The Institute of Astronomy hosted a new work from the digital composer Matthew C Applegate / Pixelh8 in March 2010 as part of the Cambridge Science Festival.
Observations is an audio-visual study of the people, machines and practices at the Institute of Astronomy, looking at what it means to be an Astronomer, and how astronomical practice has evolved: from observations with the unaided eye and the first telescopic studies 400 years ago, to modern telescopes and satellites collecting data across the full reach of the spectrum, combined with the importance of theoretical study.
Following on from the successful Obsolete? in 2009 at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, Matthew directed, composed and performed this entirely new piece. All of the sounds in the music were recorded from the telescopes and people at the Institute, and interpreted from the data they collect. The performance mixed electro-mechanical, mechanical and ambience, with interviews with leading scientists and curious visitors to the department.
A collection of performance extracts and press coverage about Observations is available on Matthew's blog.
The Observations project was funded by the Performing Rights Society.