Roberto Paci Dalò Space is the Place

- Performance for radio telescope sounds and modular synth
- Lecture

Production Giardini Pensili
In collaboration with JRC Resonances Festival
SciArt Summer School on Big Data 2018
European Commission

Thanks to
INAF - Istituto di Radioastronomia
Medicina Radio Astronomical Station

Space is the Place works on radio signals collected at the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station - INAF National Institute for Astrophysics 'Northern Cross' (Italy). The signals are converted into audible sounds by human ear in order to create a data base which is used in conjunction with live electronics for the performance presented in world prèmiere on 25th June at SciArt Summer School on Big Data.

The performance is followed by a lecture where the artist presents a showcase of art & science projects created internationally through more then 2 decades. The main categories of this body of works are: interactive installations for museums, performing arts, radio & telematic performances.

Sun Ra
The project is a hommage to composer and poet Sun Ra and in particular his Space Is the Place film and album. Space Is the Place is an 85-minute Afrofuturist science fiction film made in 1972 and released in 1974. It was directed by John Coney, written by Sun Ra and Joshua Smith, and features Sun Ra and his Arkestra. During the late-1960s and early-1970s, Sun Ra and his ensemble made several forays to California. In 1971, Sun Ra taught a course, "The Black Man in the Cosmos", at University of California, Berkeley. Over the course of these California visits, Sun Ra came to the attention of Jim Newman, who produced the film based, in part, on Sun Ra's Berkeley lectures.

More about the Medicina Radio Astronomical Station
Several laboratories are present, dedicated to topics such as: radio frequency, electronics, time and frequency and RFI. A team of engineers, technicians and researchers is in charge of the design, development and test of all the aspects related to the radio telescopes, in particular as concerns their mechanics, radio frequency devices, digital systems and control software.

The Medicina radio astronomical station staff has gained deep know-how in many topics related to the construction of radio telescopes. Inside the station labs many technological solutions were designed, developed and tested. Examples of the achieved skills are provided by the making of: the active surface system for Noto and SRT, a new vertex room concept for "frequency agility" implemented in Medicina and Noto and an innovative rail solution developed for all the Italian dish antennas.

SKA (Square Kilometre Array) is an international project involving many countries: Italy, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Sweden, China, Australia, Canada and South Africa. Its goal is the production of a powerful new generation radio telescope: SKA will be up to one hundred times more sensitive than of any of the existing radio telescopes. This instrument will be based on a huge number of substations, deployed in 3,000-kilometer wide areas located in Australia and South Africa. It will allow a next generation of scientists to observe the radio sky with unprecedented performance. INAF-IRA is Work Package Leader for the receiving system - the one in charge of amplifying and filtering the signals between the LNA (Low Noise Amplifier) output and the ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) input. The Medicina station is studying all the problems related to the "antenna array implementation" using a prototype called MAD (Medicina Array Demonstrator). Experts are paying particular attention to the array calibration methodologies, testing new back-ends together with the software and algorithms in use.


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