Ground Station - Cleveland
Heidi Neilson uses the idea of a ground station, or a terrestrial radio station designed for extra-planetary telecommunication with spacecraft, as a starting point for artistic research into outer space. Compelled by the way in which experiencing off-planet spaces is indirect-mainly through the sensors of spacecraft-she's interested in how it is experienced and understood while grounded here on Earth.

Employing a diversity of materials and techniques in her work, Neilson includes publicly available NASA documents, books, audio and video recordings, and events. To witness the space environment directly, she adopts ham radio methods, including building antennas from readily available materials and software, to receive transmissions from satellites. She creates works which position the individual in relation to things in orbit to emphasize the familiarity of and appreciation for Earth's landscape, and our relationship with land and place that extends into Earth's orbit.

One artwork, Sonic Planetarium, is a real-time spatial sound model of objects orbiting Earth. There are numerous spacecraft and pieces of debris in earth's orbit, but it is typically impossible for us to see them from our vantage point here on Earth. By using audio files recorded from satellite radio transmissions and linking these files with individual tracked orbiting objects, we can play these satellite sounds on a speaker installation as the actual satellites pass by as if you can hear into space. Sonic Planetarium strives to convey to visitors, as sound, what is relatively close in outer space right now.
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