Joachim Beens | golden record | gold coated cassette | 6.4 x 10.1 x 1.8 cm | 2014

Golden Record

Images and virtual field recordings on gold coated compact audio cassette
6.4 cm x 10.1 cm x 1.8 cm
Play time: A Side 23'41" | B Side 23'00"
2014
10 (7 + 3) numbered editions

This cassette is based on the gold-plated audio-visual discs that both of the Voyager spacecrafts carry.
Launched into space in 1977, these 'Golden Records' contain basic information on Earth and its inhabitants, greetings in 55 languages, idiosyncratic earthly and human sounds, a recording of brain waves generated by the creative director of the record meditating on several distinctive human topics, and famous music pieces including Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Louis Armstrong's Melancholy Blues. Attached to the outer shell of the spacecraft, the disk's outer face displays a pictographic manual for playing the record.

Because it was part of a mobile exhibition space, intended to have its seven counterparts travel simultaneously to unknown places at the discretion of their respective carriers, the parallel with the golden record was easily made: communicating a singular and basic introductory idea to unknown addressees.
Through the slow scan television (SSTV) method, I recorded 12 images on the tape's one side - one image of a simple figure to calibrate the signal of the audio; a collection of 10 artworks, of different artists including myself, that I thought communicated my personal concept of human culture, human character and of art itself; and one abstract self-potrait.
The converted images can be listened to here. The result sounds like an alien message.

The other side is filled with a sequence of my virtual field recordings.

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