GISHWHES Team Subtext Sends Message Into Space

Team Subtext

Gishwhes 2016 ended over a month ago, but for those of us on Team Subtext the hunt extended an additional month as we worked on sending a message into space.

Gishwhes, or the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, is a week long scavenger hunt that combines art, performance, charitable acts, and stunts.  The scavenger hunt is hosted by actor Misha Collins.  Typically teams race to finish before the clock counts down at the end of the week, but this year several teams, including the one I’m part of, Team Subtext, had an additional month to complete a very special item.

Secure a legitimate contract with any public or private space exploration company (Space X, NASA, etc) to send a payload into space containing a drawing and a message written on a single 8 ½” X 11” sheet of paper. The message must be addressed to the universe and must be written by a child. Submit your signed and countersigned, legitimate contract by the end of the Hunt. THEN (and this is the only thing that you will be permitted to submit after the official end of the hunt on August 6th), you must submit evidence by email to that your payload was successfully launched into orbit. Email proof must be received by 11:59 PM PST September 5th, 2016.

The project coordinator and spokesperson for Team Subtext, Alena Karkanias, explained how we accomplished the item in a press release

We used a computer program to convert the text file of a video, which contained the child’s message, into a different text language, which could them be translated using an ASCII table into numbers. Then we put those numbers through a different program which graphed the sequence. We then ran that graph through an open-source computer which was connected to a powerful LED which radiated at different emission levels in sync with the graph. We attached the LED to our telescope for transmission – instead of light coming in the top, bouncing off the plate mirror, into the angled mirror and into your eye, the LED sent light into the angled mirror, down to the plate mirror, and up into space! This launch was completed at 7:00 p.m. PST in Sammamish, Washington.

Team subtext also released a documentary explaining how we accomplished the task, how the message of the item fits into the overall theme of Gishwhes, and what Gishwhes has meant to us as a team.

Gishwhes began as the one week per year where I pushed beyond my boundaries and reached further than I ever thought possible.  But after six years of playing this enthusiasm has spread into every aspect of my life.  I’ve gone sky diving, I packed up and moved to Hawaii, I push myself at conventions to talk to people that would have previously intimidated me.  Gishwhes has changed my life and I’m proud of what Team Subtext has accomplished this year.

We create, therefore we live.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.


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