Interference (Fog Inquiry: Wandering Seminar)

Join the Futurefarmers for the first gathering for Fog Inquiry: Wandering Seminar:

Tuesday, February 18
10:30-1 p.m.

Anna Friz, Sound Studies, Film & Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz
Renate Kupke, Adaptive Optics Laboratory, UC Santa Cruz
Marijke Jorritsma, Artist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Yasi Perera, Artist, Musician, Oakland

For INTERFERENCE, the gathering will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Mima Meadow Bus Stop before wandering.

The phenomenon of interference in the reception of light and sound brings together astronomer Renate Kupke and media scholar/radio artist Anna Friz. While both encounter interference in their work, they relate quite differently to its presence – one is harvesting, while the other is weeding it out. Kupke uses the adaptive optics technology in large telescopes to tune light received from deep space whereby interference or atmospheric turbulence is filtered out in order to produce high fidelity images. Friz, on the other hand, endeavors to create “detuned” radio landscapes whereby interference from different physical bodies is a critical medium incorporated into the production of a sonic artwork/experience.    

Invited guests, sound artist Marijke Jorritsma and synthesizer builder, Yasi Perera will navigate these fields of interest. They will process and synthesize profiles of “atmospheric turbulence” (interference) provided by the Adaptive Optics Lab.   

Clues about the structure and origins of our universe have traveled across light years in the form of perfect plane electromagnetic waves, only to be disrupted by the Earth’s atmosphere in their final sprint to the telescope. Astronomers have developed techniques, collectively called adaptive optics, that allow us to compensate for the atmospheric noise as it occurs. The images produced by adaptive optics allow us to explore astronomical objects on spatial scales - the “diffraction limit” - previously obtainable only by telescopes located in space. ~Renate Kupke     

Radio historian Susan Douglas notes that early radio amateurs “were not deterred by a lack of secrecy or by interference from other operators”. These ephemeral, often unstable circumstances of broadcast, both resolutely public and intimate, are the main attraction for radio and transmission artists. If noise is usually defined in communication theory as the unwanted signal that distorts or obscures the desired message, transmission art also understands the potential for noise to indicate difference and relationship, and to offer an experience of dynamic radiophonic ecologies.  ~Anna Friz       

Anna Friz is a sound and transmission artist, and media studies scholar. Since 1998, she has predominantly created self-reflexive radio for broadcast, installation or performance, where radio is the source, subject, and medium of the work. Friz approaches sound and media art from a background in Canadian community radio, with an abiding commitment to micro-radio and other unstable and temporary forms of transmission. Friz writes: "radio as a proposition, as potential, where often medium and content might become one and the same. The space of transmissions is material and imaginary, including but not limited to radio casting, as well as other performative transmissions in performance, action, ritual, and conversation." 

Renate Kupke is an instrument scientist with the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics, part of the University of California Observatories. She has been involved in the design, fabrication and commissioning of several astronomical instruments for Lick and Keck Observatories, and is lead optical designer for an international team of scientists and engineers designing an infrared integral field spectrograph, IRIS, for the Thirty Meter Telescope project. Kupke’s research interests are in novel techniques for manipulation of light to facilitate advances in astronomical research.   

Marijke Jorritsma designs software for robotic space exploration. Her projects on lab include designing augmented reality tools for spacecraft engineering and Mars exploration, and software to support spacecraft operations for the Europa Clipper mission; a spacecraft set to arrive at the Jovian moon in the mid-2020s to determine whether it contains life supporting properties. Off-lab Marijke designs electronic instruments and is a professor in the Music Technology department at the California Institute of the Arts. 

Yasi Perera is an artist, musician living in Oakland and working in the synthesizer industry.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020