Matthew Biederman, Marko Peljhan

Star Valley (Sirius)

Star Valley (Sirius) uses two spark-gap transmitters controlled by a natural language processing AI algorithm trained on the US Department of Defense and NATO program nicknames and their descriptions. The work consists of a neural network generating nicknames and corresponding descriptions and is in part inspired by the 1975 Joint Chiefs of Staff memorandum ‘Code Word, Nickname, and Exercise Terms System (NICKA)’, which automates and tracks such assignments. The work addresses the present state of encoding, decoding, secrecy, and transparency by transmitting these neural network generated nicknames in Morse code through a wide-band spark-gap apparatus. Here, the earliest form of wireless transmission is paired with contemporary computational developments to open a window onto the landscape of the accountability of secrecy.

A production: Projekt Atol, Ljubljana

Realized with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the European Network for Contemporary Audiovisual Creation (ENCAC), Conseil des arts et des lettres de Quebec, Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Ljubljana Cultural Programs, Systemics Lab MATP, the University of California Santa Barbara.

Matthew Biederman has been working across media and milieus, architectures and systems, and communities and continents since 1990. He creates works where light, space, and sound reflect the intricacies of perception and policy. In 2008 he co-founded, along with Marko Peljhan, the Arctic Perspective Initiative, dedicated to fusing traditional knowledge through new technologies towards the greater autonomy of the circumpolar region. He has served as artist-in-residence at a variety of institutions and institutes, including the Center for Experimental Television on numerous occasions, CMU’s CREATE Lab, the Wave Farm, and many more. His work has been featured at: Lyon Biennale, Istanbul Design Biennial, The Tokyo Museum of Photography, ELEKTRA, MUTEK, Montreal Biennale (Musee des Arts Contemporain), Biennale of Digital Art (BIAN, Montreal), Artissima (Turin, IT), among many others.

Marko Peljhan is a theatre and radio director, conceptual artist and researcher. He founded or co-founded several still active arts organizations in the 1990s, such as Projekt Atol and one of the first media labs in Eastern Europe, LJUDMILA. He is the recipient of many prizes for his work, including the 2001 Golden Nica Prize at Ars Electronica with Carsten Nicolai and his work has been exhibited internationally at multiple biennales (Venice, Lyon, Istanbul, Gwangju, etc.) and festivals, at documenta, ISEA, Ars Electronica, and museums and art institutions worldwide (YCAM, ICC-NT, PS.1. MOMA, GARAGE, etc.). He is a professor and director of the MAT Systemics Lab at the University of California Santa Barbara, and the Chair of the Media Arts and Technology program at UCSB. In the radio spectrum, he is known as S54MX.