Voyager: Humanity in Interstellar Space

Universal Space Program, New York, USA

Evangelos Kotsioris, Rutger Huiberts

Multimedia installation (circular projection, digital sound, real-time digital counters), 1hr, 57min

Alt Art Space, Istanbul Design Biennial, Are We Human?, 2016.


Wayne Miller, “Birth,” 1946. © Chrysokona Mavrou


The Voyager 1 space probe is the human-made object furthest away from Earth. Launched by NASA in 1977, Voyager 1 and 2, were… designed to become humanity’s potential ambassadors to extraterrestrial forms of intelligent life. Each of the probes bears on its backside a copy of the Voyager Golden Record: an audio-visual introduction to “Life on Earth” encoded as a phonographic signal… The most human thing, perhaps, about sending Voyager’s interstellar ‘in a bottle’ is not the anticipation of an answer, but the comforting thought that the message is somewhere out there. The Voyagers already constitute two archaeological remnants of our species from 1977… As their sensing instruments fall into sleep one by one, they are destined to become two inert cenotaphs to our species.

Artist’s impression of Voyager 1’s flyby Jupiter and Saturn, ca. 1977. © NASA


NASA, Voyager Golden Record cover, ca. 1977. © NASA


Edward H. White, the first American astronaut to perform a space walk, 1965. © James McDivitt/NASA


Voyager: Humanity in Interstellar Space, was presented at the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, Αre We Human?, curated by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley in 2016. The project is a reflection on both the Voyager Golden Record, a collection of 116 images, sounds and music selected by NASA in 1977 to explain human civilization to alien species, and the persistent ambition of humanity to communicate with alien forms of life. Two copies of the Golden Record travel in deep space on board the space probes Voyager 1 and 2. An oversize circular screen comprised the main element of the installation on which a selection of the images of the Golden Record was projected. Two digital counters displayed in real time the distance of the probes from earth in kilometers. Finally, a cluster of cushions on the floor equipped with headphone sets allowed exhibition visitors to “travel” in space while listening excerpts of the sound recordings included in the Voyager Golden Record…

Phillip Leonian, “Cathy Rigby,” Sports Illustrated, 1971. © Petros Pattakos


Turtox/Cambosco, “Cell Division,” Macmillan Science Co. © Cahit Özinal


Donna Grosvenor, “Dancer from Bali,” National Geographic, ca. 1969. © Universal Space Program


Voyager installation under construction, 2016. © IKSV


USP: Rutger Huiberts, Evangelos Kotsioris, 2016. © Chrysokona Mavrou


Universal Space Program (USP) was founded by architects Evangelos Kotsioris and Rutger Huiberts. Based in New York, USP works at the intersections of media, architecture and urbanism. @universalspaceprogram

Evangelos Kotsioris is a New York-based architect and architectural historian. He holds an MArch II from Harvard GSD and is currently completing his PhD at Princeton School of Architecture. Kotsioris is founding principal of Universal Space Program and the 2016-17 Emerging Curator at the Canadian Center of Architecture in Montreal.

Rutger Huiberts is an architect with a background in urbanism. He holds an MSc Degree (cum laude) in Architecture from TU Delft. Based in New York, he is founding principal of Universal Space Program. Huiberts’ writing has appeared in publications such as MONU, Conditions, CLOG, Volume and OnSite Review among others.