How much trash is passing by right now, over your head, unnoticed?
Playing the Cosmic Harp you’ll be able to hear what is otherwise invisible. The laser strings, which are only noticeable when interrupted by hands or smoke, creates a metaphor for the invisible problem of human pollution, which – unbeknownst to most – already extends beyond earth and into space.
As of October 2019, 24,779 satellites are orbiting the earth. 17,421 are classified as debris. The universe above us consists of 70.3% nearly imperceptible space trash.
The harp is designed with inspiration from the Armillary sphere, used in astrology in the 16th century to keep track of the celestial bodies. A modern update to this concept, the harp takes the section of the universe located above its current location on earth’s surface, and generates sound.
The sound is updated every 15 seconds with changes, based on a satellite position dataset from space-track.org. The sound distorts and twists proportionally to the ratio of debris / active-satellite passing by overhead.
Data calculations are implemented based on the visualization from stuffin.space and the space-track.org API. Space-track.org is managed by the U.S. Strategic Command to provide Space Situational Awareness (SSA) information.
The Cosmic Harp is a part of an ongoing project raising attention to the downside of human invention, questioning technocentrism. It will be a part of the room scale installation The Armillary, which is currently in the ideation stage.
NYC Media Lab, September 26, 2019
NYU Tandon School of Engineering, New York, NYC Media Lab, link
Figment Festival NYC, June 1 – 2, 2019
Roosevelt Island, New York, Figment Festival, link