In 1977 NASA successfully launched two new spaces probes – Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, both designed to study the outer Solar System. Each had phonograph records attached to them which contained sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The sound collection consists of nature sounds, a selection of various music tracks, as well as spoken greetings in 55 languages, while the images show various concepts and moments from human life. This material was intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them and be able to decode them. Extra-terrestrial speculations aside, it is rather obvious that the records were intended as a strong political statement, as they were conceived by NASA in 1977 – one of the iconic political institutions of USA during the Cold-War era. What therefore intrigues me about this material is not so much its possible perception by the extra-terrestrials, but the way NASA’s team (led by Carl Sagan) chose to define humanity and planet Earth by its choice of particular music tracks and images.
For this set I have made a selection of images, sounds and music pieces that were encoded onto the Golden Records, and recomposed them live, allowing myself to wander freely between the original and new forms and contexts of the material.
Voyager 1 is currently the furthest spacecraft from Earth and the only one in interstellar space.