For the 10th edition of the Québec City Biennial, Avatar partners with Manif d’art to co-present Earth-Moon-Earth. The work will be shown at Avatar’s studio from February 19 to March 13, 2022.
In the half-light of Avatar’s studio, a player piano loops a sonata created in collaboration with a celestial object. The slow movement of a variable range of notes, true to the aura of the original music, creates a simultaneously gloomy and awe-inspiring atmosphere. In the absence of an instrumentalist, the Moon seems present, as though it is the one leading the ghostly performance.
Earth-Moon-Earth (E.M.E.) radio is a form of transmission whereby messages are sent in Morse code from Earth, reflected off the surface of the Moon, and then received back on Earth. The Moon reflects only part of the information back: some is absorbed in its shadows or lost in its craters.
For this artwork, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was translated into Morse code and sent to the Moon. Returning to Earth fragmented by the Moon’s surface, this historical composition was then re-translated into a new score, the gaps and absences becoming intervals and rests. The “Moon-altered” piece is played on an automated grand piano.
Katie Paterson (born 1981, Scotland) is widely regarded as one of the leading artists of her generation. Collaborating with scientists and researchers across the world, Paterson’s projects consider our place on Earth in the context of geological time and change. Her artworks make use of sophisticated technologies and specialist expertise to stage intimate, poetic and philosophical engagements between people and their natural environment. Combining a Romantic sensibility with a research-based approach, conceptual rigour and coolly minimalist presentation, her work collapses the distance between the viewer and the most distant edges of time and the cosmos.
Katie Paterson has broadcast the sounds of a melting glacier live, mapped all the dead stars, compiled a slide archive of darkness from the depths of the Universe, created a light bulb to simulate the experience of moonlight, and sent a recast meteorite back into space. Eliciting feelings of humility, wonder and melancholy akin to the experience of the Romantic sublime, Paterson’s work is at once understated in gesture and yet monumental in scope.
Katie Paterson has exhibited internationally, from London to New York, Berlin to Seoul, and her works have been included in major exhibitions including Turner Contemporary, Hayward Gallery, Tate Britain, Kunsthalle Wien, MCA Sydney, Guggenheim Museum, and The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. She was winner of the Visual Arts category of the South Bank Awards, and is an Honorary Fellow of Edinburgh University.