Hidden in Plain Sight, 2018

Hidden in Plain Sight is site specific audio visual piece created for Jodrell Bank’s iconic Lovell Telescope.

A testament to a seemingly insatiable human appetite for exploration, structures such as the Lovell look monumental, but are in actuality just the tip of the iceberg sitting on top of great scientific endeavors. Sitting behind that immense structure is a vast array of data systems, networks and global infrastructure, processing and combining complex datasets to build pictures of cosmic activity.

Through Hidden in Plain Sight we see the telescope as an object that extends beyond the physical structure, Wagenknecht plays with the notion of access to data and how infrastructure is designed to be ignored. Inspired by the aesthetic of dazzle camouflage, the work looks abstract, random, even accidental, and yet as we observe we begin to see patterns. Informed and generated from data sets which have been collected at Jodrell Bank Observatory, the projection focuses on the process of perception in radio astronomy by modelling patterns that occur within deep space. Echoing the information which has always been there but has been camouflaged by distance and the chaos of space. Audiences experienced Hidden in Plain Sight from a prime viewing position in the Star Field, whilst immersing themselves in the accompanying soundscape. A sonic interpretation of astrophysical data and developed in partnership with the acoustic engineering team from ARUP, this spatial audio composition has been generated to provide an immersive parallel to the sound of data and the internet.

Wagenknecht’s piece focused on the process of perception in radio astronomy. Viewers saw the telescope as an object that extends beyond the physical structure, echoing the information which has always been there, camouflaged by distance and the chaos of space. The soundscape was informed by the question of “What does the internet sound like” and was generative, using familiar sounds such as an instant message alert but renegotiated by being slowed down 1000x.

The piece was realized and performed July 17-22 2018 on location at Jodrell Bank Observatory