The Event Horizon Telescope is an international astronomy project connecting observatories around the globe. The mission of this vast collective telescope array is to produce an image of the border of the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, named Sagitarius A* (pronounced “A-star”). A process called Very Long Baseline Interferometry coordinates the simultaneous observations from the distant telescopes in the array and allows it to form one coherent image. This process of resolving an image from patterns of interference, drawing form from multiple perspectives that are distant and complex, becomes a central metaphor in the video and sound installation.

A*
2019
4-channel video, 4.1 sound
29 minutes


The video tells a story from multiple intertwined perspectives of a journey to the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawai’i island, where two observatories in the EHT are located. Narrated in intertitles, fragments of text trace clashes of meaning and understanding: between science in the popular imagination and its lived practices; between traditional cultural practices and those of western science; between western knowledges and imperialisms past and present.

Simultaneously, the video presents a text-based score for music performance: printed cue cards deliver instructions addressed directly to a quartet of improvising musicians. Based in Honolulu, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Berlin, each musician worked in isolation to make a sound track to the video by playing it as a score. Graydon mixed this array of performances together in a spatialized soundscape, allowing its form to emerge from the resonances and interferences each player’s interpretation brought to the work.

featuring music by Ryan Choi, prepared baritone ukulele; Cecilia Lopez, synthesizer; sawako, breaths and planetary sounds; Jan St. Werner, electronics

video excerpt


A* (excerpt, single screen composite preview) from Andy Graydon on Vimeo.