Fifty years after the Apollo Moon landings, artist Laurie Anderson will be flying audiences there with the UK premiere of her virtual reality work, To The Moon, developed with the artist Hsin-Chien Huang.
Using images and tropes from Greek mythology, literature, science, sci fi space movies and politics, To the Moon creates an imaginary and dark new moon. During the 15-minute VR experience, the viewer is shot out from earth, walks on the surface of the moon, glides through space debris, flies through DNA skeletons and is lifted up the side and then thrown off a lunar mountain.
Scenes include Constellations which features life forms that are becoming extinct; DNA Museum in which audiences fly through the skeletons of dinosaurs which morph into a Cadillac, in a play on the history of fossil fuels; Technology Wasteland in which the moon is imagined as a dystopic dumping ground for plastics and nuclear waste; and Snow Mountain which takes its inspiration from the plot line of space adventure movies, where the viewer’s virtual body dramatically tumbles away into deep space.
Laurie Anderson says: “What humans can and can’t do in the natural world is one of the several themes in ‘To the Moon’. The piece is dedicated to the ancient Chinese painter who made a huge vertical landscape - a painting of a mountain with groves of pine trees, a steep road winding up to the top, waterfalls, tiny hikers with walking sticks, thatched bamboo huts, and fishermen casting their nets in the sea far below. The painting was very intricate and it took many years to make. When he finally finished the painting, he walked into it. This is what we aim to do with ‘To The Moon’, allow the viewer to literally walk into a work of art.”
To the Moon is presented at Manchester International Festival alongside a new audio-visual installation - a rare and exciting opportunity to explore Anderson’s ideas in development as she works towards a new piece which will premiere at The Factory, the new world-class cultural space currently being built in the heart of Manchester, operated by MIF.
John McGrath, MIF Artistic Director and Chief Executive said: "It is an honour that Laurie Anderson is going on a journey with the Festival, The Factory and Manchester. This summer will be a unique opportunity to gain insight into an artist’s process as well as a thrilling opportunity to take a VR trip to the moon.”
Laurie Anderson To the Moon is commissioned and produced by Manchester international Festival. MIF19 runs from 4–21 July 2019 and features artists from across the globe premiering a variety of new work in spaces throughout the city. For more details about this year’s programme, please visit mif.co.uk.
Images can be downloaded here: http://press.mif.co.uk/mif19/
Laurie Anderson, To the Moon
Manchester International Festival
Friday 12 – Saturday 20 July, 11am to 9pm (timed slots), £5
mif.co.uk / +44 (0) 333 320 2890
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