Universe on screen in the 21st century: visible and invisible. New Astronomical Images in 21st Century Fiction: Reuse, Model, Create (Paris)

“Universe on screen in the 21st century: visible and invisible – part one: new astronomical images in fiction in the 21st century: Reusing, modeling, creating” Interdisciplinary Research Day organized by LESA laboratories (Laboratory of Research in Arts Sciences, Aix). -University of Marseille), CERILAC (Interdisciplinary Studies and UFR Letters, Arts, Film Research Center, Paris Cité University) and APC (AstroParticle and Cosmology Laboratory, Paris Cité University)

January 20, 2023 in Paris.

Check out program details at Fabula…

The “Universe on Screen in the 21st Century” project consists of two JEs, the first in Paris on January 20 and the second on May 5, 2023 (date to be confirmed), accompanied by an exhibition at the University of Aix-Marseille.

Presentation of the day

The 21st century has seen the development and proliferation of new astronomical and planetary images: both in observation and visualization techniques – and the development of digital technology – and unique visual forms in objects observed in a unique way (color nebulae observed by the Hubble telescope, from the Chandra X-ray Observatory graphic examples, psychedelic colors captured in infrared light by the Spitzer satellite, digitally simulated or photographed black holes, high-resolution visible stars, rovers, etc.) The production of these new scientific representations of space that transcended the limits of direct visual observation has been the subject of much research, emphasizing their incorporation into visual culture and art history. But these images, in turn, shape a new conception of the Universe in contexts other than observation and scientific mediation, and inform and shape its representation in feature films, especially science fiction, in the 21st century. . As in 1968, for Kubrick’s 2001 work, the contributions of astronomers and astrophysicists and reports of scientific imagery feed modern ideas that the films action is located at the edge of the Universe, in our solar system, or on Earth. Through more or less close collaborations with scientists, but also through reuse, especially in composite images, films, and serials, the aesthetics of images of space seems to have been reconstructed with the proliferation of these new images.

To the images of the Moon or Mars, exotic doubles of the ever-present Earth, updated images and, conversely, a proliferation of undocumented images of other stars far from Earth due to their massiveness are added. , their gaseous states, multiple rings and moons. Thus, cinema today imagines certain parts of the solar system differently—from the asteroid belt to the Kuiper belt—referring to other perceptual experiences whose objects are redefined by recent observations. New astronomical images, such as the moons and rings of Saturn observed by the Cassini-Huygens mission, Jupiter and its “eye” detailed by the Juno mission, are thus available on various plastics, etc. dramatic use in Hollywood as elsewhere. More than motifs or objects, these are the modes of representation and visualization that ultimately share astronomical images and fictional space in cinema. Thus, new methods of observing with remotely controlled rovers or drones on Mars, the Moon, or the comet Tchourioumov-Guérassimenko, known as Tchouri, can create new images of real or fictional stars in fiction.

Therefore, it will be a matter of studying the changes that took place after 1995, from an aesthetic and technical point of view, in which astronomical images entered modern art cinema in different ways – understood here in the broad sense of moving images.

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