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During her residency, Heidi Neilson built a quadrifilar helicoid antenna for the roof of Elsewhere to intercept weather data transmissions from NOAA weather satellites that passed overhead. Acting as a citizen scientist, she set up a workstation in the 3rd floor Ghost Room, learning to translate the transmissions into images using open source software and researching the interference patterns that appeared on those images. Her activity gave visible form to the otherwise invisible streams of data that pass through the everyday environment. It provided a dramatically enlarged frame for understanding how the museum is situated geographically and how stuff takes up room around us. Beyond this, Faxes from Space both models and participates in broadening community access to information and technology generally seen as out of public reach.

Additionally, Neilson turned to Cold War era educational texts from the Elsewhere collection to illustrate a book that describes her research methods and findings, thus connecting early efforts to draw a lay public into conversations about space age technology with her own practice.

 

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