GAM 2018 Blog

By Daniela De Paulis

poem by Ione

Since starting my collaboration with Astronomers Without Borders in 2010, my work as an artist has changed, shifting from a mostly studio-based practice, to an interdisciplinary and global venture. My current work involves international collaborations with astronomers, radio astronomers, neuroscientists and people from all walks of life. It is amazing for me to help organising every year the art programme for Global Astronomy Month and to present my project OPTICKS to a worldwide audience. Thanks to my collaboration with AWB, OPTICKS has developed into an international event, during which we send to the Moon and back images submitted by our world wide community, turning each event into a unique experience.
This year OPTICKS was truly special: I invited playwright/director Ione to participate for a homage to her life partner and noted composer Pauline Oliveros. I have been long inspired by Oliveros's work and her experimental pioneering approach to sound and music. In 1987, Oliveros staged for the first time the performance 'Echoes from the Moon', at the end of which she had people queuing to speak to the Moon and back via a phone line, using the Moonbounce technology. Oliveros and Ione repeated the performance several times throughout the years, always drawing great enthusiasm from the participants. For GAM 2018, I asked Ione if she would be interested in collaborating in attempting to re-create the excitement of 'Echoes from the Moon' by having members of our global community tuning in for a few minutes during our live online show and speak to the Moon and back. Ione thought the idea was wonderful and accepted the technical challenges posed by the experiment. For 'OPTICKS/Echoes from the Moon', we had a fantastic international panel, featuring Ione, our very own Andrew Fazekas and Jessica Santascoy, Scot- Gresham Lancaster, a long term collaborator of Ione and Pauline Oliveros, Jan van Muilwijk, my collaborator in all my OPTICKS endeavors, radio astronomer Roy Smits, myself and Tanguy Roussel, a student of mine from the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris. Together we had a flowing conversation about art, science, the Moon, the technical challenges required to perform each of these events using Moonbounce in real time. As always, we presented the programme from the cabin of the Dwingeloo radio telescope in The Netherlands, a 25 metres dish that can receive very strong echoes from the Moon. After reflecting off the Moon the wonderful images submitted by friends and people from all over the world, we opened the panel to our online community, with people entering the 'virtual' room on FB live from the US, India and Malaysia to say a brief sentence to the Moon and hear the echo of their voices. At the end of the show, Ione performed her poem 'Moon, Mond, Luna, Lune' which created a poignant meditative silence in our panel discussion. We are looking forward to presenting 'OPTICKS/Echoes from the Moon' again in the near future, in collaboration with Ione and Scot and with the virtual presence of Pauline and her intense pursue for experimentation.

Moonbounced photo with Pauline Oliveros

Moonbounced photo with Pauline Oliveros (Credit: IONE)