Saturn's moon Enceladus has been in the news this week as a potential host for life elsewhere in the solar system.
In 2013 Peter Zinovieff and I wrote ‘Edge’, a journey through the solar system in four moons. Enceladus was one of the moons we chose. My poetry and Peter’s multi-channel electronic music explore the immensely hostile conditions of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io and our own dead Moon, and the potential for primitive life beyond Earth, first on Saturn’s large moon, Titan, then on tiny Enceladus. Peter’s music draws on real sound from space missions, including the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn.
‘Edge’ was produced for Radio 4 by Julian May as a Poetry Please Special, recorded at its premiere in Life Planetarium, Newcastle. It’s 28 minutes long, and accompanied by fabulous planetarium visuals by Chris Hudson, adapted for flat screen by Stephen Patterson. We’ve since performed it in venues as various as Tarset Village Hall, Northumberland, and Stamford Arts Centre, Lincs, as the finale to the New Networks for Nature conference 2014. ‘Edge’ is the first of three planetarium pieces Peter and I have written, the others being ‘Field’ (about quantum fields and the Higgs mechanism) and ‘Sun’ (about solar physics). All three are multi-channel electronic pieces with visuals and live vocals, and can be adapted for any space. Please contact me if you’re interested in arranging a performance. Here, in the meantime, is a snapshot from Enceladus:
A rumble. A mutter. A tin sheet, shaken. Ditches. Fissures. Iron Miles. Scarps, folds. Not rock; ice, Split. Canyons filled With smashed walls, old Darkness. Frost. A locked fist of ice, Wriggling inside it A furious secret. Water, arguing with itself. What am I? What will I become? Where next?