From your den in the middle of the last century, you could communicate with a distant stranger via your ham radio. Our ionosphere – the upper atmosphere – provides a shield and bounces the ham radio wave back to earth to the unknown other. We, humans, are always trying to communicate with the other – the other person – the other ethnicity – the other alien. The ham radio with the voice struggling to be heard through the static is a literal and a metaphorical representation of this need to connect.

Outer space provides those who have experienced it a feeling that we are not divided in the ways we think we are. This is referred to as the overview effect. In this way space serves as a unifying force– a sense that we all belong to a planet rather than to a constructed identity.

At MAX we partner with artists and space scientists in order to plumb the depths of both disciplines, revealing the ways in which they inform one another. Modern technological developments have allowed us to connect with one another in ways we never could have imagined– here at MAX we are betting that the live arts are the most ancient and possibly the most reliable way. You be the judge of that when you join us for the festival MAX 2019: A Space Festival at venues around the Bay Area.

The festival will feature various modes of live arts. Christine Zuercher will have a ham radio shack adjoining her performance installation, THE DIG, May 9-11, 2019. You can collaborate with explorer Zuercher in her dig down and her journey up to the ionosphere to meet those tuned into her radio frequency. Come send your voice out across the planet to communicate with the other and maybe experience the overview effect from the vantage point of the ionosphere.

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