Reaching Towards the Nonhuman: #tweetsinspace

This is just a quick post about a really interesting participatory artwork that goes live today called Tweets in Space by Nathaniel Stern and Scott Kildall. Essentially, Stern and Kildall are going to be transmitting messages from Twitter with the hashtag #tweetsinspace towards exoplanet GJ667Cc, the closest planet suspected to have life some 22 light years away. More details about the project can be found below in the artist’s statement.

So if you want to send you tweets into space the event takes place from 8:30 – 9:00 PM Mountain Time; 7:30-8PM PST; 9:30-10PM CST; 10:30-11PM EST during the International Symposium on Electronic Art in New Mexico.

I think it raises some questions about human communication technologies, human-nonhuman communication and relation, and how there is a more-than human element to all technology. I will be writing something about this project after the event when I have a bit more time. In the meantime, you can find press about the work here. As well, this is what the artists have to say about the work:

As a live performance event between 8:30 and 9 PM Mountain time on September 21st 2012, we’ll beam Twitter discussions from participants worldwide towards GJ667Cc – an exoplanet 22 light years away that might support human-like, biological life. By engaging the millions of voices in the Twitterverse and dispatching them into the larger Universe, Tweets in Space activates a potent conversation about communication and life that traverses beyond our borders or understanding.

Previously, only elite institutions and select individuals with access to expensive equipment could communicate beyond Earth’s orbit. Now, everyday folks need only add the hashtag #tweetsinspace to their short texts, and their words will be relayed to GJ667Cc at the speed of light. Our soon-to-be alien friends might receive scores of unmediated thoughts and responses about politics, philosophy, pop culture, dinner, dancing cats and everything in between.

Anyone with a web connection can take part, simply by signing up for a free twitter account and sending out their texts. We will collect messages tagged #tweetsinspace and transmit them towards GJ667Cc via a high-powered radio transmitter. Tweets will also be streamed to a live public website, where they’ll be permanently archived, as well as projected a live events in the Balloon Museum during the International Symposium on Electronic Art in New Mexico (ISEA2012).

In addition to extensive general advertising, we will personally invite a wide range of artists, bloggers, celebrities and political figures to participate, promoting others to do the same. @ladygaga, @SnoopDogg, @KevinSpacey and @Oprah will be on the same level of communication with the ETs and ALFs as all other tweeters. Viewers and contributors will be able to see and respond to each other’s messages in real time, as they are telecommunicated across the cosmos.

Tweets in Space asks us to take a closer look at our spectacular need to connect, perform and network with others. It creates a tension between the depth and shallowness of sharing 140 characters at a time with the entire Internet world, in all its complexity, richness and absurdity, by transmitting our passing thoughts to everywhere and nowhere. These “twitters” will be stretched across all time and space as a reflection on the contemporary phenomenon of the “status” updates we broadcast, both literal and metaphoric.

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