ASTROPHYSICIST, RESEARCH DIRECTOR EMERITUS AT THE CNRS (NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH)
PRESIDENT OF THE FRENCH NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE UNESCO
Both of the 21th century projects concerning Man’s direct exploration of our spatial environment are on one hand, the return of cosmonauts on the Moon -- a long journey of about 400 000 km -- and
on the other hand a mission consisting of a manned flight to Mars, when the latter will be closest to Earth (55 million km, nevertheless!). Actually, these two projects are not independent one
from the other, since this second journey should logically leave from the Moon. In any case, even if the most ambitious adventure is delayed to a distant future, we can reasonably hope that we
shall establish one or several bases on the moon in the course of this century, which will be one or several temporary or permanent sites of life.
The project of Anilore Banon’s sculpture, " L’Espace, c’est nous ! " , fits perfectly within these intents: from its origin, humanity has linked its ordinary life activities with artistic expressions, as the sites of Lascaux and the Chauvet farm, for example, can testify. This (these) future lunar base(s) provide(s) a new source of inspiration for painters and sculptors who would like to bring their contribution to this great new human endeavor. Having already contributed to strengthening the remembrance of the 1944 allied landing on the Norman beaches, Anilore Banon offers to supplement the future lunar bases with a monumental sculpture, capable of travelling in one of the rockets which will transport the cosmonauts and to deploy as soon as it will reach its chosen site. The great figures of " L’Espace, c’est nous ! " will thus play on the Moon the same role as the buffalos and the mammoths drawn on the walls of the prehistoric caves.
Furthermore, Anilore Banon wishes to share with everyone – especially the youngest -- this new epic adventure through her work. First by exhibiting the sculpture in great national museums before its departure; second by inviting the visitors to put down and record their hand prints on it. Space, indeed, does not start with the moon: we live on a planet, the Earth, which navigates through space by turning around the sun in one year. The sun itself making an extraordinary journey around the center of the Milky Way in 200 million years and our galaxy getting closer or going away constantly from other Galaxies. Moreover, we are made of the same substance as the sun and other stars shining in the sky. As many reasons to proclaim that " L’Espace, c’est nous ! " which give all the more meaning to this ambitious and magnificent project.