A Cryptic Commission, premiered in 2019 at Sonica Glasgow. Produced and co-directed by Stuart MacLean. Archive Producer (NASA Archives): Stephen Slater. Executive Producer: Guy Maddin. Composed, directed & performed by Ela Orleans.
Set to soaring music featuring live synthesiser, theremin and violin, footage of the 1969 Apollo moon mission is repurposed to retell the narrative of Night Thoughts, a nine-poem cycle written by Edward Young in the 1740s. Night Voyager marries visuals from the NASA archives, capturing fearful but optimistic astronauts and their anxious loved ones left at home, with Young’s meditation on death – and speaks, too, of the possibility of cultural forgetting, as in Young’s poem, now scarcely remembered but called in its time “the grandest and richest poetry that human genius has ever produced”.
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