A Journey That Wasn't

  • 2005
  • Pierre Huyghe
  • Super 16mm film and HD video transferred to HD video, colour, sound, and an A4 size framed poster
  • 21 min 43 s
“Assuming that an area of non-knowledge must exist geographically and that it is possible to find a gap in the stories that cover a place," Pierre Huyghe embarked on an expedition to Antarctica, where melting ice caps were revealing new islands and accelerating changes in wildlife. He sailed aboard Jean-Louis Etienne’s old ship, Tara, with a team of artists and scientists. Landing on an island, Huyghe converted its topography into sound and light data which was later made into a musical score. The vibrations representing the land mass created a language that was broadcast to the colony of penguins that live on the island, which included a rare albino. Following this fascinating voyage into the vastness of the polar circle, an event was staged at the Central Park ice rink in New York. A symphony orchestra performed the piece, accompanied by lighting effects that momentarily illuminated the movements of a robotic penguin in the darkness, as well as other effects that simulated rain, wind and fog. Huyghe’s science-fiction-like documentary film, A Journey That Wasn’t, takes spectators on a journey through images and sound.

© Adagp, Paris, 2014. Photographie © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


Pierre Huyghe

Since the early 1990s he has been exploring the boundary between the production of the real and of fiction. His work takes different forms such as live situations, films, objects, photographs and drawings.

Huyghe examines many cultural, popular and scholarly themes such as science, science-fiction, literature, philosophy, archaeology, cinema, music, architecture and the work/life balance. His approach often involves collaborations with other artists as well as musicians, architects and scientists.

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