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☟In the beginning...☟

Publication, 15 x 11cm, 80pp, 2022

In the beginning... is the centrepoint of a multiform research project about a colony of tardigrades who crash-landed on the moon. Tardigrades, known colloquially as moss piglets or water bears, are one of the only animals known to have survived all five mass extinctions. Following the crash of a spacecraft in 2019, they are also the first known Earthling to (potentially) reside on the moon. This spacecraft was carrying the Arch Lunar Library: a time capsule containing a microscopic library to represent all of humanity, designed to exist in space for billions of years. Within this archive was organic material, including a colony of tardigrades. Incredibly hardy creatures, tardigrades have previously been observed to survive the pressures of outerspace, and so since the crash-landing on the moon are possibly still alive, if in a somewhat dormant, desiccated state they were put into to travel.

Inviting you to fantasise about the future lives of the tardigrades living on the moon, In the beginning... spins a fairytale of galactic proportions where reverence is afforded to the beings most adept to avoid extinction and tardigrades become Chthonic goddesses. In this tale the lunar tardigrades are also joined on the moon by their favourite vegetal habitat - moss. The spacecraft crash has unleashed the moon’s biggest secret and burst a spring of water deep underground. Thriving in the moon’s magical water, the moss and the moss piglets multiply until the moon becomes covered in moss and the moss piglets grow into one colossal, moon-sized being, soon to be known by the humans on Earth as ‘The Great Cosmic Other’. As the loss of moonlight sends the planet into chaos, a deeply entwined history between tardigrades and the origins of life is quite literally unearthed. Through an attempt to solidify their status in the world for billions of years with their intergalatic archive, humanity (or more pertinently, one human) had inadvertently triggered their own extinction.

This work is part of a multiform research project about a colony of tardigrades who crash-landed on the moon. Related works are: The Lunar Moss Piglets in the Sea of Serenity and As quietly as moss grows.

I have been invited to present my research underlying this project as part of the ‘Platform for Art Research in Collaboration’ (PARC), an experimental research platform by The Royal Academy of Art (KABK) and The Royal Conservatoire (KC) in The Hague, and the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA) of Leiden University. The platform is in development and will launch in late-2022.
Installation shot of In the beginning... at the Stedelijk Museum, Breda. Presented as part of the project ‘Ontdek de Nacht’ commissioned by KOP, in conjunction with my public sculpture The Lunar Moss Piglets in the Sea of Serentity.