The Things? by Marguerite Humeau forms the second chapter in a design trilogy, further exploring the possibility of communication between different worlds and the means by which knowledge is generated through the impossibility of reaching the object of investigation – it being extinct, unknown or physically inaccessible.
Marguerite Humeau regards The Things? as a fictional trip to Europa performed as a real expedition to Antarctica. The project could be seen as a contemporary homage to Georges Mélies's A Trip to the Moon. In collaboration with V2_, Marguerite will develop the performance in Antarctica. She will make use of the V2_Lab to develop the required 'props'.
Her exhibition at the Design Project Room in Genève entitled "THE THINGS? – A TRIP TO EUROPA (TRAILER SHOW)
Proposal for Serenading Outer Space Creatures with Stunts, Vibrations, Light, Chemistry, and Live magic" which runs from 6 December 2013 till 9 February 2014 is also part of this project.
The press release for that exhibition runs as follows:
"Marguerite Humeau has exhibited her work in the most prestigious institutions such as Museum of Modern Art in New York, Hayward Gallery, Cité du design in Saint Etienne, Mudac, De la Warr Pavilion since she was initially noticed with her diploma project called Proposal for Resuscitating Prehistoric Creatures – an odyssey which quest was to resuscitate the sound and to create an opera of prehistoric creatures. The Things? – A Trip to Europa is a design odyssey that was triggered by the rumour that creatures are living under the ice cap of Jupiter's icy moon Europa.
The Things? – A Trip to Europa forms the second chapter in a design trilogy, further exploring the possibility of communication between worlds and the means by which knowledge is generated through the impossibility of reaching the object of investigation – it being extinct, unknown or physically inaccessible. This exhibition has been conceived as a trailer. It includes: the opening credits for the film of a future expedition that has not been shot yet, an epistolary novel, and performative props for the first stunt designed to serenade almost- outer space creatures in Antarctica.
The project is a fictional trip to Europa performed as a real expedition to Antarctica. The ‘Black Smokers’ – underwater volcanoes which give off a thick black smoke – of Antarctica are thought to be the closest equivalent on Earth to Europa's mysterious depths. The East Scotia Ridge, located near the Antarctic ice cap in the South Atlantic Ocean, is therefore used as a test bed for the exploration of Europa and as a location for the project.
About two years ago, against all expectations, unidentified species were found living in these ‘Black Smokers’, without any oxygen or sunlight. The dream of encountering extraterrestrial life came true … and the idea of communicating with these otherworldly beings became the resulting ambition.
These creatures are known to exist, but their means of communication are still mysterious to humans. I had to speculate on these aliens’ habitat. The creatures might be blind, and are potentially microbes, worms, albinos crabs, octopuses or other strange and unknown creatures. However, they might feel the shapes and movements of their surroundings by emitting and receiving sound waves, vibrations, light and chemical powder.
A Trip to Europa is a proposal for serenading these creatures with stunts, vibrations, chemistry, light, and live magic. Acting as a designer-illusionist, the designer has conceived devices and incantatory performances to trick these otherworldly creatures into responding to her communication signals.
I will perform incantatory stunts: a series of live stunts staged live on and around the ice cap of Antarctica, above the underwater volcanoes, with sound-emitting props, artificial chemicals, vibrating inflatable dummies, air guns simulating explosions and other special effects.
I call these performances ‘Design Blockbusters’.
My intention is to coax the creatures into revealing their secrets by re-enacting stories that happened in Antarctica and which the creatures might have witnessed. By adding a fantastical twist to each of these stories, fictions will be invented for these otherworldly beings.
This new type of entertainment will be conceived and orchestrated to reach these specific lifeforms. The obscure cinematic machinery presented might therefore appear cryptic to human spectators.
All will be intended to elicit a response, but there is no guarantee that there will ever be one.
An expedition yacht will depart soon from the southern point of South America with the destination of Antarctica. Its mission is to produce the first 'Design Blockbuster' for these almost-extraterrestrial creatures: a fictionalised re-enactment of a mysterious plane crash that happened above the East Scotia Ridge in 2010."