Golden Record – Unfuture
Installation – 2022
Collaboration with Roc Parés
From the text of the exhibition Biennal 2064 (2022–2023, Bòlit –Girona–, La Virreina –Barcelona– i Centre del Carme –València):
On March 14, 2020, NASA announced the Voyager II probe’s course change, without being able to determine its cause or regain control. The probe was on its way back to Earth after 43 years of travel, and nothing could be done.
Launched into space in 1977, the probe’s mission was to explore the Solar System and beyond, sending a disc (the Golden Record) that collected 115 images and sounds in order to describe humanity to possible extraterrestrial intellectuals.
In 2040 the probe is picked up in space and its return is accelerated. In 2046 it was deposited at the Houston base. But the illusion was short-lived. NASA made it public that it was a hacking carried out in 2020 from Earth. Someone had tapped into the telemetry signal and navigation commands. But they had also inserted a small neural network in the probe’s computer that helped it to look at the Golden Record photos by itself during the long years of the return trip.
The action was attributed to a self-styled “unfuture” art collective after the dissemination of a video recorded in 2020, claiming “deferred” political practices to defuse predictions. The Voyager events represented a singular blow to the debates of the 1950s on the “battles of time” in the new oracular capitalism dominated by urgencies.
The Estampa collective presents these images commented by means of a navigation device developed by artist Roc Parés and conceived to closely understand the anachronistic game proposed by the actions of unfuture. It is a replica of the neural network that the activist group introduced in the probe to motivate a reflection on which of these contemporary concepts were already in the original images.