Zina Kaye and Mr. Snow «Firmament» 2001-03.
Firmament satellite, 2001-03
Firmament diagramme, 2001-03
Firmament is Java application, PD patch that was built to interface with data coming from a radio telescope. It was initially developed during the acoustic.space.lab project at Ventspils Starptautiskais Radioastronomijas Centrs, the VIRAC radiotelescopes, Irbene, Latvia, in August 2oo1. The project was organised by RIX-C and involved more than 30 artists from all over the world.
Firmament reads in data coming in to the dish which is interpreted by a computer at the facility. Each line of data includes a UTC timestamp, the azimuth (the angle around the horizon) and the elevation of the dish (the angle up from the horizon towards the zenith, the point overhead) and the dish temperature or the strength of the signal received at that point in space. The 32m dish we were using was 'listening' at a frequency of 11GHz.
The diagramme shows the 'three days' data set. That is, an aggregate of all the data sets captured during the three days the group spent at Irbene. The first samples taken were of Venus, followed by an 'acoustic pan' of the horizon. The satellite dish was at an elevation of 11° and was rotated through nearly a complete 360° arc with an acoustic microphone near the sweet spot in front of the feed horn. This scan took about half an hour. On the following day, an early morning scan of Jupiter was made. Later in the day, a hi resolution scan of the sun was taken. This was made up of multiple sweeps of the suns surface, each time re-aligning the dish slightly to compensate for the suns motion in the meantime.
Firmament continues Kaye and Snow's investigations into the low-tech poetics of space.