Jonathon Keats designing new instruments at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. Photo by the University of North Carolina-Asheville.
Jonathon Keats recently sat down with Classical Archives’ editor-in-chief Barry Lenson to discuss his remarkable new project, The Library of the Great Silence, which he is undertaking as an Artist In Residence at the SETI Institute.
What is The Library of the Great Silence? And what, for that matter, is The Great Silence? Jonathon explains that the term was coined by the Nobel-Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi (1901-1954). Fermi, it turns out, was convinced that the universe is teeming with intelligent life forms. But if that is true, Fermi wondered why they had never contacted us – why the Great Silence?
Enter Jonathon Keats, who now is creating something he calls The Library of the Great Silence, a collection of human-curated objects that will be strategically installed inside the Visitors Center inside the Allen Telescope Array at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory, located about 290 miles northeast of San Francisco. This library will contain a collection of human-created objects that are intended to be discoverable by alien life forms in different galaxies. The collection might not be exactly what you would expect it to be. It contains object as commonplace as a light bulb, a pair of dice, and even some paper currency. Why are these the kind of objects that could attract the interest of alien life forms? In the video that follows, Jonathon will explain.
We think you will agree that this conversation contains ideas and insights from Jonathon that you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else.
And to learn more about Jonathon, be sure to investigate a new monograph about his work.
Thumbnails of the photographs you will see in the video . . .