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Los Angeles, CA, – Richard Clar using an earth-moon-earth (EME), or moon bounce as it is also called, radioed two very special signals off the surface of the moon where their return was received at Dwingeloo Radio Observatory in the Netherlands.
Clar’s extraordinary two-part project, Giant Step and Lune sur la Lune, paid tribute respectively to Apollo Astronaut pioneer Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon on July 20, 1969 and to the far side of the moon itself, something witnessed only by a rare group of individuals, the Apollo Astronauts. The two radio transmissions to the moon and back emanated from a radio dish in Italy.
Giant Step is a personal response to an event Clar personally witnessed back in 1969, and he wanted to use his creativity to pay tribute to those who took part in the Apollo program, and especially Neil Armstrong for what he did on that momentous day.
He wanted this work to say something about the moon itself, using the moon.
His interest was piqued after hearing about an earth-moon-earth bounce (EME) from Italian artist and colleague, Daniela de Paulis, who together with radio specialist Jan van Muijlwijk developed the process of using EME to send images to the moon and back in 2009. As he researched the Apollo Archives, he came across an Electrocardiogram (EKG) of Neil Armstrong as he took the first step on the moon on July 20, 1969 – and Richard found his inspiration!
While data scientist Dr. Ryan Compton created the sonification tone from Armstrong’s actual EKG graph, prominent Los Angeles-based double-bass jazz performer and composer Roberto Miranda used the tone to create compelling sounds that have been called “edgy and hauntingly beautiful.”
In addition, an image of the first footprint on the moon was transmitted and bounced back to Dwingeloo. [Listen to Neil Armstrong’s heartbeat beginning at the 2:10 mark here Ed.]
“I wanted the art to say something about the first humans to set foot on the moon. Think how many living beings have observed the moon for eons…and now we have made a number of trips to the moon and back. I want people to have new experiences through my artwork,” says Clar.
Lune sur la Lune, an image of the far side of the moon, was transmitted in a poetic gesture onto the earth facing side of the moon. Since only the Apollo astronauts have seen the far side of the moon, using the radio-reflective surface of the moon to produce a site-specific artwork makes the moon a unique part of the process rather than just a subject matter ─ and also gives people on earth an opportunity to witness this phenomenal event and experience the moon in a new and different way. Shortly after the sound and image from Giant Step and Lune sur la Lune were received and processed at Dwingeloo, and will soon be accessible to the world at www.rockthemoon.com.
There was considerable excitement at the Dwingeloo Radio Dish on September 26th by those who witnessed the sound signal and image signals being received from the surface of the moon after the moon bounce. All in all, the art mission was a great success.
“For me It was an incredible feeling to use this 120 ton radio dish, capable of peering into the far reaches of the universe, to create an artwork focusing on one of the greatest achievements in human history,” stated Clar.
Richard Clar’s timeless work has been exhibited in museums, galleries and universities throughout the United States and Europe. His visionary ‘art in space’ began in 1982 with a NASA-approved concept for an art-payload for the U.S. Space Shuttle. Philosophical in nature, many of Clar’s themes originate in space environment issues, such as orbital debris, war and peace, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and water management on earth.
Clar studied at the Chouinard Art Institute (now Cal-Arts). In 2001 and 2002, he coordinated the Leonardo/OLATS/IAA Space Art Workshops in Paris. Clar is the Director of Art Technologies; a Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA); a Member of the IAA SETI Permanent Study Group; a Member of Women in Aerospace, and a Member of the Leonardo Space Art Working Group. He was the Secretary of the former Art and Literature Subcommittee of the International Academy of Astronautics, and a past Member of the Executive Board, Graphic Arts Council, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Clar founded Art Technologies in 1987 as a liaison between the worlds of art and technology. By collaborating with such partners as the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Boeing Aerospace Corporation, and contemporary composers, Clar generates high-visibility art works that transform state-of-the-art technology and highly-engineered materials into evocative contemporary art. His work is found in many corporate collections, including JBL Sound, Home Savings of America, and the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
After spending the last fourteen years in Paris, Richard Clar now resides in Northern California. For more information on his extraordinary artwork, please visit: