Nicola Rae: Doppelstern Soundings, 2017
LYNER, MOLNAR, RAE at CUBE 4x4x4 + März Galerie
Augartenstrasse 68, D-68165 Mannheim, Germany. 9th Sept - 21st Oct 2017.


Doppelstern Soundings investigates alternative sonic mappings of Christian Mayer’s double star observations in Mannheim during 1776-77. The current positions of Mayer’s double stars have been located on 12th magnitude TriAtlas star maps through J.S Schlimmer’s re-calculations in the Journal of Star Observations (Schlimmer, 2007).

Two different sound programs have been used to analyse Mayer’s double star mappings. Sonic Photo (based on Photosounder) has been used to scan the relevant TriAtlas star map pixels and synthesize them into sound. Then VoceVista (Sygyt Software) synthesizes this sound back into sonic visualizations. The star maps re-emerge during this process with some ‘glitching’ of pixels and a slightly altered linear spectrogram perspective. Both the TriAtlas map images and their sound visualizations are projected onto 360 degree dome mirrors, reflecting the disorienting spatial and navigational perspectives of stargazing.



The soundscape created by algorithmically synthesizing the map data has not been altered apart from some equalizing of volume levels, although acoustic choices were made as the maps ‘sounded’ more interesting as white lines on black rather than black lines on white. Surprisingly some of these synthesized sounds are not dissimilar to the radio waves received on earth from electromagnetic whistlers, explored in a connected work ‘Interplanetary Radio Frequencies: received from different planetary magnetospheres 1979-2017’ currently showing in Palazzo Mora, Venice, until November 2017.



Many thanks to artist Paul Malone for collaborating on this work through sharing his technical knowledge of stargazing, astronomy and computer programs. Many thanks also to Bodo Maass from Sygyt Software for responding at short notice to requests in relation to his software programs. A big thank you to Blanka Heinecke for this third invitation to make a new installation at CUBE4x4x4.

Images below from the Vernissage at CUBE 4x4x4 on Saturday 9th Sept 2017.