I̶n̛t͘e͟rf̕e̢ren̵ce is a virtual reality experience where the endeavour of space exploration is revealed in an abstract data-informed world of celestial interference.

Interfering can be thought of as an unwelcome act – a network dropping out, white noise on screens, a notification amid silence – but without interference we might not encounter new perspectives or discover new stars. At Jodrell Bank Observatory, scientists see earthly interference as unhelpful noise or ‘dust’ in the data yet, in contrast, astrophysical interference can be invaluable. When combining data from multiple telescopes, wave interference models reveal useful data patterns, uncovering phenomenon such as pulsars.

Become a deep-space pulsar-hunter in I̶n̛t͘e͟rf̕e̢ren̵ce as we invite you to seek out dying, spinning stars. Look and listen for clues, pursue the periodic pulses, then step forward and immerse yourself in each pulsar. Your presence in this intricate 3D pulsar labyrinth will disrupt matter as time and space shifts around you – a new set of rules, a new datascape.

Using algorithmic techniques inspired by astrophysics wave interference patterns, I̶n̛t͘e͟rf̕e̢ren̵ce will transport you to an organic visual and sonic landscape where the interchange between deep space data and knowledge exists.

A proof of concept for I̶n̛t͘e͟rf̕e̢ren̵ce was premiered at Bluedot Festival 19 – 21 July 2019.

Developed as COSMOS artist in residence with Abandon Normal Devices.

screen shot from VR experience, orange view

I̶n̛t͘e͟rf̕e̢ren̵ce created by Julie Freeman, as part of COSMOS, the international artists commission and residency for the Lovell Telescope. Produced by Abandon Normal Devices, commissioned by Jodrell Bank Observatory, Abandon Normal Devices and Cheshire East Council as part of SHIFT. Supported by University of Manchester, bluedot, Arup, Kuva, with public funds from Arts Council England (ACE) and CreativeXR, a joint collaboration between Digital Catapult and ACE.

With special thanks to Lou Hargreaves, Catherine Waddington and the team at Abandon Normal Devices; Rene Breton, Sally Cooper, Ben Stappers and Tim O’Brien from the University of Manchester; Simon Blakeney, Naomi Tansey, Tim Griggs and Simon Jackson from Arup; and the Kuva crew!

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