In a merger of science and art, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has developed a provocative exhibition at Powerhouse Ultimo, 11 August – 5 November 2023. Influenced by the work of Charles Babbage, a 19th-century scientist who famously built the first automatic computer in the 1830s, Babbage was fascinated by the idea that every breath and every sound impacts the atmosphere. He mused that given the right computing power, it may be possible to recreate memories from the past.
In this educator-led visit to Atmospheric Memory learners will explore Babbage’s visionary ideas of computing, data and memory, and examine some of the instruments that have been used to record atmospheric memories at Sydney Observatory since 1858.
Moving through the exhibition they will encounter Lozano-Hemmer’s realisation of Babbage’s captured memories in Atmosphonia where 3,000 speakers play back field recordings – sounds like the songs of 300 species of birds and 200 species of insects. Diving deeper into the exhibition they will move into the Chamber to add their own voice into the atmosphere using Cloud Display and Voice Tank. In conclusion, making their own memories by measuring and recording atmospheric data on the day of their visit.
On Gadigal land
500 Harris St
Ultimo NSW 2007
15 August – 5 November 2023
Weekdays only, subject to availability
10am, 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm
45 minute sessions
$10 per learner
Free for Supervisors
Minimum program cost $150
Suitable for Primary students
Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Science and Industry Museum (UK), FutureEverything, ELEKTRA / Arsenal Contemporary Art, Montreal and Carolina Performing Arts - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Originally produced by Manchester International Festival with FutureEverything and Science and Industry Museum (UK).