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Hidden in plain sight

Addie Wagenknecht

As thousands of visitors filled Jodrell Bank for bluedot festival, one sat hidden, distant, yet in control: the American artist Addie Wagenknecht.

Wagenknecht’s data-driven audio visual work, Hidden in Plain Sight, was informed and generated from data sets collected at the University-owned observatory. These were then projected onto the Lovell Telescope and accompanied by an immersive soundscape.

Modelling patterns that occur within deep space, and inspired by the aesthetic of dazzle camouflage, Wagenknecht’s work focused on the process of perception in radio astronomy. Festivalgoers saw the telescope as an object that extends beyond the physical structure, echoing the information which has always been there, camouflaged by distance and the chaos of space.

For this work Wagenknecht collaborated with Manchester researchers Rene Breton, Philippa Hartley and Sally Cooper. The commission was developed as part of COSMOS, a collaboration between the University, the SHIFT digital events programme in Cheshire East and the commissioning agency Abandon Normal Devices. Each year, COSMOS invites an international artist to collaborate with scientists and researchers at Jodrell Bank Observatory to visualise the knowledge gathered about deep space.

Hidden in Plain Sight

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