Q121 is an historic wind-tunnel, built in 1935 sitting in the heart of the aviation history in the UK until it was closed in the 80’s. It’s an extraordinary location that’s remained mostly untouched since then. When you enter the building you can’t help but be struck by the scale and the sense of history and purpose is evident. The 24’ turbine blade, perfectly engineered is a thing of absolute beauty. But that’s not the reason void_null are there. In the back of the main space there’s a door that leads to ‘the return circuit’. A vast concrete cathedral of a space. Solid and totally dark. It was the space that was used to calm and control the flow of air around the wind tunnel. It’s pure engineering. Wedge shaped, precise angles, cold, flat surfaces. The complete absence of light and the other worldly acoustics attracted us to the this space to create a site specific show.
The space was not designed for humans to inhabit. Surrounded by blackness and the disturbing echoes of your own sounds, being there is a sensory experience unlike any other. It forces you to challenge your sense of perspective.
The project is inspired by the ‘Pale Blue Dot’, an image created by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1990. The famous astronomer and physicist Carl Sagan convinced NASA to turn the spacecrafts cameras back towards earth when it was some 3.7 billion miles away, for one last look. What it captured was a tiny pale blue dot, less than a pixel in size on the photo, caught in a shaft of sunlight, an artefact produced by the camera. Sagan went on to write about the Pale Blue Dot in a book. Many describe Sagan as a philosopher scientist, and his description of the photo, and everything it encapsulated leaves you with an acute sense of perspective, as an individual and as part of the human race. It opens up so many questions. With Voyager 1 & 2 now both being clear of our solar system and hurtling through interstellar space, the two furthest pieces of humanity from earth, exploring the darkness of space, we felt that Q121 was a perfect location to explore this theme.
We feel utterly honoured to have funding support from the Arts Council of England for the development of this project, which has helped transform our practice and afforded us the time to truly develop this show in the way that we’d like to. Part of the funding has allowed us to work with Barney Jeavons of Kick Arts UK in helping to develop the logistics for the show, who’s practically become the third member of vn. We’ve also had tremendous support from the folk at the FAST museum in Farnborough and the owners/managers of the site.
We will be looking to perform the show in Q121 as soon as we’re able to plan for dates and ideally would like to then find other, similar environments where we can take the show.