Exhibitions: Matt Webb / @5point9billion
As part of The Art of Bots showcase, Matt Webb will present, @5point9billion.
Light travels at 5.9 billion miles per hour. Light that left Earth at the moment of your birth is now reaching the stars. When you’re 12 years old, that light passes Tau Ceti. By the time you’re 37, you’ll have travelled past Arcturus. We all reach the same stars.
And If you look up at Arcturus, the brightest star in the Northern hemisphere, at the age of 37, at exactly the right moment, the light that is landing at the back of your eye left Arcturus the very second you were born right here on this, our home planet. A cosmic connection.
@5point9billion is a Twitter bot that tells you when you reach the stars, in realtime. Tell it your date of birth to start. It will tweet you about once a month, sometimes more if there’s a star coming up. There’s an accompanying website with a map of all the star systems within 100 light years, bright enough to see from Earth.
On 1 April 2016, this bot’s creator, Matt, reached the Porrima system with light that left Earth as he was born. Porrima is a little over 38 light years away, and is a binary star.
Matt Webb will create a physical manifestation of @5point9billion in the River Rooms at Somerset House during The Art of Bots showcase.
Matt is proprietor of the vending machine bookshop Machine Supply, and runs meet-ups for the hardware startup community. He works as a startup advisor, independent consultant, and speaker mainly around internet-connected products, and previously ran the design studio BERG which created Little Printer, the cute Internet of Things gadget for the home. Matt is co-author of Mind Hacks. He tweets as @genmon and lives in London.