This Distance Makes Us Feel Closer is an immersive, mountaintop sound work that resounds over miles of land surrounding the Magdalena Ridge Observatory at 10,600ft. Created with an ensemble of augmented car horns, this set of autonomous desert fog horns were placed within the landscape for a 60 minute sound piece connecting two disparate sides of the Magdalena Ridge. The sounds gently waft over the space while a small group of listeners, bundled against the freezing temperatures, watched over the changing light and gentle pulsing of the horns. The piece operated for one night as part of High Desert Test Site's 2013 biennial of desert art.
The Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO) sits on a ridge above the New Mexico Desert looking down at the horizon from nearly 11,000 feet.
The ridge is surrounded by broad, grassy ranch land and is in close proximity to the Very Large Array and other astronomical outposts. Because of its perch, the MRO is an excellent site for viewing faraway objects near the horizon, like the International Space Station or asteroids. A 2.4 meter telescope sits on the ridge, as well as the future site of an interferometer which views the night’s sky at 10x the power of the Hubble Telescope. The ridge hosts a variety of weather stations, astronomical equipment, and experiments abandoned to time. The sound installation can be seen in this lineage as one more experiment on this remarkable and surreal mountaintop.