Arts and Culture

This art exhibit is made entirely with satellite data. Take a look.

Highlighting humanity’s impact on the universe

A new exhibit at the Kelowna Art Gallery features a fascinatingly large projection of art accompanied by an ethereal droning soundscape.

All the Stars We Cannot See is an immersive installation that explores the boundless expanse of satellite activity in space featuring a virtual sky with over 25,500 orbiting satellites.

Created by Kelowna-based artists Dr. Megan Smith and Dr. Gao Yujie, this work pulls data from N2YO, a website that tracks information about satellites and their positions in space and allows programmers to integrate tracking data into their own applications.

“Often we look up into the sky and think: Is that a plane or is that a satellite or is that a star or a planet?” Smith told Kelowna10 as her satellite art swirled behind her. “And so, when we started to think about that more as artists and designers, we opened up our computers and started to look for that data a little bit more.”

The project sparks discussions about space colonization, the growing web of surveillance, and the political and economic influences that lay claim to our celestial frontier.

It highlights the global impact of satellite density and encourages profound thought about our expansion into space.

“We converted different data to be more like how we use numbers to paint or create a visual where people can really perceive it differently,” Yujie said.

Though sound cannot travel in space, the underscore designed by sound engineer Da Xu is a component that both artists see as an integral part of the installation.

“We can only imagine what it would sound like with all of these satellites moving in space,” Smith said. “All of these sounds are inspired by objects that could be in space, transistors and capacitors firing, different things that we might be hearing in space if we could hear what these tools do.”

All the Stars We Cannot See opened to the public in April 2022 at the Visualization & Emerging Media Studio at UBC Okanagan and has been presented at EVA London 2021, and Technarte Bilbao 2022. It won an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2022.

It is currently on display at the Kelowna Art Gallery until March 10th.

Published 2024-02-06 by Robin Liva

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