Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was sent to the moon. What happened next?

Artist Katie Paterson currently has an exhibition on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. As one of her exhibition pieces, the artist placed a grand piano in the middle of a large chamber room that is programmed to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

One of the exhibits in the Earth Moon Earth Exhibition by Katie Paterson.

What makes this project unusual is that the artist sent a classical piece of music to the Moon and back using Morse code (known as Moon Bounce).

Specifically, Paterson used Morse code to convert musical notes into information. This information was sent to the moon where it then reflected off the moon’s surface before returning to Earth.

Sonata’s missing reflections

What’s interesting is that the moon didn’t reflect all of the information that was sent. In short, certain notes never made their way back to earth. Nevertheless, those musical gaps and absences remained in the score.

What does the Moonlight Sonata sound like now?

In the video you can see the programmed notes of the Moonlight Sonata playing. However, so too are the gaps of silence; those missing moments captured in lost shadows and moon craters.

What’s this got to do with content marketing?

Just this. When you’ve sent a piece of content you think will resonate with your audience, think again. Think of those craters and shadows on the moon. Think of how messages may drift, even lose their way if you don’t pay attention to the audience for which they are intended. If you don’t consider this, your messages may become diluted, and may even lose their potency.

As content writers – in whatever discipline – every word must have a reason for being on the page. Focussed, thoughtful and intended collections of words will effectively communicate the right message.

You only have someone’s attention for a short amount of time, so appreciate their time, research and understand their needs, and reply to their open challenges with a focus that creates a great starting point for next steps.

When artists collaborate

As for Katie’s approach to her art, she recognises the need and continually seeks to collaborate with many people including scientists, astronomers, cosmologists and supernova hunters. In her mind’s eye, each brings an important piece to any project at hand. Success comes from teamwork.

The Scottish Gallery of Modern Art is extending the Earth-Moon-Earth exhibition into 2021, so try not to miss it if you can!

Penny for your thoughts?