Celestial Frequencies is a ground-breaking new data driven audio-visual work created for Jodrell Bank’s iconic Lovell Telescope. Developed by award winning Tokyo-based Media Artist, DJ and Programmer, Daito Manabe and Setsuya Kurotaki (Rhizomatiks Research), it was the first work to be developed as part of COSMOS, premiering at Bluedot festival 2017.
The epic structure of the Lovell Telescope – now in its 60th year of operation – presented a unique and unparalleled canvas for the artists to create this new work. During the festival the dish was in the zenith position, pointing directly upwards into space, receiving radio signals as the Earth turned and the sky drifted past overhead.
A mixture of deep space data collected on-site in real-time, and previously gathered from telescopes further afield – including Planck spacecraft observations of the microwave radio sky – was transformed into Celestial Frequencies, a unique generative audio-visual artwork projected onto the telescope.
Through this visual representation and soundscape, the work offered a rare opportunity to explore the knowledge gathered about deep space at Jodrell Bank Observatory. The artists collaborated with scientists and astrophysics researchers to understand and access the data collected on site.
Between 11pm until 2am on Friday and Saturday, and until 1am on Sunday, festival goers were able to experience Celestial Frequencies from a prime viewing position, immersing themselves in the soundscape – a sonic interpretation of astrophysical data. During these times they also had the opportunity to control the telescope’s observation frequencies, altering the data being observed, and witness live how these manipulations produced a dramatic change in the data visualisation on the dish.
Track our journey #COSMOS17
Celestial Frequencies was created following COSMOS 2017, the international artists commission and residency for Lovell Telescope, Jodrell Bank Observatory.
Direction, Sound + Visual Programming: Daito Manabe(Rhizomatiks Research)
Sound Design: Setsuya Kurotaki(Rhizomatiks Research)
Visual Programming: Satoshi Horii(Rhizomatiks Research), You Tanaka(Rhizomatiks Research)
Interaction Unit Design: Takahito Hosono(Rhizomatiks Architecture)
Visual Animation Management: Takao Inoue (Rhizomatiks Research)
Production Management: Nozomi Yamaguchi (Rhizomatiks Research), Ayumi Ota (Rhizomatiks Research), Rina Watanabe (Rhizomatiks Research)
Special Thanks: quino grafix Co. Ltd.
Production: Rhizomatiks Co. Ltd.
COSMOS is a flagship international artists commission and residency for Lovell Telescope. Produced by Abandon Normal Devices, commissioned by Jodrell Bank Observatory, bluedot, SHIFT and Abandon Normal Devices. Supported by the University of Manchester, Rhizomatiks Research, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, and with public funds from Arts Council England. LiDAR* scans of the Lovell Telescope used in the production of COSMOS are provided by Arup.
Lead image: Celestial Frequencies at bluedot 2017 / Credit: Scott Salt Photography
Via AND festival