Simon Faithfull: Fake Moon (IBT 10)

'Fake Moon', 2011, installed in Bristol as part of IBT 10. Photo: Paul Blakemore, courtesy of the artist and In Between Time.


For four nights Bristol was treated to the sight of a second moon in the evening sky. Simon Faithfull’s project ‘Fake Moon’ was the centrepiece of In Between Time 10: ‘What Next for the Body’ a festival of live art which took place over five days, across the streets and art spaces of Bristol between December 2010 and February 2011.


Simon Faithfull’s work ‘Fake Moon’ was a spectacular piece of public art to be enjoyed and experienced communally. The installation was developed using an intense orb of white light, three metres in diameter, hoisted in the air by man, helium and pulley. Once airborne the moon traced a wobbling lunar arc from above City Hall and across the city’s skyline, casting long, dark shadows on the grass of College Green.

Fake Moon was a perplexing apparition in the night sky of an English landscape. At first, the apparition seems to be a familiar planet, but its movement through the sky seemed halted – the planet wobbling and jolting along its path. Although the light was as bright, if not brighter than the moon it became clear that a rather deficient subterfuge is in process. The light, in fact, emanates from powerful film-making lights housed inside the helium balloon. Over the course of 3 hours the apparition gradually moves through the sky - the carefully mapped out path mimicking the arc of a true celestial body as it moves across the heavens.

Simon Faithfull

Simon Faithfull is a contemporary artist whose work has been exhibited extensively around the world. His practice has been described as an attempt to understand and explore the planet as a sculptural object – to test its limits and report back from its extremities. Within his work Faithfull often builds teams of scientists, technicians and transmission experts to help him bring back a personal vision from the ends of the world.

Recent projects include a film featuring the artist walking through a burning jet plane (commissioned by Tatton Park Biennial), a video-work recording the artist walking through a landscape at the bottom of the sea (created with the help of a scuba-diving expert and underwater cameras). Other projects include a video-work recording the journey of a domestic chair as it is carried to the edge of space beneath a weather balloon (commissioned by Arts Catalyst), a drawing project sending back live digital-drawings from a two month journey to Antarctica (commissioned by Arts Council and the British Antarctic Survey) and an animated film developed from drawings made on a walk out of London along the A13 trunk-road (a Channel 4 TV commission with Arts Council England).

Recent exhibitions include solo shows at ArtConnexion, (Lille, France), the British Film Institute (London), Harris Museum (Preston), Galerie Polaris (Paris), Parker’s Box (New York) and Stills (Edinburgh). Recent group shows include exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (Australia), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) and Bienal del Fin del Mundo (Argentina). In 2010 Faithfull’s largest permanent public artwork to date was unveiled at the centre of Liverpool, England.

Faithfull was born in Braziers Park – a utopian commune in Ipsden, Oxfordshire. He studied at Central St Martins and then Reading University. His practice takes a variety of forms – ranging from video, to digital drawing, installation work and writing. Faithfull is also a lecturer at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, an External Examiner at Manchester Metropolitan University.

In Between Time

In Between Time is an international production company creating extraordinary art works, and the biennial In Between Time Festival. We encourage artists and audiences to think, to dream, to do things they have not yet imagined.


  • Commissioner

    In Between Time

  • Produced by

    In Between Time

  • Partners

    Arnolfini; Circomedia; Colston Hall; Cube; The Island; Residence; Theatre Bristol, University of Bristol

  • Supported by

    Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Bristol City Council, University of Bristol