As a live performance event between 8:30 and 9 PM Mountain time on September 21st 2012, we collected and beamed Twitter discussions from participants worldwide towards GJ667Cc – an exoplanet 22 light years away that might support human-like, biological life. By engaging the millions of voices in the Twitterverse and dispatching them into the larger Universe, Tweets in Space activates a potent conversation about communication and life that traverses beyond our borders or understanding.
Previously, only elite institutions and select individuals with access to expensive equipment could communicate beyond Earth’s orbit. Now, everyday folks needed only add the hashtag #tweetsinspace to their short texts, and their words were relayed to GJ667Cc at the speed of light. Our soon-to-be alien friends might receive scores of unmediated thoughts and responses about politics, philosophy, pop culture, dinner, dancing cats and everything in between.
Anyone with a web connection could take part, simply by signing up for a free twitter account, or using our anonymous web interface, to send out their texts. We collected messages tagged #tweetsinspace and transmit them towards GJ667Cc via a high-powered radio transmitter. Tweets were also streamed to a live public website, where they’ll be permanently archived, as well as projected as a live event in the Balloon Museum during the International Symposium on Electronic Art in New Mexico (ISEA2012).
In addition to extensive general advertising, we personally invited a wide range of artists, bloggers, celebrities and political figures to participate, promoting others to do the same. @ladygaga, @SnoopDogg, @KevinSpacey and @Oprah will be on the same level of communication with the ETs and ALFs as all other tweeters. Viewers and contributors were able to see and respond to each other’s messages in real time, as they were telecommunicated across the cosmos.
Tweets in Space asks us to take a closer look at our spectacular need to connect, perform and network with others. It creates a tension between the depth and shallowness of sharing 140 characters at a time with the entire Internet world, in all its complexity, richness and absurdity, by transmitting our passing thoughts to everywhere and nowhere. These “twitters” are stretched across all time and space as a reflection on the contemporary phenomenon of the “status” updates we broadcast, both literal and metaphoric.