SETI LIVE: The Library of the Great Silence and the Fermi Paradox


Tags: SETI Artists in Residence, Fermi Paradox

Time: Thursday, Apr 29, 2021 -

Location: Online

Seth Shostak will be in conversation with the SETI Institute’s Artist in Residence member Jonathon Keats about his Library of the Great Silence. Keats is a widely recognized experimental philosopher, artist, curator and writer.

The Library of the Great Silence is an installation art project that addresses one of the implications of the Fermi Paradox. In particular, if the cosmos is only sparsely populated by intelligent beings that implies that at some point in their development almost all technological societies encounter a barrier they cannot cross. They cease to exist.

To counter such a dystopian prospect, Keats proposes a universal, collaborative project to research planetary futures. Earth’s contribution to this project will be a collection of objects such as fossils and meteors, as well as weapons and money, that bear on survival.

This library of artifacts will be located at the Allen Telescope Array, in California. During the discussion we will explore Keats’ intention and plans, and how we should view this daring and innovative initiative.