A zero gravity dance on the origin of life

In progress

Starts residencies Price

Artist Dominique Peysson

Tech Project : LEVITATE / Producer : Bipolar Production

Suspended moment on Starts Vertigo Website

The origin of life on earth remains an unclarified mystery… and the magic of the beginning is still happening over and over again, each time two gamete meet and become a single cell, ready to grow to achieve its goal of becoming an organism in all its complexity.
Suspended moment proposes to live a particular moment out of time. The incredible ballet of two drops of complex inert matter in levitation, dancing around in a slow and fragile manner. They will finally merge, and then will start the proto-life : matter will magically divide itself and grow under our eyes. A small-scale object theater, whose image will also be projected in very large by an optical process on the ceiling. A dance in spiral mists that defies the laws of gravity. The public can simply watch the original scene, but playing god is also possible by approaching the hand and interact remotely with the drops to help or prevent them from reaching proto-life. A sound piece will fully envelop the audience, and give them the feeling to also enter levitation. An important point, since drops are maintained in the air thanks to an acoustic phenomenon.


We do not yet know how life appeared on earth, there is no single model to explain it. Some say for example that the first complex organic molecules were formed in the solar system and in interstellar space. In weightlessness... A biochemistry of life that would have begun shortly after the Big Bang. According to the panspermia hypothesis, microscopic life could have been inseminated on our primitive earth by space dust, meteorites, asteroids and other bodies in the solar system. A hypothesis which considers that the beginning of life is strongly linked to space and celestial bodies .

My idea is to take advantage of the feeling of magic caused by the sight of these systems in levitation, while radically avoiding the feeling of technological prowess. Levitation is for me the privileged means to show this ontological passage which is the foundation of our earthly existence. The two drops of matter will present this dance of attraction in zero gravity, as the planets do in gravitational waves...

In my work, I do not really show a beginning of real life, but a "protocell" whose specific chemical can behave in a complex way. Matter will divide, thus offering us an analogy "through matter" allowing us to imagine how life can come from non-living systems. In the 1900s, Dr. Stéphane Leduc studied the crystallization of various metal salts. The resulting growth structures were so similar to living systems that he thought he had found a way to produce spontaneous generation ... to have reconstituted life from completely inert compounds. It will be possible to use chemical systems that are easy to produce, to generate a pro-life inside our drop.

What are the ethical limits that will one day be reached if one becomes capable of generating life from inert materials in the laboratory?

How did chemical systems become primitive living cells?

Many scientists are working on the origins of life on Earth. Protocells" are specific drops of chemical systems with an oily/aqueous separation, which can be studied as model systems to explain the very beginning of life. How could such simple protocells become so complex that they initiate the emergence of life? These questions, as yet unresolved in our laboratories, are not without question. What will we do when it becomes possible to produce spontaneous generation in the laboratory?