Naming touch as the least subtle yet most trusted of all senses, artist couple Rimma and Valeriy Gerlovin have created several series of tactile works. The flow of mental images and associations initiated by such artworks is based on the verbally or visually indescribable feelings at one’s fingertips. Tactile artworks usually cease to function in the intended way when landing in a museum collection. This is not completely true with regard to the group of objects from Planet FC-9X. Even placed behind glass in a museum vitrine, the bags with their extraterrestrial content evoke reflections on how it feels to be in the material world, where most recent scientific discoveries are invisible by nature and our worldview is gradually becoming more dependent on concepts alone, with some comfort provided by data visualizations.
Knowledge about Planet FC-9X was gained by scientists combing the universe with a radio telescope, as radio astronomy allows for the exploration of celestial objects that are not visible to optical devices. Some of the most extreme physical processes in the universe have been detected by identifying their radio emissions. This has also led to the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation that is regarded as evidence in support of the Big Bang theory. As for the Gerlovins, these found objects from an invisible planet seemed to provide the artists with an opportunity to contemplate, from an astrophysical perspective, human existence as perpetual becoming, “a wandering of the soul between the alternating states of being absorbed and being emitted.”