To: The Moon

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum
To: The Moon, 2014
Single channel animation

This animation was made as a meditation on how drawing and other simple imaginative gestures can open the possibility of time and space travel. Sunstrum began the animation by looking at French illusionist George Melies’ classic early film, ‘A Trip to the Moon’ (1902). In the opening scenes of Melies’ film, we see a university lecture hall filled with professors and scientists debating quite passionately about the possibility of travelling to the moon. The room is quite visibly divided between the nay-sayers and the believers. Finally, in a moment of exasperation, one scientist marches up to a chalkboard and draws a dashed line in chalk between a drawing of the earth and a drawing of the moon, and with this insistent drawn line, he somehow manages to settle the debate and the trip is set. It is this drawn line, created defiantly, that Sunstrum makes reference to in her animation. The two figures that are peddling together were appropriated from found footage depicting a water irrigation system used in West Africa. The people-powered pump can transport large amounts of water from one area of the earth to another. The stilt-walking "star planter" is taken from footage of a man from the Dogon ethnic group, walking and is a nod to Dogon cosmological history and its mysterious references to the original 'star people,' as well as their connection to star Sirius B.