February 14, 2012 | 10:00am
An unusually interesting vehicle recently caught my eye while I was walking around Tempe. It was Matthew Mosher's musical meditative space rover, Tranquility. Needless to say, I've never seen anything quite like it.
Tranquility is all about transporting a sound experience wherever its operator goes. Tranquility, a solar-powered contraption which is operated by one person sitting inside of it, can play music that relaxes people both outside and inside of the space rover, but it is typically used for relaxing the operator of the rover rather than those outside of it. Mosher is able to create "a kind of sideways buzz of which the frequency varies [based on] the angle of a satellite as it passes around the Earth."
More on Tranquility after the jump...
One of the goals of the project is to connect the tracking of satellites with music and meditation, and to link meditation with exploration. "The meditation exploration part is a metaphor for inner self exploration," Mosher said. Matthew came up with a brilliant way to facilitate that: The operator of the space rover wears an EEG headset, which monitors how relaxed they are. "The more relaxed you get, the more you're able to subdue these loud sounds and create this pleasing binaural audio tone that will help you maintain your meditative state," Mosher explains.
Mosher tends to not play any music in Tranquility when using it for strictly meditative experiences, but recommends "some Peter Gabriel, The Last Temptation of Christ kind of stuff" if you're craving some audio while you're in there.
The idea behind Tranquility originally came about this past summer when the national space program experienced some monetary cuts. "I'm just one guy," Mosher said to himself at the time of the cuts. "There's nothing I can do about this, but maybe I can make a project that would raise awareness, and at the same time relate to something I do know about and can influence, which is meditation."
Matthew's Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition at the Harry Wood Gallery
is open now and will be available to the public through Friday, February 17. Admission is free. In addition, a dance party will be going down tonight from 6-8 p.m., featuring live music by Tony Obr
. Tony Orb will be spinning top 40 hits "mixed with sound files from the old NASA voyager Apollo and Gemini missions...the audio they picked up from other planets," Mosher said. Stargazing with the ASU Astrodevils will follow.
Luckily there's another upcoming opportunity for you to check out the Tranquility rover if you can't make it to Matthew's exhibition this week. Tranquility will also be at the Mesa Festival of Creativity
at Mesa Arts Center in March.
For more information about Mosher's Tranquility project, check out his website