Monday, August 02, 2010

Vote for the Stars: Robert Jarvis’ "aroundNorth"

The following post is on behalf of Robert Jarvis:

Vote for the Stars!

The public vote is now open for Robert Jarvis’ short-listed astrosonic project for Armagh Observatory, in Northern Ireland. Entitled aroundNorth, his proposed installation will interpret the sky using the medium of sound, allowing the listener to appreciate the stars and how they relate to Earth in a completely new way. As such, the work promises to be a ground-breaking development for people who are blind or partially sighted, as for the first time it will be possible to actually listen to the changing perspective of the stars irrespective of one’s eyesight or local light pollution.

Composer Robert Jarvis explained, “The score for the work will be derived from the apparent movement of the stars across our sky, as well as making reference to their various characteristics, such as size, magnitude and distance from Earth. As the stars cross equally spaced virtual lines of longitude emanating from Celestial North their sounds will be heard corresponding to their declination and distance from Earth. Brighter stars will slowly crescendo and diminuendo as they move across the lines whilst fainter stars will sound shorter and quieter. In similar manner, other astronomical parameters, such as star size age and colour, will also have their own corresponding musical interpretations, affecting pitch, volume, and so on. As my intention is to work with the different star spectra, translating the different spectral harmonics into acoustic equivalents, I hope that it will also be possible to hear the difference between red dwarfs, blue giants, and so on. As the piece plays, it will do so in synchronisation with the rotation of the earth, making it possible to actually experience the apparent movement of the stars in real-time, and thus will hopefully make a very real connection between its listeners and the wider universe.”

A short film describing how the sound installation will work (shot at Armagh Observatory) is now available for viewing on the internet at:, where it is also possible to help the project succeed in winning by placing a vote for the idea. From Monday 26th July, it will also be possible to text one’s vote by mobile phone. To do this, text '1' to 70099. (Outside the UK it will be necessary to add the appropriate dialling code, so +44 70099). Voters are allowed one online vote plus one text vote.

Please take a look at the short movie, and if you think it appropriate then please register your vote. The more votes that are accumulated, the greater the chance that we will attain the funding required to create the composition and to offer the general public this new way of connecting with astronomy. Please also feel very welcome to forward this news to any and everyone whom you think could be interested. The webpage for viewing the movie and for voting is at: . (composer’s main website) (aroundNorth project blog) (facebook group) (film and vote)

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