does data become information become knowledge?
       
      It gives the audience the power to create, eliminate and stare, to immortalize their created offspring in data image banks and DNA profiles. Generations are displayed in the growing archive of screen-grab prints pinned around the space – a record of the changing population over time - and different populations will emerge from different locations, countries, nations. Decisions and their effect 10 generations, 100 generations later can be seen – like evolution in fast forward.

       

      Artist's Biography

      Gina Czarnecki works in time-based and digital media making single screen, photographic and installation work. Her recent work has focussed on the ethical and cultural issues raised from the scientific and technological advances in the fields of genetic engineering as well as on their future commercial and non-commercial uses. 

       

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      Kefir grains are going onto the flight

      Film and installation, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium

       

      Yuri Leiderman’s approach involves different stories and occurrences connected to his personal life experiences and obsessions, and transformed into a sophisticated system of visual signs and codes. 

       

      Kefir grains are colonies of special bacteria that look like whitish lumps with a variety of individual bizarre (fractal) forms. Culturing kefir grains in milk, the grains are capable of growing and giving life to their ‘breed’. In this sense they can be regarded as living beings and a good embodiment of Tsiolkovsky's (1) ‘radiant shells of mind,’ that should spread generation by generation and eventually fill the Universe (glass of milk).

       

      Yuri Leiderman's project consisted of 3 stages. In the 1st and preliminary stage, the artist grew kefir grains in Moscow to ’train’ them. He then selected the ‘healthiest’ samples and named them according to special rules.

       

      After the series of experiments and examinations, he selected around hundred of the most worthy specimens; these were taken on board of a Russian space programme training plane and released into zero gravity. Their behaviour (soaring, destruction, accumulation, etc.) was documented for a film that represents the 3rd stage.

       

      The resulting story is representative of many ‘Russian cosmism’ operations, such as Fedorov's (2) "catalogization and preservation" and Tsiolkovsky's "cosmic selection". In this case, all this happens with small, indifferent white lumps - as a metaphor of that movement's grandeur and disaster.

       

      The installation comprised texts on the wall, a video work and objects.

       

      Yuri Leiderman (born 1963 in Odessa) is a writer and an artist whose practice has been closely related to Moscow Conceptualism. In 1987, along with Sergei Anufreev and Pavel Pepperstein, he founded the Medical Hermeneutics group, which he left in 1990. His work has been shown at prominent venues, the 1st Manifesta in Rotterdam in 1996, the 11th Sydney Biennial in 1998, or the 50th Venice Biennial in 2003, among many others. In 1999 he held his first solo presentation “Circles and Lumps” in Slovenia at Galerija Škuc in Ljubljana.  Yuri Leiderman is currently participating in the 7 Sins. Ljubljana – Moscow Arteast exhibition at Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Ljubljana.

       

      The exhibition has been made possible in collaboration with Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia and MOL – Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana. Special thanks to The Arts Catalyst, Yona Fischer, Andrei Silvestrov and Roman Uranjek.

       

      (1) Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857 – 1935) theorised many aspects of human space travel and rocket propulsion decades before others, and played an important role in the development of the Soviet and Russian space programs.

      (2) Nikolai Federov (1829 – 1903) believed that humanity was part of a vast teleological history, which would eventually see mankind evolve into super-beings, at which stage every human who had ever lived would be physically reincarnated.

       

      Credits

      Film made in collaboration with Andre Silvestrov

      Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium (Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol, V2, Leonardo
      Olats, Multimedia Complex for Actual Arts)

      Flight: MIR Campaign 2003

       

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      Celestial Vault

      Utilising the vast TsF-18 centrifuge in Star City, Stefan Gec physically recorded the G-force exerted by the centrifuge on a celestial globe.

      Globes have a long history of depicting the night sky, and historically celestial globes pre-date the terrestrial globe. Subsequent to their disuse as navigational tools they became collectible objects symbolising truth and knowledge. Gec's specially made sphere had the constellations of the Northern & Southern Hemisphere painted on its surface. The globe was positioned in the void normally occupied by the cosmonaut. Installed in the centrifuge, the hollow 12-inch copper globe was exposed to high G-loads (up to ten times normal gravity), causing it to be subtly deformed by the force exerted upon it. The resulting damage and distress caused by this process indelibly marks the globe’s surface, transforming it from its traditional form into something unique whose physical shape has been dictated by the centrifuge.

      Celestial Vault is a response to a different time and movement where something - or someone - is projected into a physical state beyond our usual experiences. Through the use of a representation of space to illustrate this physical force, the work prompts a re-examination of our age-old fascination with the celestial sky.

      Credits

      Special thanks to Neal White for camera work on Centrifuge TsF-18

      Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium (Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol, V2, Leonardo Olats, Multimedia Complex for Actual Arts)
      MIR Campaign 2003

      Exhibitions

      MIR: Art in Variable Gravity, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (Arts Catalyst)

      MIR: Dreams of Space, Stills, Edinburgh, UK (Arts Catalyst)

      Artists Airshow, Royal Aeronautical Engineering Workshops, Farnborough, UK (Arts Catalyst)

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      Too G

      A short film by Andrew Kotting made on MIR Flight 001, 

      Film / Video, 3 minutes

      Production : Arts Catalyst & Star City Moscow.

