Alien Worlds is a ten-minute featurette developed at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. It premiered in early April 2011 and ran through September 2011. An exploration of environments within our solar system that might support life, it uses Alchemy as its soundscape background for the presenters.
Alchemy is a complex generative soundscape that uses two computers running Kenaxis Surround, originally composed in January 2011 as a longform surround-sound piece. It will run continuously, without repeating, for many many hours. It uses manipulations of Belgian hunting horns originally recorded by freesound artist Jovica Storer. A short sample of the piece is provided below; it was also used as the audio component to an innovative dream video in February 2011.
Alchemy (two-minute sample)
Alien Worlds is primarily the result of a novel collaboration between Jeff Schwartz, a planetarium presenter at the Academy of Sciences, and Tim Horn, a Producer at the Academy. In early 2011, Jeff followed up on an idea to create a short feature in Hohfeld Hall that would take advantage of its intimate interactive environment. It was meant to accompany the main 2011 planetarium presentation, Life: A Cosmic Story. After auditioning a number of soundscapes, Tim selected Alchemy for Alien Worlds. During its six-month run, approximately 20,000 people saw Alien Worlds.
Alchemy was subsequently used as the soundscape for a second Hohfeld Hall featurette in late 2011, Kepler's New Worlds. It's a story of Johannes Kepler, the astronomer/mathemetician, and the spacecraft searching for exoplanets that bears his name.