By way of curiosity or desperation, the voyager is sets off across both space and time. Immigrant or refugee, global or extraterrestrial, they are invited simply by possibility itself. On the move through contested territories, it is a world of signal and of noise, here and there, maybe and maybe not.
Raped by Jupiter, held captive, and cast out to seek escape fromJuno, Io became a refugee. Pictured here in Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione's Io (1609-1663/65), Jupiter and Juno can be seen in the background, oblivious to the victim of their power.
"Then shalt thou come to the Cimmerian Isthmus, even at the pass and portals of the sea, and leaving it behind thee, stout of heart, cross o'er the channel of Maeotis' lake. For ever famous among men shall be the story of thy crossing, and the strait be called by a new name, the Bosporus, in memory of thee. "
Prometheus Bound (340 BCE), Aeschylus
The Voyager 1 space probe passed by the planet Jupiter and its moon, Io, in March 1979. Voyager recorded the violent electromagnetic currents that pass between the two with its Plasma Wave System detector. Parsing the detectors signal from its noise is an art in itself as ions and energetic waves from every direction rattle the delicate craft.
Launched from Earth in September 1977, Voyager 1 is the first human object to leave our solar system into the vastness of interstellar space (on September 12, 2013). The probe carries a gold-plated audio & video disc with "Sounds of Earth" that includes whale song, a crying baby, waves breaking on a shore, as well as the music of Mozart and Chuck Berry. According to NASA, "The Voyagers are destined—perhaps eternally—to wander the Milky Way."
Various cetaceans - bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) swim through the Bosphorus. Marine biologists call these indigenous travellers the “street children” of the Bosphorus because of their daily struggle to swim among the dense cargo ship and fishing boat traffic.
Researchers like Dr. Ayhan Dede (Istanbul University) and Dr. Tayfun Akgül (Istanbul Technical University) contribute to the understanding these ecological dynamics. For more on the important work being done on marine research and conservation, please visit the Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV).
(image generously provided by Professor Ayhan Dede)
Three species of dolphin and porpoise are known to swim through the Bosphorus between the Black Sea and Mediterranean in search of food. While their numbers have dwindled due to pollution and declining fish, they also must dodge the cargo ships that pass through the strait by the hundreds, their songs competing for bandwidth among the cacophony of engine noise. Professors Ayhan Dede and Tayfun Akgül research use hydrophonic recordings to explore this contested sound/noisescape (image generously provided by Professor Ayhan Dede)
Asterias rubens, the common sea star, a celestial form in the ocean realm, a true astro-naut. A slow creature in constant motion, this species of sea star was first recorded in the Bosphorus in 1996, completing its passage through the strait into the Black Sea by at least 2008 (Karhan et al.).
Is every non-native necessarily an "invasive"? What does non-native mean for an animal whose been present on the Earth for over 480 million years?
Make sure they know you are coming, like the Ottoman military marching bands - mehter bölüğü – did in the 13th century. Cymbals were the signature sound of these bands, a crashing signal-by-noise crashing into the ears of enemies and friends alike. An artisanal instrument the Turks, they are made still by hand in Istanbul today - symbolic and cymbalic still today. This is a detail from a miniature painting of a mehter marching band by Abdulcelil Levni from the Surname-i Vehbi (1720).
In 1991 a Beluga whale, native to the Arctic Circle, escaped captivity in Sebastopol, Crimea. Trained to use its own natural sonar to search for mines and lost torpedoes by the Russian military, the whale appeared in the waters off of the fishing village of Gerze in 1992. Locals named the whale "Aydin." Recapatured, Aydin escaped a year later and returned again to Turkey. A voyager forcibly displaced and escaped (twice), Aydin later disappeared in the unfamiliar waters of the Black Sea after fleeing Crimea the second time. A creature of songs, storybooks, and sea parks having lonely sought some kind of return.
Galileo Galilei voyaged far and wide, through imaginary and telescopic visions to places never seen before. His Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems set clear how his observations of Io and other Jovian moons confirmed Copernicus's heliocentric theory, dethroning humanity's assumed centrality, and drawing great ire from the Church, which put him under house arrest for the rest of his life and placed his tome on the Index of Forbidden Books for the next 200 years.
Image by Ottavio Leoni (1624)