Finally, a chance to tweet to aliens

Multimedia artists will beam real-time tweets up towards the newly discovered GJ667Cc exoplanet, which is light years away. What do you want to say to your brother from another planet?

(Credit: Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern)

I have so much to say to aliens, I really doubt I could keep it to only 140 characters. But, if I'm going to go the "tweets in space" route to speak to potential life forms on GJ667Cc, I'll need to keep it short.

The experimental art project will beam real-time tweets toward the exoplanet, 22 light years away, during performance events at the 2012 International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) in New Mexico, US.

Tweets will be streamed as animated Twitter spaceships towing messages.
(Credit: Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern)

"Simply tag your Twitter messages with #tweetsinspace, and your phones, laptops, mobile devices — anything with an internet connection — will be transformed into an alien communicator," says San Francisco new-media artist Scott Kildall, who is collaborating on the network performance project with Nathaniel Stern, an associate professor in the Department of Art and Design, at the University of Wisconsin's Peck School of the Arts.

Scientists from the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the University of California at Santa Cruz, who discovered GJ667Cc orbiting a triple-star system in February, say its conditions might support Earth-like biological life.

Kildall and Stern can't promise that your tweets will be read by a little green creature (or even a little water droplet) wielding a Samsung Galaxy S III. They can tell you, however, that your musings will be part of an exploration of "our spectacular need to connect, perform and network with others. [The project] creates a tension between the depth and shallowness of sharing 140 characters at a time, with the entire internet world, in all its complexity, richness, and absurdity, by transmitting our passing thoughts and responses, to everywhere and nowhere".

The pair, currently seeking financial support for the endeavour on Kickstarter-like crowd-funding site RocketHub, say they'll use the donations for either a "home-built or borrowed communication system" for shooting the tweets into space. They've raised more than US$2200 so far, and told Crave that if they reach their minimum goal of US$8500, they'll work with a team that can guarantee at least five light years of travel, for the messages, toward GJ667Cc. "We're hoping the alien listening devices are more advanced than our own, so they can pick it up," they said.

These "twitters" will be stretched across all time and space, as a reflection on the contemporary phenomenon of the "status" updates we broadcast, both literal and metaphoric. — Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern

Apparently, not everyone appreciates the philosophical intent behind the project. "Expect [an] FBI van in front of your house, really soon," one YouTube commenter forewarns. Still, close to 1000 #tweetsinspace messages have already gone out. A favourite example: "No, YOU hang up. (giggle) No, you hang up."

In addition to getting beamed upward at ISEA in September, all #tweetsinspace messages will be streamed to a live public website, where they will be permanently archived. They'll also be projected — as animated tweet-towing spaceships like the one pictured above — at the Balloon Museum and planetarium-like digital dome in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

RocketHub donations, meanwhile, will yield contributor rewards, ranging from an acrylic "Tweets in Space" spaceship stencil and handmade "Tweets in Space" spaceship soap to (on the high end) a working, small-scale satellite model. Promise me a retweet by ET, guys, and I'm in.


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StevieC posted a comment   

i dunno, couldnt money be better spent on other things? we really just spend money for the hell of it some times. space exploration is one thing, but tweeting to probably no one? i should start a fun raiser of some bogus type too at this rate


RobertV1 posted a reply   

They are just making a joke? right?

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