      “Everything normal. Everything working perfectly.” - Yuri Gagarin

      Andrew Kötting’s video  ‘Too G’ was made after Arts Catalyst’s second trip to the Gagarin Centre in 2001. Inspired by the overwhelming force of 2G and the ensuing befuddlement, the work might be read as a tongue-in-cheek homage to Yuri Gagarin, the people of Star City and the pioneering artists who attempted to create work on a plunging aircraft. Kötting provides an insight into the madness of experimentation in the extreme environment of a zero gravity flight on a Russian military base, where Gagarin’s face smiles down at you from almost every building.

      A wobbly B-film rocket follows a similar trajectory to the parabolic flight path, reaching for the stars before plummeting nose cone first back into the hard Earth, echoing the Russian’s more brutal approach to re-entry landings than the NASA ocean splashdowns. The rocket’s flight links a kaleidoscope of grainy archive images from Moscow, Star City and the parabolic flight on which Kotting participated.

      CREDITS

      Film made by Andrew Kötting.

      Project commissioned by The Arts Catalyst

      Flight: MIR Flight 001

       

      Available on Andrew Kotting's vimeo channel

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      Otolith 1

      22’ 20 digital video by the Otolith Group, commissioned through the MIR programme

      Microgravity’s reorientation of the relations of humans to space, perception to coordination and vision to motor activity implies the reconfiguration of the coordinates of visual language. The essay film Otolith is narrated by a paleoanthropologist born and raised off-world in an agravic future; a woman at home in zero g. Unable, like all future humans, to return to Earth, she has devoted a decade to retrieving, restoring and researching archives of pre-adaptive hominization. By framing the documentary image in terms of scenarios for the future of space habitation, Otolith readjusts the present until it takes on the temporality of the historical ruin.

      The film traces a line between generations of female exploration, centering the story around a meeting in the 1970s between Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova and the anthropologist’s ancestor Anasuya Gyan Chand, President of the National Federation of Indian Women. The narrator recounts the journey of her recent ancestor, Anjalika Sagar, who visits Star City in 2003 to research this historic meeting. Anjalika’s investigations compel her to complete a program of quotidian actions during a parabolic flight that seek to test the adaptation of humans to zero gravity. In Otolith, microgravity is presented as a dangerous interior that locates itself between a non-aligned past, a pressurised present and a mutant future.

      Credits

      Written, directed and edited by the Otolith Group - Kodwo Eshun, Richard Couzins and Anjalika Sagar.

      Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium (Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol, V2, Leonardo Olats, Multimedia Complex for Actual Arts)

      Flight: MIR Campaign 2003

      Screenings & Exhibition

      2006 IFC Centre, New York

      2006 Tate Triennial - New British Art - Tate Britain

      2005 Critical Art Ensemble benefit & 10th anniversary of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts. Festival Avril. Confluences, Paris France.

      2004 City Of Women, Past Transition, Welcome to the Future, 10th International Festival of Women, Ljubljana

      2004 Resonance FM, Frieze Art Fair, London, UK

      2004 Our House is a House That Moves Curator -Natasa Petresin

      Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Pavel House Gallery, Steirischer Herbs, Graz, Austria

      2004 Luggage, Curator - Gabrielle Schleijpen, Nanjing Art Institute, Nanjing.

      2004 Art & War Show, Curator - Mamta Murthy, World Social Forum, Mumbai.

      2004 Critical Art Ensemble Defence Benefit (ArtsAdmin/Arts Catalyst), Toynbee Hall, London

      2004 Open Sources Encounter Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-arts, Tours, France

      2004 LIFT Enquiry, London International Festival of Theatre.

      2004 A Free State Conference. The British Museum, London, UK

      2004 Beyond Belief, Reading Utopia. Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK

      2004 Fly Utopia. transmediale, Berlin, Germany

      2003 Everything Normal, Arts Catalyst, London, UK

      2003 MIR -Art In Variable Gravity, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK. Curator - Nicola Triscott

      2003 Festival of Art Outsiders, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France.

      2003 MIR- Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research. V2 -The Institute for Unstable Media Rotterdam, The Netherlands

       

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      Trajectoire Fluide

      Film and installations of dance and movement experiments in weightlessness

      Kitsou Dubois has been developing a process of experimental movement performed in an environment of altered gravity conditions. She intervenes in the domain of art and science, creating an insight into the rapport between humans and their environment. In 1999, The Arts Catalyst initiated a long-term collaboration between Dr Dubois and the Biodynamics research group at Imperial College to investigate the control of the bodies in altered states of gravity, including weightlessness.

      Trajectoire Fluide was made in collaboration with Eric Duranteau. It was premiered at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadlers Wells, London, in March 2002, accompanied by talks by Dubois and Professor Robert Shroter and a demonstration of TMS by Dr Nick Davey. The event formed part of The Arts Catalyst's Aritsts & Cosmonauts season.

      Trajectoire Fluide was re-made as a video installation and shown in France during in 2002. From October - December 2003, the new installation Fille-Air was shown at the La Maison de la Photographie, Paris, and in 2003, Dubois made the performance Trajectoire Fluide at La Villette, Paris

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