Francisco López ‎- Untitled (2017) CD (Auf Abwegen) CD/CDr/DVD

Auf Abwegen, DE

The outer space transmission of a 10-second sound piece (digital audio file) to planet ‘GJ 273 b’ of Luyten’s Star (12.5 light years from Earth) required dramatic levels of data compression: mono 8kHz 8-bit. Changes in resolution such as these, however, are not the only possible form of compression. The classic analog technique of pitch shifting by speeding up playback is, in a literal way, also a form of (relatively) reversible temporal compression.

Using this idea, I proceeded by: (1) creating a sound piece with 10x 1-minute sections from original environmental recordings I did in wilderness locations around the world [see timeline notes below]; (2) speeding up by pitch-shifting enough octaves to have those 10 minutes time-compressed into 10 seconds; (3) finally applying the required resolution compression for the transmission digital file. Interestingly, the resulting audio from this process distictively resembles signals from satellites and some celestial bodies, as received and heard from Earth.

If any intelligent beings in exoplanet ‘GJ 273 b’ can receive, decode, make sense of, and reverse data compression of the audio digital file (by means of any equivalents of reconstruction algorithms or analytic inversion formulas in their culture), I am pretty sure they will easily figure out its time-compression reversibility. If they do –and assuming they have the techno-anatomical/cognitive equivalents of D/A converters, amps, speakers, ears, and brains– they will be able to have a sonic glimpse of Earth’s ecosystems and some of their non-human creatures (as of the turn of the 21st century; or 12.5 Earth-years into their past). This way, they will be able to make a more informed decision as to how to proceed. (F. López)