“Oh–this is so pretty,” tweets Doug Ellison about a gem of an image he’s cleaned up from a data dump of photography from China’s recent Chang’e 4 robotic mission to the moon. Not getting enough space imagery at his day job, the Curiosity Mars Rover Engineering Camera Team Lead is currently live tweeting a thread of his work processing and de-noising selections from the cache.
The Society For Non-Trivial Pursuits (S4NTP, affiliated with UdK Berlin’s Generative Art class) launches “Future Voices,” a one-year-long radio broadcast generated from people’s “hopes, fears, and dreams,” uploaded as audio recordings from around the world. Commissioned for Berlin’s CTM Festival, the project hopes to amplify “voices that would otherwise remain unheard within an attention economy that favours loudness, provocation, and conspiracy theories.”
“What if satellites were art?” Régine Debatty recounts her visit to “Unseen Stars,” Trevor Paglen’s (temporarily closed) solo exhibition at OGR Torino in Turin, Italy. Revisiting his spacefaring sculpture Orbital Reflector (2018), the show comprises a series of non-functional satellites Paglen designed together with aerospace engineers. Their featureless mirror-surfaces demonstrate what space exploration could look like if, as Debatty puts it, “it were not guided by nationalism, global surveillance, and industrial logics.”
Inspired by how SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is used to ferment kombucha, MIT and Imperial College London researchers have produced several proof of concept living materials. Drawing on the flexibility of lab-grown yeast, Timothy Lu (MIT) and Tom Ellis (Imperial College) have produced microbe cultures that detect environmental pollutants, and glow in the dark when exposed to certain hues of light. “We foresee a future where diverse materials could be grown at home or in local production facilities, using biology rather than resource-intensive centralized manufacturing,” says Lu.