a series of multi media art installations, performances, artist/research resources and public engagement projects based upon space research.
Information about Trajectory events will be posted here as the project develops over the next 2 years. This will include:
- Details of Installations and Performances
- Opportunities and commissions for Artists
- Opportunities for Researchers
Material for TRAJECTORY [V:1] is based upon satellite and solar activity on the 9th of July 2001 as this was the date when CLUSTER II spacecraft captured some Long Wave Radio (LWR) data providing an insight into the phenomina often refered to as the Earth Chorus.
|IMAGE: Screen Grab of Satellite Orbits from Trajectory|
|IMAGE: Trajectory Pilot at Leicester University, November 2013|
120 people attended the TRAJECTORY [V:1] pilot Installation + Events. Feedback from members of the public, artists and researchers was extremely positive. In addition, public interest in the audio created for Trajectory has resulted in an enormous amount of publicity. It has featured on ‘The Sky at Night’, the BBC website (under both Arts & Science), Forbes and The Discovery Channel. It appears on thousands of websites/blogs including Tessilations, and has ‘gone viral on youtube with over 160,000 hits. This has resulted in a considerable amount of publicity for what was just a small pilot project. Over the past months I have had many approaches from artists, bands, musicians, companies and researchers all wanting to either be involved in Trajectory or wishing to use the sound in some way. It has been interesting to note the level of public engagement through discussion channels and social media - An unexpected bye product of the first Trajectory Installation which has even resulted in an invitation to Austrialia to speak at a TED event about Space Research!!!!
"The Earth is a cradle of the mind, but we cannot live forever in a cradle".
Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky, Father of Russian Astronautics, 1896
INFORMATION IN MORE DETAIL
BACKGROUND + DETAILS
TRAJECTORY was developed during my Leverhulme Artist Residency at the Space Research Centre (SRC), Leicester University. Throughout the Residency I had always envisaged a final event, bringing together all the strands of work created during the period and presenting them in one space as a multi media installation. However as the year progressed and my understanding of the full research progamme undertaken by the SRC developed, I realised that this approach may lead to an unhelpful complex visual world for an audience to understand and appreciate. The “Cradle of the Mind” screen installation (also created during the residency) had already achieved much of this and has the capacity to be played in different locations and at events (it was used recently by the University for the visit of astronaut Chris Hadfield). Instead, I wanted to identify one aspect of the SRC research that could be presented within a multi media installation. This would also help towards a longer term aim: to create a touring exhibition of artists work based upon space research. I hoped therefore to pilot this idea, invite artists and academics to debate and explore ways in which research could be presented to the public within an arts space. This idea became Trajectory.
I was fortunate to meet with Dr Nigel Bannister at an early point of the residency and our continued contact throughout provided both the inspiration and resources for the Trajectory Installation. At the time of our first meeting, Nigel was working to create a real time model for the launch, mission trajectory and orbits of JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer - a planned European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft to visit the Jovian system, focused in particular on studying three of Jupiter's moons; Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa) using STK (Systems Tool Kit - produced by Analytical Graphics Inc. [AGI]).
Use of STK facilitated a complex and beautiful visualisation of satellite orbits. This other-worldly vista was impressive in its redefinition of the territory now occupied by humanity: a representation of a new political and economic frontier. There appeared to be no end to the possibilities of creative visual interpretation of this data.
While working with a multi-media approach, my primary interest is in sound and audio composition. To this end, I amassed in excess of 100 sources of sound in space, eg. Whistlers, Bow shock waves, Solar flares, Solar pulses. The Earth Chorus stood apart, even from other chorus data, eg. from Jupiter.
Earth Chorus consists of brief, rising-frequency tones emulating the chorus of birdsong at sunrise, hence 'chorus' or 'dawn chorus'. It is generated by electrons in earth's Van Allen radiation belts. Once generated, the chorus waves affect the motions of the electrons through a process called a wave-particle interaction. These interactions disturb the trajectories of the radiation belt electrons causing the electrons to hit the upper atmosphere.
There are many recordings and Long Wave radio data of the Earth Chorus, but a 2 minute data file from the European Space Agency Cluster 11 satellite, recorded on
Using the available satellite data I could programme STK to track the orbit of Cluster II (It is a high altitude space craft using a polar orbit) on the day it recorded the audio data, creating visualisations of its orbit and the resulting data path on the Earth’s atmosphere. To provide a varied visual landscape I also collected data from 250 other satellites capable of observing the Earth (also from
the 9th of July 2001) to create 3d visual material for several video screens. In addition to 3d mapping of the satellite trajectories it is possible to include visual information relating to the area of the Earth that the orbit is tracking or receiving data. [Not all of this data is available or possible to access – for obvious reason] These are represented within my visualisations as triangles, squares or dotted circles across the surface of the Earth. The satellites themselves are shown as dots, sometimes labelled with their names, and their orbits are visualised as continuous white lines. The world appears in different forms. As a wire frame with continents showing, as a ball of cloud or sometimes hidden by the mass of circling satellites.
Seen together they present a continually evolving visual picture comprising complex elliptical patterns (not unlike a Spiro graph), data streams in numeric and symbol form add distinct points of reference between the sound, the data and the visual world. The occasional use of wire frame human heads superimposed over the satellite orbits create additional metaphorical images relating to a new political and economic territory for humanity.
The audio for Earth Chorus was composed by shaping, filtering (removing some frequencies to reveal the detail and texture of others) and spatially placing each sound within a multi speaker diffusion system to recreate the spatial qualities of the Earth Chorus within a gallery space. Although it has been composed and therefore treated within a musical structure, Chorus I remains a true record of the original data. This is important for me, as throughout this process I have been interested in creating work that helps people to access, understand and visualise data without destroying or corrupting its value.