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People Are Bouncing Art Off The Moon This Afternoon

The Space Foundation Student Art Contest is projecting kids' drawings onto the moon today.

by Abdullah Saeed
May 1 2014, 9:30pm

When we look at the moon knowing that our most famous astronauts once traversed its terrain, it feels a lot closer. It feels like something we've conquered despite the fact that the last human set foot there more than 40 years ago. Keeping this in perspective, an annual art project from Dutch artists Daniela de Paulis and Jan van Muijlwijk aims to remind us of the moon's majesty and proximity by projecting sounds and artwork directly at it and catching whatever bounces back with the Dwingeloo radio telescope that looks like this: 

The project, known as OPTICKS, works by taking an image and converted its colors to audio. That data is then converted into radio waves which are fired off at the moon. Today, they're adding to the concept by sending radio waves processed from kids' artwork to bounce amongst moon rocks and craters in what the artists call Visual Art Moonbounce. 

In this case, kids from ages 10-18 who entered drawings into the Space Foundation Student Art Contest (part of the Humans In Space oranization) get the chance to have their creations projected into space, far beyond the distance that any human has traveled since before they were born. 

Moonbounce is not new in itself. The US military developed it just after World War II as a means of radio communication. In an AMA held by de Paulis and her collaborators, some users questioned the scientific value of such an art project that isn't necessarily innovative. She was quick to note that its purpose lies in its wonder, saying, "Art is not about achieving something but about enriching our imagination."

Above, one of the converted drawings 

Tune in to the live Google Hangout today to witness Visual Art Moonbounce and see the artists' Reddit AMA from earlier today here.


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