What if we could ‘rewind’ the movement of air molecules to recreate the voices of the past? Is the atmosphere a ‘vast library’ that keeps a record of every word that has ever been said?
We’re excited to announce the world premiere of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Atmospheric Memory, a major new co-commission with Manchester International Festival, Science and Industry Museum, FutureEverything and ELEKTRA/Arsenal, Montreal.
At once a daring artwork and a sensory performance, Lozano-Hemmer’s breathtaking immersive installation scours the atmosphere for the voices of our past. Inspired by computing pioneer Charles Babbage’s 180-year-old proposal that the air is a ‘vast library’ holding every word ever spoken, Atmospheric Memory asks: was Babbage right? Can we rewind the movement of the air to recreate long lost voices? And if so, whose would we want to hear?
Harnessing both state-of-the-art technology and classic phantasmagorical effects, Lozano-Hemmer’s ‘Atmospheric Machines’ mine the air for turbulence caused by speech, then transform it into something we can see, hear and even touch: trails of vapour, ripples on water, epic 360-degree projections. These new artworks are presented alongside rare pieces from the Science Museum Group’s collections.