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album covers

A series of three CD albums that illustrate the concept of language and abstraction as a means for human-kind to grapple with the unknown and the alien.

This project was birthed from audio clips of different planets in our solar system. Sound doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so I began to research how exactly these sounds were acquired/made.

It turns out, more often than not, radio waves were recorded from each planet, and scientists (or physicists) transcribed those waves into sound waves. Any other time this data isn’t taken from radio waves (or electro-magnetic activity), it was taken from either plasma waves or, in the case of a black hole, gravity waves.

This made me think about how abstract and non-concrete human communication is, or how we try to explain things we don’t understand. I began to do a lot of visual representation of translation, or how imagery is a visual translation, or a map is a translation of a photo or place.

To better understand my subjects, I researched radio, plasma, and gravity waves meant in the context in astronomy. Electromagnetic waves come from the energy movements produced by differently electrically charged objects; radio waves are a particular range on the electromagnetic spectrum. Plasma is considered the fourth state of matter in addition to solid, gas, and liquid; and it is ionized, positively charged gas that can have.

I had never heard of gravity waves before I found the “audio” clip from a black hole. Apparently, the sound waves were derived from the “gravity wave” pattern coming from the black hole. In my research I found that gravity waves were very recently discovered (or proven to exist, if you will, because the experiments/hypotheses have existed for a while).

Waves and fields actually have a lot of charts, graphs, infographics that scientists need and have available, which to me, was a valuable resource for aesthetic inspiration. I think it’s really interesting that astronomy visual aids are almost always very pixelated and very crude. I wanted to kind of reference that since I find the bareness and calculated nature of the charts to be very representational of the field of study and, of course, true to the facts.

As I was wrapping up my final forms, I also was thinking a lot about 2001: A Space Odyssey, and how a film made in 1968, before the first probe for Jupiter even was sent into space, made an image of the planet that wasn't too far off from the probe's pictures. This made me think about how science in general can be proven wrong in any moment by something we've not discovered, and how we are only using our human abilities to observe and quantify the world around us.

In reverence to the movie, I made my process book in the shape of the infamous Obelisk from the movie, which I thought to be a great metaphor for the idea of how little we may know about our universe. I also took some inspiration from the "trip" scene later in the movie.