Director: Pierre Huyghe
Year: 2006
Time: 23 mins
Music: Joshua Cody
Eye of Sound: One of the reasons why we travel (and why we so easily fall prey to the lure of travel literature and its many current avatars) may be, as anthropologist M.J. Ramos once said, sheer disgust of urban sedentarism or, to go a little further, of home and the self it tends to define. Bringing the journey back home, of course, is as old a trick as it gets, but it's the only known way to surpass its sadly narrow temporal limits while clinging on to our domestic comforts and egos. Huyghe's A Journey that Wasn't was a musical show staged in Central Park, NY, conjuring memories and representations of a trip to Terra del Fuego in Antarctica. The purpose of the journey was as modest as it was classic: to discover an unknown, un-topographed island and, with luck, an hitherto unknown species. But this was not as quixotesque as it sounds: in fact, global warming has been melting away the poles' ice shelf and revealing previously unchartered islands and ecosystems, and there were even rumors of a strange new elusive white animal living on its shores. Huyghe and his crew eventually found the island and set up a research station in order to translate this virgin land's shape into sound by means of morse code. The animal, an albino penguin. was indeed located and recorded on camera. Later, in 2006, Huyghe set up a "multimedia" show in Central Park evoking this pioneering journey and recreating its icy landscapes: a spectacle of light, ice and music, which is partly documented on this film. Joshua Cody, renowned composer and student of such heavy-weight names as Boulez, Murail and Andriessen, offers yet another entrancing musical translation - this time, a translation of the topography of the island, recorded through sound-probes during the expedition, and here recreated as a contemporary musical score. Unknown islands, unknown no more.


  1. do you happen to have any of his other videos. in particular I think of the one he did of the apartments with Pan Sonic doing the soundtrack.

  2. Hi,
    First of all thank you for posting this masterpiece.
    However the link is broken...
    May you re-post it?