CU Soon


Machine Performance, Radio Transmission, Slow Scan Television (SSTV), Satellites, Bespoke Software Architecture, Video Installation, 3D Soundscape, Outer space

A performance for humans and satellites. Radio signals from satellites spill down screens. On small TVs these signals are decoded into images. A soundscape generated from the process fills the gallery.

For this performance I created a series of postcards for satellites. The postcards consisted of digital images with messages on. These images were transcoded into analogue radio signals, and these signals were transmitted out to space where they could be picked up by orbiting satellites. The satellites that received the postcards transmitted repsonses back down to Earth.

Each one of these responses sent by a satellite is a new unique image. My original postcards were transcoded and remade - transformed by the touch of the satellite and the noise and glitches acquired during the image’s epic journey into space and back.

The installation enacts that process of transformation and revelation, as the radio signals sent back by the satellite are decoded to reveal these newly created images.

CU Soon sidesteps the gatekeepers and conventional uses of satellites to propose a different kind of relationship with these hidden machines. The universe becomes the gallery as Thompson transmits a series of images encoded as radio waves out into space. These images are intended as fond messages to passing satellites - postcards from the world they’ve left behind. The satellites that intercept these images momentarily become performers, broadcasting the images back down to the Earth’s surface. The performance suggests a collapsing together of observers and observed, of ground and sky, through a process of gifting and exchange.

6 channel video installation with 3D sound. Duration 13 mins.

CU Soon is showing at East Quay Watchet until 3 Sep 23.

CU Soon installed at East Quay. Image credits: Jesse Wild and the artist.

The Making of CU Soon

A deep dive into the making of CU Soon: creating the postcards that were sent to satellites.