From Mother Earth to Earth Child



New technologies have profoundly changed the image we have of our planet and our relationship to it. Humanity has long regarded the earth as a benevolent mother, providing shelter and nourishment. But the emergence, in the 20th century, of satellite surveillance technology and techniques for the geocomputational reconstruction of world images has contributed to a reversal of roles: it is now we who are watching over an "earth child".

Philippe Boissonnet used performances and an globe to create a poetic and critical approach to the image of our newly vulnerable world.

Philippe Boissonnet, research professor of Fine Arts at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), wanted to illustrate this new view of the landscape and image of planet Earth in a body of photo and video installation pieces highlighting the contrast between the world "seen from above" and "from below". He spent time in Antarctica at an Argentine scientific research station, where he used short performances and an inflatable globe to create a poetic and critical approach to the image of our newly vulnerable world and our perception of the poles.

The reflections of Philippe Boissonnet and his colleagues have been published in a trilingual exhibition catalogue and were presented at a round table in 2010. This research has had an impact on artistic, pedagogical and cultural levels. Philippe Boissonnet's photo-video installations have been exhibited in Montréal and elsewhere in Québec, as well as in Buenos Aires, Mexico and London.

On a pedagogical level, the research professor is currently working on adapting experiments conducted with the Institut Universitaire des Technologies d'Auxerre (France) during this research project, for use in future media arts courses. Furthermore, Philippe Boissonnet's work has opened the door to the possibility of interuniversity exchanges with the Faculty of Arts at UQTR.