Cassini’s Dreams

Sounds of the cosmos have only been explored to a limited degree yet Saturn’s rings have not been deeply explored for its sound. From Cassini’s research, artist China Blue and her team translated the raw data from the dust and ice particles combined with an artistic interpretation of what would be heard from Cassini’s viewpoint as it traveled through and around Saturn’s rings, to create the bases of her exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2019.

“Listening to Saturn’s Rings” is a Cassini laser-to-audio system reading a 3D print of Saturn’s rings.
Based on “Cassini’s Dreams” an album built on space science data to produce music.
Exhibited at the Northeast Planetary Data Center at Brown University’s Geology Department.


Cassini’s Dreams by China Blue
with Seth Horowitz and Lance Massey

Presented in Room #6 in the Palazzo Bembo at the prestigious Venice Biennale
May 9-10, 2019, 6:00 PM – 10 PM
Continuing through November 24, 2019

The installation features an inflatable of Saturn being “read” in real time by a Cassini laser-to-audio system to produce a rich audio experience, built from raw data and artistic interpretation of Cassini’s tour. In space Cassini was our virtual eyes and ears on Saturn. As the probe swept past the gas giant, it travelled above and below her rings, swooping down on moons to fly through icy plumes, above methane oceans, past shepherd moons guiding ring particles in their orbits and spying on propeller moons as they create delicate internal structures and waves.

The discovery of the sounds of Saturn’s rings was created for NASA by China Blue and Dr. Seth Horowitz. This audio was the bases of the CD, Cassini’s Dreams created with Lance Massey. To listen to the work go to:

The paintings are also inspired by the rings of Saturn as seen by the spaceship Cassini. For this body of work China Blue utilizes the infrared color spectrum. Humans cannot see in this color range but with China Blue’s appropriation of the palette she makes visible the invisible while citing this scientific application which helps researchers see photographic images in high detail.

The final element, the Virtual Reality app is a wayfinder that can be used in Venice to find the exhibition as well as by those who are not able to attend. Likened to Cassini’s search for the Saturn, the app enables everyone to participate in their own exploration of Saturn and her rings through the app.


All images copyright and courtesy of China Blue

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