Echoes From The Moon
(Pauline Oliveros)

Following is a description of a work that I did first in 1987 and again last night at California State University, Hayward. Echoes From the Moon is scheduled for St. Polten May 30-31 and Salzburg in August in Austria.

The lunar eclipse from the Hayward Amphitheater was gorgeous. The night was clear and she rose above the trees an orange mistiness. As she climbed the sky the bright sliver emerged slowly from the black shadow - crystal clear.

The set up for Echoes From the Moon involved Mark Gummer - a ham radio operator in Syracuse NY. Mark was standing by with a 48 foot dish in his back yard. I sent sounds from my microphone via telephone line in Hayward to Mark and he keyed them to the moon with his Ham Radio rig and dish and returned the echo from the moon. The return was 2 & 1/2 seconds.

Scott Gresham-Lancaster was the engineer and organized all the set up. Scott also arranged the contact with Ham Radio operator Dave Olean in 1987 when I did the first version of Echoes From the Moon in Maine.

When the echo returned to the audience in the Hayward University Amphitheater they cheered. Later in the evening Scott set up the installation so that people could que up to talk to the moon. There was a long line of all age people from the audience who participated. People seemed to get a big kick out of hearing their voices return - processed by the moon. There is a slight Doppler shift on the echo because of the motion of both earth and moon. This marks the premiere of the installation - Echoes From the Moon as I originally intended.

The set up for the installation involved Don Roberts - Ham Radio Operator near Seattle and Mike Cousins at Stanford Research Institute. The dish at SRI is 150 feet in diameter and was used to receive the echoes after Don keyed them to the moon. With these set ups it was only possible to send short phrases of 3-4 seconds. The goal for the next installations would be to have continuous feeds for sending and recieving so that it would be possible to play with the moon as a delay line.

Echoes From the Moon will be done in St.Polten Austria May 30-31 as part of a festival and in Salzberg in August. It could be possible to have a telephone hook up to the USA at selected locations for a kind of simulcast. If anyone is interested please let me know.

The method that we used to get sound to the moon:

Telephone line for sending to Ham Radio operator Mark Gummer in Syracuse NY. He keyed the sound to the moon using a 48 foot dish antenna from his back yard. He returned the sound in 2 &1/2 seconds from his antenna through a second telephone line.

Later in the evening there was audience participation: Telephone line to Ham Radio operator Don Roberts in Seattle who keyed the sounds from his antenna to the moon. The returns were picked up by the 150 foot dish antenna at Stanford Research institute and sent back through a second telephone line.

Each antenna has to track the moon to keep the broadcast in focus. Otherwise the signals disappear into galactic noise.

I had five different sounds to send to the moon in a kind of demo for the audience: Conch Shell, gas pipe whistle, Tibetan Cymbals, Wood block and temple block. The best sounds were the gas pipe and Tibetan Cymbals because of the narrow bandwidth of the telephone line. This demo was done with Mark Gummer keying the sounds and receiving the returns.

Later with the audience participation Don Roberts in Seattle keyed the sounds and the returns went to SRI with the big 150' dish. The voices worked most of the time. The moon has to be tracked by the operators continually. Sometimes the galactic noise takes over when the moon moves out of range.