radia #720: Space is the Place [Usmaradio] & DIE ZWEITE HÄLFTE
Radiowork for radio telescope sounds and modular synth
Produced by Roberto Paci Dalò
Production: Usmaradio, Giardini Pensili
Created for Radia
INAF – Istituto di Radioastronomia
Medicina Radio Astronomical Station
Space is the Place works on radio signals collected at the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station – INAF National Institute for Astrophysics ‘Northern Cross’ (Italy). The signals are converted into audible sounds by human ear in order to create a data base which has been used in conjunction with live electronics for the performance presented in world prèmiere on 25th June 2018 at SciArt Summer School on Big Data. This radiowork is based on this original performance. The Summer School was a preparation for JRC Resonances Festival III, a project of the European Commission which will be presented during 2019.
The project is a hommage to composer and poet Sun Ra and in particular his Space Is the Place film and album. Space Is the Place is an 85-minute Afrofuturist science fiction film made in 1972 and released in 1974. It was directed by John Coney, written by Sun Ra and Joshua Smith, and features Sun Ra and his Arkestra. During the late-1960s and early-1970s, Sun Ra and his ensemble made several forays to California. In 1971, Sun Ra taught a course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos”, at University of California, Berkeley. Over the course of these California visits, Sun Ra came to the attention of Jim Newman, who produced the film based, in part, on Sun Ra’s Berkeley lectures.
More about the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station
Several laboratories are present, dedicated to topics such as: radio frequency, electronics, time and frequency and RFI. A team of engineers, technicians and researchers is in charge of the design, development and test of all the aspects related to the radio telescopes, in particular as concerns their mechanics, radio frequency devices, digital systems and control software.
The Medicina radio astronomical station staff has gained deep know-how in many topics related to the construction of radio telescopes. Inside the station labs many technological solutions were designed, developed and tested. Examples of the achieved skills are provided by the making of: the active surface system for Noto and SRT, a new vertex room concept for “frequency agility” implemented in Medicina and Noto and an innovative rail solution developed for all the Italian dish antennas.
SKA (Square Kilometre Array) is an international project involving many countries: Italy, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Sweden, China, Australia, Canada and South Africa. Its goal is the production of a powerful new generation radio telescope: SKA will be up to one hundred times more sensitive than of any of the existing radio telescopes. This instrument will be based on a huge number of substations, deployed in 3,000-kilometer wide areas located in Australia and South Africa. It will allow a next generation of scientists to observe the radio sky with unprecedented performance. INAF-IRA is Work Package Leader for the receiving system – the one in charge of amplifying and filtering the signals between the LNA (Low Noise Amplifier) output and the ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) input. The Medicina station is studying all the problems related to the “antenna array implementation” using a prototype called MAD (Medicina Array Demonstrator). Experts are paying particular attention to the array calibration methodologies, testing new back-ends together with the software and algorithms in use.
JRC Resonances Festival
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission has a strong interest in working with the arts as part of its multi-disciplinary support to EU policy making. The JRC intends to activate rapprochement between the arts and the sciences of the last decades in its daily practice. To that end it established a project in art and science: SciArt. SciArt investigates this growing movement and to map these changes on a philosophical, scientific and artistic level.
The flagship initiative of the project is the Resonances Festival, which brings together artists, scientists and policymakers around themes central to the JRC and the European Commission.
The festival aims at fostering awareness and stimulating new thinking/sensing at the border between science, art and society through the production of corelated works by artists, nurtured by the dialogues with scientists. The upcoming 2019 edition “Resonances III” focuses on Big Data: the challenges of generating, storing, sharing, selling, analysing, using, misusing, hacking, etc., large data sets of all kinds.
Roberto Paci Dalò works with radio since 1989. Musician, director, and visual artist he has created a body of over 40 radioworks, founder and director of LADA L’Arte dell’Ascolto (radio festival 1991 –・1998 Rimini / San Marino), created the web radio Radio Lada in 1995 and he’s founder / director of Usmaradio, the radio station produced by UNIRSM. His work deals with art, science and nature interconnections and has won him international admiration from, among the others, John Cage and Aleksandr Sokurov. He leads the Giardini Pensili company, has been recipient of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD Fellowship and the Premio Napoli 2015. Member of the Internationale Heiner Müller Gesellschaft and the British Cartographic Society. Founder in 1988 in Jerusalem of the ‘RPD Klezmer Orchestra’.
Collaborations include: Kronos Quartet, Fred Frith, Alvin Curran, Terry Riley, Tom Cora, David Moss, Robert Lippok, Hermann Nitsch, Stefano Boeri, Akio Suzuki, Philip Jeck, Yasuhiro Morinaga, Stefano Scodanibbio, Peter Courtemanche, Scanner, Adriana Borriello, Amelia Cuni, Joëlle Léandre, Maurizio Cattelan, Werner Durand, Mouse on Mars, Paolo Rosa, Gabriele Frasca, James Rosen, Mariangela Gualtieri, Leonardo Montecchi, Cesare Ronconi, Patrizia Valduga, Giorgio Agamben, Predrag Matvejevic’, Levon Zekiyan, a.o. His projects have been presented in such venues as Tonspur MQ Wien, Locarno Film Festival, MAXXI Roma, Venice Biennale, Fundaciò Joan Mirò Barcelona, Wien Modern, Ars Electronica Linz, Charlottenborg Copenhagen, ZKM Karlsruhe, Bienal de Radio México, Kunsthalle Wien, Power Station of Art Shanghai, SKIF St. Petersburg, MaerzMusik / Berliner Festspiele, Vienna Opera House, a.o. His galleries and museums’ work is presented internationally by Galerie Mazzoli Berlin. Professor of Interaction Design at UNIRSM Università degli Studi della Repubblica di San Marino, Roberto spent his childhood in Tremosine (Lake Garda) and has been living in Berlin, Rome and Naples with residencies in Vancouver BC. He currently lives and works on the Rimini’s hills and in Tremosine sul Garda.
DIE ZWEITE HÄLFTE
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