Liliane Lijn, Moonmeme (1992-2011)

Installation view at FACT as part of Republic of the Moon Photographer: Brian Slater

Investigations have taken place as to the feasibility of projecting a single word onto the surface of the moon. But Liliane Lijn is still waiting for a technical solution.

In the meantime, we can make do with a simulation. And the word which appears on the virtual moon, both online and at FACT Liverpool, is simply “SHE”. What else?

At time of writing, moonmeme is in near total darkness. So right now it works like a sound piece, the word ‘she’ breaking in layers of foamy sibilance.

Lijn and a co-conspirator take turns to utter the three letter word. It is purred, growled, sang, said any which way which reminds us of the essential strangeness of language.

Every 26 hours the piece updates to reveal a different phase of the moon. When it is full we can read the moon’s gender writ large across her face.

But when it is two thirds full we can read, ‘HE’ or even ‘SH’. It is curious that a male pronoun is contained in the female, stranger still it contains a prescription of silence.

Our creeping shadow (it is the Earth after all) connects moonmeme to earlier works by Lijn in which she made experiments with spinning words and kinetic texts.

The tidal motion of the soundtrack and the lunar motion of the visuals put the meaning of this tiny word into reserve. The feminine principle is everywhere, but nowhere.

Here we find only the reflection of reason, as we find ourselves washed ashore with only moonbeams to guide us. Moonmeme is as bewildering as a birth.

This work can be seen in Republic of the Moon at FACT, Liverpool, until Feburary 26 2012. See gallery website for more details. Alternatively, you can experience the project online, in realtime at

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