DE: Artist & Project
Outer Space Transmitter
The »Outer Space Transmitter« is a participatory artwork for the public space. It invites people to reflect on Europe and the live within the European Union. The Outer Space Transmitter, a satellite antenna created and constructed by Mona Schulzek, can send messages into the universe.
The »Outer Space Transmitter« travels throughout Europe and asks the question: What does it mean to be citizen of the European Union? Via a digital interface, passers-by can type in their individual answers. The artist and ham radio operator Mona Schulzek uses those answers to create art images that are sent as radio wave signals to a satellite. From there, these images are left to the universe as an artefact to be found one day by unknown beings of other worlds and times.
All answers are collected in a constantly growing archive and are published on this website to portray the multifaceted perspectives of the participating citizens.
The »Outer Space Transmitter« starts its journey in the German-speaking area of the EU and moves on to different regions throughout Europe. The upcoming travel dates and places will be announced on this website beforehand.
Mona Schulzek (*1992) is a visual artist. She is currently studying at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the class of Gregor Schneider and Peter Piller. 2019 she received the Max Ernst scholarship for her artistic work, which also featured a solo exhibition in the Max Ernst museum. Additionally, she won the first prize of the Vonovia Awards for her photographic work »Ottomane«, which is represented in numerous private and museum exhibitions.
For her artistic research in the field of »electromagnetic art« she will take her radio amateur exam at the Federal Network Agency in spring 2021.
Art as a universal message
The »Outer Space Transmitter« collects messages in different languages from citizens of the European Union. The ham radio operator Mona Schulzek uses them to create art images which are sent to outer space as radio wave signals. Schulzek understands art as a universal message, which extraterrestrials can extract. She believes that every intelligent life has the ability of reflection and abstraction being expressed through art. Thus, the messages of the »Outer Space Transmitter« can be understood as artefacts of an intelligent, creative species. In consequence, the language of art is the key for the communication with extraterrestrial life forms.
The art images of the »Outer Space Transmitter« are aesthetic interpretations of the messages. For this purpose, Mona Schulzek uses characters, which she has specifically created for the »Outer Space Transmitter«. She implements these characters as an artistic expression within the image, visually re-interpreting the very core of each message.
Radio waves are electromagnetic waves travelling at the speed of light, capable of covering very long distances in outer space. The »Outer Space Transmitter« is transmitting electromagnetic waves, moving linear through the universe from the moment they have been sent. What makes them particular is that electromagnetic waves have an infinite lifespan. They basically exist for eternity – maybe even when earth and all its matter have crumbled to dust. In this case, the legacies of the »Outer Space Transmitter« could serve unknown life forms to find out about the existence of humankind and gather information about it.
The »Outer Space Transmitter« sends images via SSTV-method. The abbreviation SSTV stands for »Slow Scan Television«. Ham radio operators use this method of narrowband television for transmitting still pictures. For an image in black and white to be recognized, a frequency of 1500 Hz for black and 2300 Hz for white is needed. The greyscale lies in between these frequencies.