Abstract for the 9th Workshop and Symposium on Space and the Arts “Space: Planetary Consciousness and the Arts”, May 19-21, 2005, Château d'Yverdon Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland


Alexander Zaitsev and Richard Braastad

IRE RAS, Russia and Space Services Inc, USA


Similar to SETI – the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Search for ETI), where one listens for messages sent to Earth – METI means "Messaging to ETI": Sending both scientific and artistic messages to the stars. So, METI Art represents not Art about Space, but Art for Space. In other words, METI Art is the creative work of Earth destined for inclusion in the Planetary Consciousnesses of supposed extraterrestrial civilizations.


METI is an important quality of a global civilization marked by a mature Planetary Consciousness. The present state of Earth Consciousness is characterized in part by a low level of METI activity. The fact is that our civilization has engaged in about 100 SETI programs (see, for example, Jill Tarter’s "Archive of SETI", SETI 2020 Roadmap, pp. 381-425), and only one METI Program (at the Evpatoria Radar Telescope). Perhaps, at present, the fundamental nature of the Consciousness of Earth is characterized, in part, by a preference to receive rather than to give? But however that may be, the scientific and technological aspects of METI are clear: Three terrestrial radar telescopes – in Arecibo (Puerto Rico), Goldstone (California), and Evpatoria (Crimea) – can generate signals that are detectable everywhere in the Milky Way Galaxy. In fact, humans have already transmitted four interstellar radio messages toward 16 celestial targets. But, unfortunately, the artistic aspects of METI are in a state of infancy. However, we believe the maturation of METI Art as a widespread art form will evoke an abundance of METI transmissions: With the creation of outstanding works of METI Art, our Planetary Consciousness will greatly shift toward a ‘preference to give’: toward a tendency to share our Planetary Consciousness with the cosmos.


There are at least two peculiar features of METI Art. First, it should be understandable throughout the Universe; or at least we should always strive to achieve this cardinal goal while engaging in the creative process. Second, METI Art should be laconic due to certain technical limitations on the size of interstellar radio messages.


There are at least three sorts of terrestrial Art that are understandable around the world and, presumably, would be understandable by extraterrestrials unfamiliar with Earth: music, dance, and pictures. As an example of pictures we may cite the Arecibo Message, the Cosmic Call 1999 & 2003, the Teen Age Message, and the Bilingual Image Glossary. And as an example of music we may cite the 1st Theremin Concert for Aliens. The language of dance has not yet been used in the creation of METI Art.