Extraterrestrial escapades at the Golden Record in Lincoln

By Culture24 Staff Published: 09 February 2009

A picture of a diver under water surrounded by fish and dolphins

Richard Bizley, Diver and Fish, 2008. Pic courtesy The Collection

Exhibition Preview: The Golden Records – Sounds of Earth, The Collection, Lincoln, March 21 – May 3, 2009

In retrospect, the 1977 Voyager Golden Record launch appears to have been an incredibly serious business.

Shot into space for the future benefit or disgust of any extraterrestrials or humans who might chance upon it, the phonograph was NASA’s attempt to give outer space a glimpse of our civilisation, described by US President Jimmy Carter as “a small, distant world.”

More ambitiously, Carter grandiosely suggested the audio-visual portrayal of life and culture on Earth was an attempt to “survive our time so that we may live into yours.”

A picture of a colour drawing of a young man's face

Andrew Mania, The Man from Guatemala, 2008. Pic courtesy The Collection

Interest in the modern remake has been enormous – comedians Stewart Lee, Robin Ince and Alex Horne are battling it out in a gig on February 18 at Battersea Arts Centre to decide who will deliver a keynote speech on behalf of humanity.

116 contemporary artists have been invited to respond to the title of one of the images of Earth contained on the original record and a Flickr group has been launched, allowing members of the public to submit their own pictures for inclusion at the show.

Short video works by jokers, artists, filmmakers and actors will also describe aspects of life on Earth, and a spoof documentary by curator Mel Brimfield and Sally O’Reilly will chart the history of intergalactic communication. It’ll probably be fun, even if the Martians don’t approve.

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