Steve McQueen

Once Upon a Time

2002
This project was inspired by the Golden Record, a time capsule carried aboard spacecrafts Voyager 1 and 2, launched in 1977, intended to represent a story of our world to extraterrestrials. In creating this piece, McQueen worked closely with a NASA researcher and a linguist from the University of Toronto. The Golden Record contains sounds and images that express the diversity of life and culture on earth through an undeniably utopian perspective. While the 116 images from the capsule remain unchanged, McQueen replaced the original sounds of nature, music and spoken greetings with recordings of people speaking in tongues. By combining familiar images with unintelligible sounds, the artist creates an unusual juxtaposition that establishes a disconnection between language and visual representations of human culture.
Title
Once Upon a Time
Date
2002
Medium
Film
Materials
sequence of 116 slide-based colour images streamed through a PC hard drive with integrated soundtrack and projection screen
Nationality
British
Credit line
Purchased 2005
Accession number
41667