SETI Lights is a real time data visualization. As a spatial installation, it wants to create a connection between art and non-human agency. Here, radio waves from outer space are simultaneously received, analyzed and visualized in form of light.
The sociological term »agency« describes an individual’s ability to act. In the context of the course, non-human agency characterizes the collaboration between a human and a non-human element. That‘s how the project SETI Lights, which includes a non-human factor in design, emerged.
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) describes the search for alien life forms. Here, signals in the radio range of the electromagnetic spectrum are sent into outer space. Since 1999, the signals in the form of radio waves have been analyzed in a global network (SETI@Home) by home computers of users. They look for Gaussian rises and falls in transmission power, which might indicate an extraterrestrial radio origin. Furthermore they search for pulses, the narrowband radio signals, and triplets (three pulses in a row).
The Frequency analysis of the received radio waves is visualized by lights in a room. Each of the five tube lights is assigned to a range of frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. With this, the lights represent the analysis of the radio waves, which are received and evaluated by a computer via the SETI@Home network, in real time.