Beresheet (hebrew “in the beginning”) is the name of the failed israeli lunar lander who crashed on the surface of the Moon on the 11th of April 2019 as part of the Arch Mission Foundation: a nonprofit organization whose goal is to create “a backup of planet Earth”.
Its cargo was carrying the foundation’s first lunar library, a DVD-sized archive containing 30 million pages of information, human DNA samples, and thousands of Tardigrade specimens: ancient animals who survived all five major mass extinctions on Earth and are nowadays found everywhere, from backyard mosses to the most hostile habitats on the planet. Due to their extreme adaptive nature, they are expected to have survived the Moon crash and, as few theories speculate, they might be still alive in a dormant state.
The central piece of the artwork consists of a large bean bag shaped as such an animal: this practicable sofa functions as a main hub for the audience to lay down and take part in the hearing of a music album. Its combination of spoken narration, techno and synth-pop ballads tells a story that stretches through the ages from the big bang towards an imagined, absurd and distant future.
Within the album, five chapters reinterpret each major mass extinction as a series of new possible beginnings. Every music piece follows the thread laid by the philosopher Timothy Morton’s notion of Hyperobjects: objects so massively distributed in time and space as to transcend localization, “such as climate change, extinction and styrofoam”. This concept has been extended as to include Tardigrades themselves, as creatures with an almost limitless resilience.
The musical narration recounts five possible emotional outcomes in dealing with such nearly intangible catastrophic realities. Its story arch spans from desperation to rage, from resignation to hope, ultimately landing upon proactive acceptance:
- Timothy (or, when the whole thing came about in the first place): a desperate introduction to Hyperobjects and their consequences,
- The white gazelle techno ballad (or, when a point of view as broad as humanly possible was trendy): a furious summary of Humankind’s rise to moral agency,
- Amber (or, when the crests and troughs even out amid sinusoidal and systematic confusion): a resignated list of moments frozen in time and space,
- The girl who flew into space from her garden (or, when they really wanted to get out of a cumbersome situation): an ambitious loop of eternal trial,
- Beresheet (or, when everything will be so far away that it won’t matter anyways): a relieving acceptance of perspective
In its entirety, the performative installation envisions the ongoing sixth mass extinction that is unfolding throughout the present and creates a grotesque waiting room to wear out self induced catastrophes on the back of a true survivor.
The album Beresheet has been produced in collaboration with Judith Bodendörfer (voice) and made possible thanks to the critic and support of fellow artists Claudio Matthias Bertolini, Fabian Feichter, Judith Neunhäuserer, Paula Leal Olloqui & Linnéa Schwarz.