The ENH Seminar Series 2024 commenced on January 22nd with a captivating lecture titled "Space Hauntings: Golden Records, Hope, and Regrets in a Tender Time," presented by Bo Reimer. Renowned as the Professor of Media and Communication Studies and Director of the Medea Lab at Malmö University, Sweden, Bo Reimer set the tone for an insightful and thought-provoking series.
The talk demonstrated how the theories of hauntology and ontology were used for this project where for more than 40 years Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have travelled through space transmitting data to Earth. Included aboard each of the Voyager spacecraft is a “Golden Record” containing sounds and images telling stories of life and culture on Earth, among them spoken greetings in 55 different languages, both ancient and modern, and 27 music pieces from different parts of the world. Now having left Earth’s solar system, the only spacecrafts to have done so, the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecrafts continue their intergalactic journey with increasingly infrequent contact to Earth.
A part of the audience at the lecture by Prof. Bo Reimer
In the Tender Time installation, produced by the Medea Lab, Malmö University, and exhibited at the Time Space Existence exhibition in Venice May-November 2023, into the Voyagers’ existing cultural archive new sonic layers were curated, performed and woven, adding to the spectral sensibility of the work. The sounds and images etched into the grooves of the Golden Records were (re)presented in an immersive environment, with sonic, visual and textual elements conjuring the disjunctures of space and time that the Voyager mission makes apparent.
Prof. Reimer delivering his lecture
The team behind the Golden Record decided to exclude sounds and images of destruction, war, and distress: the Golden Record was to convey hope. This choice meant, however, that this archive of humankind is haunted by its own clinical purity and a superficial picture of geopolitical harmony. With the Tender Time installation, an attempt was made to challenge this harmony and explore the sense of vulnerability that haunt our current moment of continuous planetary crisis. We therefore recorded, mixed and ‘sent into outer space’ voices that spoke of regret: of plans that did not work out and futures that never got to be, but which still haunt. The project details can be found in this webpage: https://tendertime.uni.mau.se/home.
Prof. Firdous Azim, ENH chairperson is handing over a token of appreciation to Prof. Reimer