Christian Lölkes
Arecibo-Nachricht
Installation view »Open Codes«, photo © ZKM | Karlsruhe, photo: Steffen Harms

Christian Lölkes
*1990 in White Plains (US), lives and studies in Karlsruhe (DE)

»Arecibo-Nachricht«
2017, installation

 

In 1974, scientists used the largest radio telescope in existence at the time to send a message into outer space in the direction of a galaxy where alien life forms were believed to exist. Apart from the question of whether it was strategically wise for humans to draw attention to themselves in this manner, the transmission of this message itself presented a challenge: how to encode the information so that any sufficiently intelligent being would be able to decode it? A general message is impossible because one is bound to one’s own intelligence and physics. While everyone on earth knows binary states and rectangles, an »Arecibo-Nachricht« [Arecibo Message] based on them would be unrecognizable to beings who know no discrete states and no angles due to the physics of their planet.