Espace [IM]Media

Véronique Béland

Les astronautes de la raison ont peuplé le ciel nocturne

Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Art

This is Major Tom to Ground Control (2012) – Generative installation
Le vide de la distance n’est nulle part ailleurs (2016) – Collection of Space Poetry
Recombinaison (2015) – Interactive installation

This is Major Tom to Ground Control is an installation piece consisting of a random text generator that is controlled by the reception and analysis of radio waves from the cosmos, picked up by a radio telescope from the Observatoire de Paris. In the installation, we first hear the sound of these waves, a kind of more or less turbulent crackling noise resulting from their conversion into audible frequencies. The text generated by the dedicated computer program is then recited by a synthesized voice, then printed continuously on a matrix printer in order to create an infinite archive of messages received from the cosmos.

Veronique Beland _ This is Major Tom to Ground Control (2012) from Veronique Beland on Vimeo.

At the crossroads of art, science and literature, Le vide de la distance n’est nulle part ailleurs is the editorial paper extension of the installation This Is Major Tom To Ground Control. The book owes its title to the very first sentence produced by this device. It is from 11,545 textual fragments – themselves from the 27,757 pages printed by the installation since its inception – that the publishing project took shape through a process of writing by assembling-and-gluing. It should be noted that in 2013, these thousands of pages were the subject of a 45-day consecutive performance during which the artist made an almost uninterrupted reading.

Recombination is an interactive installation that invites the public to lay their hands for a few seconds on a touch sensor connected to a meteorite. The visitor then receives a message from the cosmos specially dedicated to him: a textual fragment from the installation This is Major Tom to Ground Control. Here, it is the presence of the visitor that makes the Universe speak; it is the contact of his hand with this object formerly present in interplanetary space that generates this “spatial poetry”.
Monitoring the invisible is an uncertain operation: how do you know if what is captured corresponds to reality? At the same time, there is nothing to indicate that what is transmitted to us from the cosmos does not have the function of infiltrating our world, our reality. In this round trip of connection-transmission with interstellar space, Véronique Béland’s works remind us that what binds us together and to the world is both variable and indeterminate. And at the heart of our sometimes unpredictable communications is our ability to see beyond what is being monitored.

Photos: Cyprien Quairat