We are currently artists in residence as part of the Idea Projects, a collaboration between Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) and the Ontario Science Centre (OSC). The residency offers us a 550 square foot studio space at MoCA from June until September to create an exhibit for the OSC.
For the first stage of the residency we are constructing the Sonic Orbiter, an interactive sonification of the Moon’s craters and topography. Using a joystick on a bartop arcade cabinet, you’ll be able to steer the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter around the Moon while creating music by flying over craters. The craters produce different musical tones based on their size, with larger craters producing lower, louder notes and smaller craters producing higher, quieter notes. The sounds themselves are created by converting scans of the Moon’s topography directly into sound waves. The award-winning animation studio Thought Cafe have generously offered to create the artwork for the arcade cabinet. This work is supported by the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development.
Find us on twitter to follow our progress!
Lunar Rock Garden
Our co-artist in residence, Ekaterina Smirnova, has built a very zen lunar rock garden using a lunar regolith simulant. To accompany this work, we have created a soundscape based on a sonification of an altitude map of the Moon.As the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter circles the Moon, it collects the data on lunar surface topography using LOLA – the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter. We converted the data into musical notes, with the lower lunar altitudes producing lower notes and higher altitudes producing higher notes. Rhythmic wind chimes and the sound of flowing water were incorporated to increase the zen.