„If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.
I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.“
Star Sounds is an interactive installation in an upcycled tube radio,
with which the hidden knowledge of astronomical data of 20th century
star photography becomes audible by music deduced from it.
The project is dealing with the digitized data archive of historical
photographic plates of the „Sternwarte Hamburg“. The ratio of several
data sets, for example the period of a binary star orbit, is translated into music by a so called sonification. This artifice allows astronomical knowledge to become intuitively perceptible to the senses of the audience. While encountering an upcycled tube radio, equipped with a monitor, the observer can look into the starry sky of the past through the digitized plates and listen to the sonic translation of the data over the old speakers. Is it a binary star, a super nova or the distances of objects in a constellation? Through the buttons of the radio one can choose what aspect to focus on acoustically, while watching the pictures of the plates in the same timeframe. Additional information is accessible via a second row of buttons, which provide short documentary movies about the history of star photography, the observatory and astronomy in general. The user can experience the story in a non-linear way, have a short look or experience the whole story. The age and construction of the modified device substitute the missing haptic of the digital images. The historical radio procures and underlines the analogue origin of the photo plates through its design and the signs of its usage history. Familiar radio functions are used for the installation to make it intuitively accessible.
Star Sounds intends to bring the abstract world of data closer to the layman and open a sensory door to the secrets of the universe.