High above Earth an octet of nanosatellites projects a 'plasma box' that taps subatomic particle streams, or Solar Wind, to visualize wireless data uploaded from mobile communications devices on the ground. Volunteers from the cities below contribute their own 3D facial characteristics and verbal data to the constantly refreshed morph above them, while algorithms entropize their personal data within this massive representation of diversity itself. Age, gender, ethnicity and individual expression are incorporated and dissipated in:
project AURORA: the dawn sprite of metahumanity
Graham Budgett, 2003


A proposed global spectacle, Project Aurora is named after the deification of dawn light in ancient Greek myth - Aurora, the Goddess of Dawn - but more familiar to us perhaps in our name for the phenomenon of 'The Northern Lights', Aurora Borealis. The concept of Aurora is then inherently spectacular and sublime:
  • a transition from darkness into light
  • a vision of the near future
  • the anticipation of a new tomorrow and what it holds


In 1982 the artist Nancy Burson made the seminal post-media work Three Major Races. The process she used to obtain this haunting face - morphing - is now commonplace, played out most visibly in popular culture, but also across language itself. For decades now, 'to morph' has been a global verb and 'the morph' accepted as a global subject, but in 1982 the word 'morph' was as alien as the subject of Burson's portrait.

see: Imaging the Metahuman


In the intervening decades since Three Major Races Nancy Burson's cyborg gained almost iconic currency as culture emulated its prescient multi-culturalism. As an antidote to the global effects of colonialism, however, multi-culturalism is still theory, whereas the technological monoculture of globalization and it's spawning of the human clone is imminent. Just as the morph is imaged, the clone is cultured.


Ultimately Project Aurora desires the public morphing of all human faces everywhere [and in perpetuity] into a single countenance. A vision of the near future, a celestial spectacle for all humanity, to be viewed lovingly in the pre-dawn sky. As in the ancient Greek myth of Narcissus - who could love no other than his own reflection on the surface of a pond - the self-love mirrored in Aurora's visage will symbolically resolve all human conflict. When the Aurora archive approaches maximum entropy for human facial characteristics, all that is alien or other will be suspended in a visualization of metahumanity and oneness.


Initially at least, Project Aurora will be pursued with extant technology and populations and will be at risk of appearing ironic, naive, utopian, or even sinister to some observers. However, it is clear for this metacritical project that within a human generation we will have moved the technological manipulation of data from the level of representation to that of manifestation and begun slowly to replace difference with sameness.

Graham Budgett, 2002-2003