Trouville in Space

Michaël Samyn, March 14, 2012

I visited Trouville-sur-Mer to find Marguerite Duras but found something completely different, yet surprisingly related to the project nonetheless.

I think I had more or less ruined any fan-boy experiences I might have had in Trouville by obsessing over the place on Google Earth, through pictures and even in Duras’ own films. I had already designed an entire game world largely inspired by this seaside town (before I decided to have an empty beach instead). So I was actually quite familiar with it. When I saw Trouville in real life, I recognized everything, I knew my way around.

In a way this is kind of horrible and it somewhat confirms Walter Benjamin’s fears regarding photography: that the technological reproduction of images takes away from the “aura” of the photographed objects. A theory that was extended by Baudrillard when he claimed that these objects no longer really existed. That we are now living in a world that consists only of images.

But I digress.
Or do I?

What I did find in Trouville was something that is completely unphotographable (but that might be reproducable, or at least evokable, through an interactive medium). What I found was the sea. And the wind. The tide and the clouds. The enormous sky that surrounds our planet. And the moon.

What I found was a planet, a solar system, floating around in an unimaginably large universe.

I had never spent this long a time at the seaside before. To see the day turn to night and to day again, to witness the tide come in and then float back, to stare at the sky endlessly, to wait for the moon, follow the sun, to sleep in the roaring noise of the ocean and the continuous tearing at man’s constructions by the restless winds of the sea. The seaside is the place where this planet connects to its surrounding universe most palpably.

I had already decided that Bientôt l’été would take place on a remote space station. For me this is a symbol of how we inhabit and communicate through the internet. A fond memory of meeting my wife, too. But now, after this overwhelming confrontation with the universe, the space station situation is suddenly starting to trigger other emotions as well. No longer just looking inward and to each other, but looking out, at the planets, together, sitting next to each other on a rock hurled through an immense universe at immeasurable speed.

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