Star Valley (SIRIUS)

BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium
02 December 2021 – 09 January 2022

STAR VALLEY (SIRIUS) uses two spark-gap transmitters controlled by a natural language processing AI algorithm trained on the US Department of Defense and NATO program nicknames and their descriptions. The work consists of a Neural Network generating nicknames and corresponding descriptions and is in part inspired by the 1975 Joint Chiefs of Staff memorandum ‘Code Word, Nickname, and Exercise Terms System (NICKA)’, which automates and tracks such assignments. The work reflects on the present state of encoding, decoding, secrecy and transparency by transmitting these neural network generated nicknames in Morse code through a wide band spark-gap apparatus. Here, the earliest form of wireless transmission is paired with contemporary computational developments to open a window on the landscape of the accountability of secrecy.


Presented at:

  • osmo/za, Ljubljana, 25 – 29 October 2018
  • Festival Ars Electronica, Out of the Box, Postcity, Linz, 5 – 9 September 2019
  • Pixxelpoint festival, Nova Gorica, 2019, 15 – 23  November 2019
  • BOZAR, Brusels, Belgium, 2 December 2021 – 9 January 2022


2x 80kV Spark Gaps, 2x RGB LED pin spots, NLP Artificial Intelligence model, 2x computers, 2x projectors

Produced with the support of
European Network for Audiovisual Creation (ENCAC)
Le Lieu Unique, Nantes FR
Projekt Atol, SI
Media Art and Technolgy (MAT), UCSB, US


Marko Peljhan is a theatre and radio director, conceptual artist and researcher. He founded and co- founded several still active arts organizations in the 90’s such as Projekt Atol and one of the first media labs in Eastern Europe LJUDMILA. From 1994 on he worked on Makrolab, a project that focuses on telecommunications, migrations and weather systems research in an intersection of art/science/engineering; the Interpolar Transnational Art Science Constellation and the Arctic Perspective Initiative. He is the recipient of many prizes for his work, including the 2001 Golden Nica Prize at Ars Electronica with Carsten Nicolai and his work has been exhibited internationally at multiple biennales (Venice, Lyon, Istanbul, Gwangju…) and festivals, at documenta, ISEA, Ars Electronica and museums and art institutions worldwide (YCAM, ICC-NT, PS.1. MOMA, GARAGE…).

He serves as professor and director of the MAT Systemics Lab at the University of California Santa Barbara, the Chair of the Media Arts and Technology program at UCSB, the coordinator of international cooperation of the SPACE-SI Slovenian Centre for Space Sciences and Technologies and editor at large of the music label rx:tx. In the radio spectrum he is known as S54MX.

Marko Peljhan

Matthew Biederman has been performing, installing and exhibiting works, which explore themes of perception, media saturation, and data systems from a multiplicity of perspectives since the mid nineties. Biederman was the recipient of the Bay Area Artist Award in Video by New Langton Arts in 1999, First Place in the Visual Arts category of Slovenia’s Break21 festival. He has served as artist-in-residence at a variety of institutions and institutes, including the Center for Experimental Television on numerous occasions, CMU’s CREATE lab, the Wave Farm and many more.His works have been exhibited in the US, South America, Europe and Japan, in a variety of festivals and venues such as 7 ATA Festival Internacional (Lima), the 11th Lyon Bienniale, the 2011 Quebec Trienniale, 2014 Montreal Bienniale (Musee des Arts Contemporain), Bienniale of Digital Art (BIAN, Montreal), Artissima (Turin, IT), Moscow Biennale, Art and Alternative Visions (Tokyo) and Sonic Acts (NASA, Amsterdam) among others. As a film and video maker, his works have been included in the FILE festival (Sao Paulo), New Forms Festival (Vancouver), the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Paris/Berlin International Meetings, and the Chicago Underground Film Festival. His public works have been shown at the ZeroOne2006 Festival (San Jose US), the SCAPE Biennial in New Zealand as well as producing custom commissions. He has collaborated with musicians as a visual artist since 1999, performing at the historic Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, as well as Ars Electronica, AV Festival, Elektra, Mutek, Futuresonic, FILE and many, many more. His works are included in public, corporate and private collections in North America.

Matthew Biederman