Louise Hervé & Chloé Maillet

We do not live on the outside of the globe


ssA production still from “A Recess and a reconstruction”, super 8 film transferred to DigiBeta, 2011, courtesy Galerie Marcelle Alix, image Angeles Parrinello

During Helicotrema 2016, you will present “We do not live on the outside of the globe“. Could you say a few word about how the idea of piece came out?

A few years ago, we were working on a long-term project called A Recess and A Reconstruction. The project started with Gothic novels written in the 18th and 19th century. We thought they were fictionalisations of images of Gothic architecture. The key part in all these fictional buildings seemed always to be a recess—a Gothic novel by Sophia Lee even bears the name. It was as if people in the Middle Ages spent all their lives in underground passages, according to Gothic novel writers. Then there was this 1956 American film by Virgil Vogel entitled The Mole People. In the beginning of the film, there is a foreword delivered by a fictional professor. He is comparing differents theories about the Hollow Earth hypothesis; the hypothesis that people (or even ourselves, though we are not aware of it) are living inside the globe and not on the surface. The Mole People of the title appear later in the film :  after centuries spent underground due to a cataclysm, they somehow adapted to their new environment…

The piece was first presented as part of an installation and was introduced by a performance, right?

The piece was recorded in a radio studio and was shown as part of an installation also entitled “We do not live on the outside of the globe”, presenting a tape recorder and an ancient hollow terrestrial globe on a shelf. We first wrote the text for a performance which took place in a Berlin gallery. The performance was in the form of a dialogue, we were having a discussion about archaelogy, cinema, the Hollow Earth theories—and also dinosaurs. The radio piece is a condensed version of the performance.

Could you talk about your interest for radio programs? Do you have any specific reference or inspiration?

Radio programmes always seemed to us to be close to our performance practice, which is very much based on speech. We’re never filming our performances, but we’re usually keeping sound recordings as an archive, and sometimes we are recreating another visual environnements around these sound recordings. We are very much insterested in sci-fi radio progammes, from Orson Welles’s classic War of the Worlds to BBC radio drama such as The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy or JG Ballard adaptations. But we also like very much Bernard Heidsieck’s sound pieces, and works by Rana Hamadeh or Meris Angioletti.