Artists win $10,000 prize with moon ‘Wave Signs’

Artists Carrie Bodle, left, and Amaranth Borsuk

Two University of Washington Bothell faculty members have won a $10,000 prize in a competition with more than 50 entries in which they were asked to imagine what an artist would create on the moon.

Amaranth Borsuk and Carrie Bodle collaborated to create Wave Signs for the exhibition called Giant Steps: Artist Residency on the Moon at the King Street Station in Seattle. It was selected by a jury of curators, scientists, artists and engineers for the $10,000 grand prize.

“We are thrilled that the jury chose Wave Signs! they said. “We are honored to be awarded the grand prize, particularly given the jury’s expertise in both artistic merit and technical feasibility.”

The money will help fund future projects for the pair who found success on their very first collaboration.

Wave Signs is a proposal for a hypothetical lunar work and a gallery installation that illustrates the relationship in poetry and science between the earth and the moon. The artists proposed sending up a solar powered radio signal relay station that would upgrade Apollo 14’s antennas to tap into today’s frequencies and digital data packets.

“The remote-controlled station becomes a listening post on the moon’s surface -- a conversation partner that can be used for a variety of art and communication programming beyond this initial project,” the artists said.

Wave Signs references the 1940s work of the Army Signal Corps which explored the possibility of bouncing radio waves off the moon in a program the Army called Project Diana. The gallery installation uses two industrial megaphone-style speakers suspended from the ceiling to represent relay stations on the earth and moon. Visitors passing between the speakers hear voices echoing from one to the other.

Bodle, who teaches media art classes in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and the Interactive Media Design program, is concerned with the “sonification and visualization of data and translating inaudible or invisible phenomena into sensible experiences in an arts context.” Borsuk, who teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics, focuses on the way texts make meaning through their material form. 

Borsuk and Bodle say there are no concrete plans for the next installation of Wave Signs, but they’re open to the idea.

The Giant Steps installation at the King Street Station was a project of Vital 5 Productions sponsored by city of Seattle agencies and arts organizations.                      (Photo credits Axel Roesler)