Monuments to Wonder

February 16, 2017 - architecture / art / astro anthropology / astronomy / exoanthropology / SETI

Aimed toward the sky – these radio telescopes look up into space. Listening, collecting, as monuments to wonder. Where are they aimed, what are they listening to, looking at, receiving? Considered as a monument, the dish stands for the yet to know and understand, and sometimes less often for communication with something or someone orbiting Earth or another planet nearby, or a spacecraft leaving our solar system like Voyager.

The Milky Way glitters above the ALMA array in this image taken from a time lapse sequence during the ESO Ultra HD Expedition. (ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org))

But in the distant future, dishes may be pointing to the known, to humans elsewhere, to others elsewhere who are not speculative but familiar. Monuments to wonder might then become like other ignored infrastructure – not standing in for wonder at all, from an iconographic perspective, but simply working.