Sounds of the Earth

Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Boston MA (2011)


Dimensions: 12”h x 10” w x 5.5”d
Materials: Antique darkroom light, acetate rear-projected film, interior speaker drivers

In its mission to extend the exploration of the solar system and explore beyond the heliosphere, NASA launched the twin Voyager 1&2 spacecraft in 1977 to gather scientific information through the Deep Space Network. 
Both spacecraft carry a 12-inch gold-plated copper phonograph record, containing sounds and images that evoke life and culture on Earth. Spoken greetings, starting with Akkadian, spoken in Sumer about six thousand years ago, and ending with Wu, a modern Chinese dialect, are engraved on the record. In “Sounds of the Earth,” an image of the Golden Record is cased in an antique darkroom light, functioning as a light box, echoing the absurdity, audacity and adventure of sending a phonograph - an outdated method of playback - into interstellar space.

The accompanying sound score features sounds from the original recording, remixed and re-imagined for a new generation.


Floor van de Velde