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Entrance to the Republic of the Moon

In the Bargehouse near the Oxo Tower, The Arts Catalyst embarked on a rather odd project called the Republic of the Moon. It incorporated lunar-based works from a number of artists and was designed to explore our relationship with the Moon.

This was an odd experience to say the least, particularly the dark and silent room created by Liliane Lijn who plans to project the word SHE onto the surface of the Moon. Moon Vehicle was an interesting project based in India, where students designed their own lunar vehicles.

I really liked Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon, which was a series of beautiful images showing him and his own small Moon in various settings. My favourite work, though, was Katie Paterson‘s Earth-Moon-Earth. Paterson sent messages in Morse Code which were reflected from the surface of the Moon and then received again on Earth. Some parts of the messages were lost, absorbed by shadows or vanished into craters. One of the messages she sent was the score of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata – the resulting score plays on a self-playing grand piano. Listening to the result is eerie: it is recognisable as the famous sonata, but with unsettling differences.

The top prize for weirdness has to go to Agnes Meyer-Brandis and her documentary Moon Geese Analogue: Luna Bird Migration Facility. Inspired by bishop Francis Godwin’s 1638 book Man in the Moone, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by migrating ‘Moon geese’, Meyer-Brandis has raised eleven geese from birth, given them astronauts’ names (one is called Neil!) and embarked upon a training programme designed to prepare them for travel to the Moon. This was one of the strangest things I have ever seen, and the documentary was oddly compelling.