The Sun Dialogs

2015
Zach Poff

Created for Wave Farm's broadcast series "Climactic Climate," commissioned by Ö1 Kunstradio - Radiokunst in Vienna, The Sun Dialogs is a radio program where recorded stories about the Sun are transformed by solar emissions themselves, as detected by satellites and terrestrial sensors.

The Sun's power has been mythologized throughout history. Ancient Egypt is well-known for its Sun worship and the ancient Greeks and Aztecs imagined their sun gods making the daily transit across the sky via chariot. The Sun continues to be worshiped and feared in secular ways by energy companies, environmentalists, and even radio operators who achieve long-distance communications due to the effects of “solar weather” on the Earth's atmosphere.

Solar statistics have been collected for centuries, but until recently there was no way to monitor the Sun's immediate vicinity. In recent decades, new satellites have revealed unexpected cyclical variations on the surface and located hidden features reaching out through space to bind the Sun and the Earth. If this solar data is transposed into sound then it might inform and complicate our understanding, like a parallel track that runs alongside traditional imaginings of the Sun.

At the core of each section of The Sun Dialogs is a recorded story from a mythic, poetic, or journalistic source. Each recording is fragmented and remixed according to the patterns in the accompanying solar data. Some words are obscured by solar flares, stretched by solar wind, or transformed by electromagnetic interference. It is intended as a playful dialog where the Sun's sonified data can challenge and invigorate human narratives.