the tapestry of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence

The Tapestry of the Search for Terrestrial Intelligence is my piece for the show Life at the Edges, on view through September 30 at Science Gallery Dublin.

In 1977, the two Voyager space probes were launched, each carrying a golden record with music, sounds, and voices from Earth — just in case. The records also feature over a hundred digital images encoded as sounds. If an alien civilization picked up one of the Voyager probes a million years from now, what would they make of the information on the record? They probably wouldn’t think they way we do. They might try to taste the disk, or try to find meaning in the way it feels when they rub their fingers on the grooves. Or they might try to decode the ancient, degraded images onto a forty-meter-long tapestry.

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