Everything From Here to Infinity

Alex M. Lee

2016, 60:00 minutes, colour, English Subtitles

TAPECODE 2079.01

Everything from Here to Infinity is an immersive virtual reality installation in which objects within the most comprehensive map of the universe to date, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), are depicted in the manner of abstract expressionist gestures.

This project is inspired by the surrealist writer Jorges Luis Borges’ short story,
On Exactitude in Science, in which an empire made a map of itself so big – it encompassed the entirety of the empire itself. A metaphorical equivalent to the Borges’ tale, which speaks to the zeitgeist of our big data era, is the SDSS. It is the most comprehensive map of the universe to date and represents 100 terabytes worth of data about every heavenly object from here to infinity. A random sample of 10,000 stellar objects is pulled from the database (Data Release 13) to be visualized at any given time. The user can navigate the entirety of the map starting from the Milky Way to the cosmic light horizon, which is approximately 13.8 billion light years away, ultimately terminating with a barrier comprised of an image of the cosmic background radiation.

Sound for “Everything from Here to Infinity” is pulled from Jon Jenkins' sonifications made from Kepler star observations,from the University of Birmingham's resonant acoustic oscillation recordings of stars in 'M4', as well as recordings of cosmic background radiation. Doppler shift can be observed as the player moves towards or away from spatialized sound sources. This project was realized with support from the Laboratory Residency in Spokane, WA. Thanks to Alan Chatham for his assistance as well as consultation by astrophysicist Alec Hirschauer at Indiana University.

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