Nick Ryan’s Machine 9 at Mona Foma
Nick Ryan’s Machine 9 at Mona Foma ©

Nick Ryan via Mona

British composer and sound artist Nick Ryan and his team of engineering and space geniuses have built a machine that tracks the position of 27,000 pieces of space junk, and transforms them into sound as they pass overhead.

Grappling with a global sustainability issue, Machine 9 makes the hidden world of space junk visible. Created by sound designer Nick Ryan, engineer Dave Cranmer and a team of technicians, the handcrafted sound instrument monitors live data from NASA and other sources, translating the movement of pieces of space debris into sound, in real time.

The machine consists of a 2-metre long cylinder with 1000 'locked grooves' cut into a lacquered surface. Each groove carries a sound signal representing an individual piece of space debris. As pieces of space debris orbit above Earth, it initiates a stylus mechanisms to locate and play one of the 1000 grooves, creating a live audio composition and a unique piece of music.

Machine 9 is part of the Mona Foma taking place in Launceston, Tasmania.

“After ten years of blowing people’s minds in Hobart and three wins as Best Contemporary Music Festival in Australia, we’re taking the show on the road to Launceston.” Brian Ritchie

Machine 9 in Australia

  • Opening Tuesday 15 January, 6–6.30pm
    Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 January, 10am–4pm
    Community Gallery, QVMAG, Inveresk Precinct, Launceston
  • Friday 18 January, 5–9pm
    Saturday 19 + Sunday 20 January, 2–9pm
    Community Gallery, QVMAG, Inveresk Precinct, Launceston
    Included in Three Day Festival Ticket or Day Pass