Interactive Sound Installation

Voyager 3

Interactive Sound Installation

Missions Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 of the NASA were equipped with a gilded copper record, whose contents (scientific drawings, sounds, verbal greetings, musical pieces, writings) were supposed to represent human existence to possible extraterrestrial life forms. Being mostly concerned with the question how well this collection represented humanity or the lack of probability of the records ever being found and if, in such an unlikely event, human life would still be in existence at that point, public discussion revolved less around the question of perception. With which organs or senses would life forms perceive the data on the record? How likely will they have a vision or hearing that could decode it in the intended way?

»Voyager 3« interpreted visual input as sound and thus evoked the idea of perceiving something with the »wrong« sense. Staged in a performance space in Hamburg, the piece invited online visitors to upload pictures they deemed worthy of summing up the human condition to a dedicated website. A program written in Max 7 converted them, pixel by pixel and millisecond by millisecond into sound which played in the space and on an online broadcast. In addition, a projector drenched the room into the color of the pixel being processed in that millisecond. The performance space had a camera installed for online visitors to be able to witness also visually the outcome of their interactions with the room.

The resulting experience emphasized the fragility of perception as we take it for granted in everyday life. On a side-note, it also questioned the representational quality of a collection made by mid-aged white anglo-saxon men to represent all of mankind on one record by welcoming any contribution without curation to the endeavor, however futile it may be.