The Robot Space Troupe was an installation featuring 50 animatronic radios in a faked surplus radio shop, where all the staff had vanished, and the radios are picking up a strange broadcast from someone far away from earth. Why?
With an FM radio you can pick up cosmic background radiation, which pervades the entire celestial sphere as a universal chorus from the very first moments of the universe.
Not only that, but we can listen to the electromagnetic “voices" of planets, supermassive black holes and solar winds, all playing their eerie, odd and beautiful song throughout space.
Humans are adding to the galactic playlist too. In 2012, Voyager 1 reached interstellar space, aboard which are two phonograph records, containing the sounds and songs of our Earth, designed to be discovered by intelligent extraterrestrial life. At 11.7 billion miles away, it is the farthest human made object from earth.
And if you were to travel further out, to Lambda Serpentis - a sun visible to the naked eye - you’d just be receiving the first 1969 radio broadcasts of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. And even further out Also Sprach Zarathustra and even Star Trek theme: cornerstones of our popular understanding of the magnitude of the universe beyond our Earth.
But as with Forest Sounds Theatre’s affinity for the fantastical, these radios each have their own characterful personality.
This project was a partnership between Forest Sounds Theatre and Access Space, South Yorkshire’s open digital arts lab. It was supported by Joe Heffer PhD, a scientist of particle physics.