When the moon fell out of orbit: from the Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands // Mission Gallery, Swansea 02 June – 15 July 2012

When the moon fell out of orbit took its title from a dream where the planet mars shifted from its orbit, impacting on the moon and planet earth. For the exhibition the Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands carried out a series of explorations into images found in our dreams and inner landscapes.

Responding to the building’s history as a Mission to Seafarers Church, the Institute focused its research on finding the lost bell of St Nicholas. It is thought that the bell tower was removed after the war due to being rendered unstable by a nearby bomb. What happened to the bell, nobody knows. A wooden bell tower was created by the Institute in the gallery, reforming a structure which stood beneath the original bell tower, as a place to which the bell could return. The bell tower acted as a space for actions, correspondence and ‘journeys’ throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Transformation was central to the Institute’s explorations in the exhibition, including a tale of a post-apocalyptic fragment dug up from Thomas’ parent’s garden that can open a mountain, a metal box of divinatory tools which was opened only at certain times throughout the exhibition, and the reference to the alchemical symbol, the ladder. A weekly action was held on Wednesday mornings where participants were taken on a journey into unknown lands whilst moving through the gallery space.

An exhibition text (available here) was written by Professor Shelley Sacks, Director of the Social Sculpture Research Unit in Oxford.




Installation images:


Opening event:

For the opening event Fern Thomas stayed up in the bell tower sending out monoprints out on washing lines from the structure whilst the audio narrative of the search for the lost bell of st.nicholas’ church was played into the gallery (which could be heard for the rest of the exhibition on headphones beneath the bell tower)






Weekly journeys (documentation):


Video works that formed part of installation: