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jonobr1 (M, 34)
Immortal since Jan 9, 2008
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    The Voyager update project
    Description has not yet been created.
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.

    The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution that focuses on the visual arts in all their dimensions, recognizing their capacity to inspire and strengthen humanistic values. The Getty serves both the general public and a wide range of professional communities in Los Angeles and throughout the world. Through the work of the four Getty programs—the Museum, Research Institute, Conservation Institute, and Foundation—the Getty aims to further knowledge and nurture critical seeing through the growth and presentation of its collections and by advancing the understanding and preservation of the world's artistic heritage. The Getty pursues this mission with the conviction that cultural awareness, creativity, and aesthetic enjoyment are essential to a vital and civil society.

    This is the mission statement of the Getty Trust. Now, it being the largest art focused philanthropy (over 5 billion US$) makes the Getty Center an obvious outlet for such a heinously right-side-of-the-brain project (the beacon). But what are the implications on the world and for the Getty as a company? This post is to delve into the connotations of such a merger.

    endowment in billions


    A concept that most certainly should be leveraged when thinking of the future in this way is to contextualize it in society. This metaphor works so well with the brand Getty as it physically exists on the two fronts necessary to contextualize the future, the past and present, the Getty Villa and the Getty Center respectively. In terms of a brand/identity for the Getty their next large physical manifestation should be something in space, like our beacon. It makes an easily traceable line from antiquity (the Getty Villa) to the present (uber modern Getty Center) to the future (beacon made of re-ionized radioactivity).

    Getty Amphitheater in the Getty Villa

    The functions of the two Getty's reflects this mentality of past and present. The Getty Villa houses a replica of a Roman Villa from Herculaneum, ancient southern Italy port town with content inside to boot. The Getty Center while housing past works, houses vast and various research facilities in all facets of the arts as well as scholarships, fellowships, and job opportunities to propagate art in the short term.

    Getty Center


    While in recent the Getty Center holding Courbet, Tim Hawkinson, and other superb artists, the content never had the same pizzaz and wow as LACMA, MOCA, MOMA (SF or NY). Why do people go there? The architecture. The villa is spectacle of ancient Roman architecture and the Getty Center is a marvel of contemporary architecture. Indeed our beacon is no different, as it aims to be as much spectacle as an Aurora Borealis.

    Further, our beacon aims not to contain a message, as the beacon is the message...identical in the practice of both the Getty Villa and the Getty Center by the public.

    The Getty in Space?


    While there are these really great alignments with the perception of the Getty the biggest issue has to do with the Getty's past. They're in deep sh*t with Greece and Italy for possibly illegally obtaining works of art and antique pieces from what is rightfully the nation's. Possessive quarrels don't look to well for a project that wants to project a collective voice/narrative. However, this new project could jettison these problems into oblivion, or at least to the point this negligence is overlooked because of such a magnificent feat in space! Or maybe not...good thing this is entirely theoretical...
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    The Lighthouse Theory is a temporary name for this Voyager update project. In a nutshell we want to mark our territory. This post is sort of the social connotations and implications of this effort. Before I get into the specifics of the social contextualization, I want to first iterate why this idea of marking our territory is so compelling for us.

    Curiosity & Humility

    In thinking about why we want to communicate with an alien life form we realized that there is no way to really come up with anything practical. The alien could be in the spectrum of our imagination, but most likely is something outside of that limited bandwidth of the imaginary alien. This forces us to look within at our own Earth and Solar System.

    Aside from us not being able to imagine or comprehend what we could be communicating with. There are some humane implications that our group felt were worth considering. The first being that any sort of artifact blasted into space, particularly with contents from our earth (a la KEO and Voyager), could render whatever life form overwhelmed.
    A literary example would be Ice-Nine in Kurt Vonneguts's Cat's Cradle.

    A commonplace example would be the episode of the Simpsons where the Simpsons go to Australia. The last scene in the episode finds a Koala Bear on the plane that carries the Simpsons back to the United States. Subsequently the United States becomes overcome with Koala's.

    The inclusion of these examples is to bring up the notion of colonialism. This overwhelming of an element or some other artifact from Earth could damage and possibly hurt the recipient of our message. This is something we do not want as we desire a friendly or at the very least platonic relationship with these aliens. The result is to look within and make our own planet the message.

    So, we're not looking to pillage like Western Europe has for the few hundred years. Well not yet at least. However, this message isn't intended to be so egotistical that we get stuck and stare at the pond like Narcissus. The contents of the message is still up in the air, and for the message itself is not as important as making some kind of connection. That is why the driving force behind our idea is curiosity. This is not like the 60's where we were in hot pursuit of the moon to be better than Russia, this is an age of Web 2.0. This collective knowledge is a powerful symbol of humanity and the curiosity that drives this is what our group wants to harness for this project.


    So what exactly is it that we're doing? Well we're marking our territory. More specifically, we want to create a lighthouse for the rest of the universe. A beacon stemming from our planet or solar system. We see this in many forms from a dog peeing on a fire hydrant, to ferramones, to the yellow stickers german jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

    The Lighthouse of Alexandria

    This lighthouse describes our marking system the best. Not for its physical qualities, but for the social qualities it happened to exude. The wikipedia article goes into further depth, but here are the main reasons for choosing this marking system.

    • It was a navigational beacon.

    • It was a resource silo.

    • It notified other nations, specifically the Chinese in the 13th century AD, that these lands have been accounted for.

    • Finally, it was a monument of spectacle.

    This is just our first iteration, so the marking system will undoubtedly change. We are currently talking about the feasibility of cosmic background radiation as the practical means of communication. But, figuratively this is the intent of the group.

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