Jul 31, 2006
After centuries of speculation concerning the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial intelligence, it has been discovered that a radio signal detected by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico contains artwork broadcast from deep space.
Initially dismissed by scientists as meaningless, the transmission – which originated between the constellations Aries and Pisces thousands of years ago – is now claimed to be the most significant addition to the artistic canon since the Mona Lisa, or even the Venus of Willendorf.
The artistic signal has been painstakingly decoded and transferred onto canvas by conceptual artist Jonathon Keats and is unveiled today at the Magnes Museum in Berkeley California. “This is the ultimate outsider art,” notes Keats, “Historically, our culture has ignored extraterrestrial artistic expression. Exhibited at the Magnes, the art becomes accessible to everyone.”
The discovery of artwork from beyond the solar system did not come as a surprise to Keats, who has frequently collaborated with scientists across multiple disciplines. “It’s a familiar story,” he says, “Researchers expect intelligent life elsewhere in the universe to behave just like them. Since scientists are mathematical, they expect extraterrestrials to broadcast the digits of pi or the Pythagorean theorem.”
The discovery augments earlier findings here on earth of artifacts dating back to a prehistoric alien landing, the so-called Shao-Shan object, they too are very aesthetically pleasing!