When the intersolar spaceship Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972, it was equipped with a gilt metal plate – a message to potential extraterrestrial intelligence. The plate showed the schematic depiction of a man and a woman in relative proportions to the space shuttle, an interstellar map, and a model of the hyperfine transition of hydrogen. These signs were meant to be “universally” comprehendible, even for those potential life forms in outer space.
The exhibition Universalsprachen at the Kleine Humboldt Galerie* unites art works and objects from popular visual culture that take different approaches to achieve global communication through language.
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(Image on top: Pioneer plaque, 1972; Courtesy NASA)