Tender Time is a collaborative artistic research project conducted by the Medea Lab, Malmö University, Sweden. Taking the Voyager space mission and its Golden Record as a point of departure, Medea Lab invites you to explore the vulnerabilities that continue to haunt our current moment of continuous planetary crisis, our own tender time. Presented as a multimedia installation at Time Space Existence in Venice (May 2023 – November 2023), Tender Time includes an immersive video projection, an original soundscape composition, a single screen video narrative, printed material with augmented reality experience and a bespoke book designed to collect the written regrets of visitors.

The Voyager

In 1977 the spacecraft Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched by NASA to explore the outer reaches of the universe. For more than 40 years, the Voyagers have travelled through space transmitting data to Earth. They have now left our Solar System, the only spacecraft ever to do so, proceeding with increasingly infrequent contact. The Voyagers’ journeys through outer space may last for another three billion years, continuing long after our planet has been absorbed by the Sun.

The Golden Record

Included aboard each of the Voyager spacecraft is a “Golden Record” containing images and sounds that tell stories of life and culture on Earth. These include greetings in 55 different languages, both ancient and modern; 27 music pieces from different parts of the world; and a collection of the natural sounds of Earth. On the cover of the records are instructions for extraterrestrials on how to play the discs and decode the images and sounds that are etched onto them. Made of gold-plated copper, the durability of the discs means that at some point in the far future, these Golden Records may be the only surviving archives of human culture and life on Earth.

Tender Time

The Tender Time installation invites visitors to join the Voyagers on their journey and to reflect on the shifting layers of stories, rhythms, sounds and languages that interconnect to form the pale blue dot that is Earth. What new perspectives do the Voyagers’ vast distance from Earth, and the intergalactic timeframe through which they pass, offer on our own lives?

Tender Time (re)presents the sounds and images etched into the grooves of the Golden Records as an immersive environment, with sonic, visual and textual elements conjuring the disjunctures of space and time that the Voyager mission makes apparent. By recognizing the instability and interconnectedness of past, present and future, Tender Time performs a hauntological aesthetic.


The team behind the original Golden Record decided not to include any sounds and images of destruction, war, and distress. With Tender Time, Medea Lab researchers challenge this harmony and explore the sense of vulnerability that is a constant companion at this point in history. New sonic layers have been curated, performed, and woven together with the Voyagers’ existing cultural archive to enhance the work’s spectral sensibility. Most poignant among these are voices speaking of regret – of plans that did not work out and of unrealized futures that persist in haunting human lives. Voicing a regret captures a lost future so that it might perhaps be found again. A workshop hosted by the Medea Lab in Malmö created space for writing these regrets, each one of which was given voice by someone other than the writer, thus preserving anonymity and generating collective resonances.