/22 Outer spaces

Jonathan Roessel


An American philosopher once said that the universe is observed through our eyes, that it listens to its cosmic harmonies through our ears and that we are the mediums which render it conscious of its glory and magnificence. Robert Hurt, a visual imager for NASA, stated that telescopes are our cybernetic eyes and that they enlarge our vision beyond the visible line of light only accessible to our biological ones. The images of space we have nowadays are highly detailed and available to everyone via the Internet. However, few realize that these images are not a result of a camera, in the traditional sense of the word, but of an extrapolation of data, of electromagnetic waves that are interpreted by scientists. It is through this process of production that the image suggests an interpretation transcending that which is real and which no longer bears any single likeness. Astronomy is a science that needs to maintain a constant dialogue between the imagination and rationality. This resonance makes the images it produces difficult to understand. Science has the ability of renewing the imagination by transcending the limits of the visible; by articulating scientific articles and openings to nature, it can also reveal the vestiges/frescos/ representation/images of the human adventure. Today, while knowledge is largely built on through images, science also remains an inexhaustible source of fiction. “The images that you, the scientists, give us provide us with a certainty. You will understand me when I say that it is uncertain if tomorrow we will be able to find stories that will renew our expression. But it is certain that tomorrow science will bring us images that we have no idea about”. This infinity remains the fruit that nourishes a crowd of fans, from the experienced amateur to the qualified scientist. The/this project presents itself as a metaphor for our curiosity of the unknown universe. Far from being just random shots, these images are a result of a meticulous decision and reveal more than the manifested content: They tend to conjure up the laws at work in a cosmological world. My approach, therefore, implies extending the notion of scientific documentary to include what Denis Guedj calls “science fiction” or “true fiction”.