Some images are disturbing, because they cause the onlooker to waver between doubt and certainty

— Le cafard de la pleine lune

The Full Moon Cockraoch


Some images are disturbing, not for their aesthetic properties, but because they cause the onlooker to waver between doubt and certainty : the : ‘it was OK,’ of Barthes, but also because they ask us to suspend disbelief, where science should, by rights, attest to their reliability. Among these, there is the Apollo space mission. Why was it that the footprint, made by a rubber boot in the rocky sand, took on so much importance? It is both because of what we know of the context in which the shot was taken (a clearly human imprint on the virgin soil of the moon) and the fact that doubt leads us to question the value of the proofs apparently expressed through the document.

What if careful scrutiny of the document led us to discover what the moonwalker could not see, for having stepped on it so lightly and for seeking a more intense thrill elsewhere. When the camera is focused on the moon’s surface, the man who is there, looking at the sky, is perhaps looking up at our planet. We can imagine that it is not the distance that touches the heart but an awareness of that distance. With his feet firmly on the earth, he can see the Earth floating up in the sky. What if , looking down, he discovered evidence of life, discreet and insidious, an insect, perhaps a cockroach? What if this sign of life was familiar enough for him to suspect that he had brought it there, on the soles of his shoes? What if this was the clue to topple the authenticity of the document which, according to some, was produced by a skilful Hollywood studio?