by Sukanya GargDec 11, 2019
The Museum of the Moon is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. Measuring seven metres in diameter, the moon features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents five km of the moon’s surface. The massive 21-m wide, high resolution image used to create the moon artwork was created by the Astrogeology Science Center in the USA. The imagery was taken by a NASA satellite carrying the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera launched in 2010.
The installation is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight, and surround sound composition created by BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones. Each venue also programmes their own series of lunar inspired events beneath the moon.
The Museum of the Moon was inspired by living in Bristol, where the artist noticed the huge tidal variation as he cycled over the Avon Cut each day. Living in the UK but working internationally for 20 years, Luke Jerram’s multidisciplinary practice has involved the creation of sculptures, installations, and live art projects, which have excited and inspired people around the globe.
Over the years, the Museum of the Moon has been presented in art exhibitions, science, music and light festivals around the world. In early 2018, the British Council brought the artwork to India to mark the last phase of the UK-India Year of Culture, and to launch 70 years of the British Council in India. It was first presented in Bengaluru at the National Gallery of Modern Art, and later travelled to Gateway of India in Mumbai, the City Palace in Udaipur, the Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata, and finally to the iconic British Council headquarters in New Delhi.
A lot of times, there are several moons touring simultaneously. The artwork will be next presented at Wulong Art Festival, China (August 3 – November 3, 2019), Summer Well Festival, Bucharest, Romania, (August 10 – 11, 2019), Wakefield, UK, (August 24 –September 8, 2019) and several other places throughout the year.
As the artwork tours, new audio compositions are created and performed by a range of established composers and musicians, adding to the Museum of the Moon collection. As it travels from place to place, the project also documents stories and mythologies, as well as highlights the latest moon science.
According to Jerram, the moon has impacted society and culture for eons, being worshipped as a deity, used as a timekeeper, and inspiring artists worldwide. He believes, “Different cultures around the world have their own historical, cultural, scientific and religious relationships to the moon. The installation is not just a model, it is also a metaphor”. Through the project, then, Jerram hopes to restore a sense of wonder, inspiring people to reconnect with the night sky.