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One of the works that we commissioned for the Invisible Fields: Geographies of Radio Waves exhibition in Barcelona was 20 Hz, an amazing new piece by Brighton-based artists and filmmakers, Semiconductor. The work opens the exhibition.

We commissioned Semiconductor to make a piece which showed us the relationship between radio waves and sound. We are delighted with the result. 20 Hz is an astonishing 5 minute video which uses data collected by the CARISMA radio array. CARISMA (Canadian Array for Realtime Investigations of Magnetic Activity) is is an array of magnetometers which study the Earth’s magnetosphere. 20 Hz is an interpretation of a magnetic storm occurring in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The CARISMA data – captured at the frequency of 20 Hertz – is interpreted as audio, allowing us to hear the “tweets” and “rumbles” caused by the interaction of solar wind with the Earth’s magnetosphere. The visual element of the film is generated directly by the sound. Tangible and sculptural forms emerge suggestive of scientific visualisations. As different frequencies interact both visually and aurally, complex patterns emerge to create interference phenomena that probe the limits of our perception.

The film has gone viral, being featured in dozens of blogs around the world. It’s also had positive feedback from fellow curators. Director of The Arts Catalyst, Nicola Triscott, has described the piece as “visually reminiscent of some of Woody and Steina Vasulka‘s experimental video works“.

You can watch it at the artists’ website here.

Invisible Fields: Geographies of Radio Waves is showing at Arts Santa Monica in Barcelona until March 2012. Featuring over a dozen international artists, the show explores how our understanding of our world and our cosmos has been transformed by the study of radio waves. With the invention of telecommunication technology at the end of the 19th century, the radio spectrum became a tool for rethinking the world we live in. Radio collapsed geographical distance, crossed borders and cultures, became a powerful catalyst for commerce and enabled scientists to study the cosmos in entirely new ways. Yet whilst the radio spectrum is the invisible infrastructure that enables the technologies of information and communication, most people are unaware of the way it works, how it is managed, and how it is has shaped our understanding of our lived environment. Invisible Fields shines a light on this enigmatic landscape. Visit the exhibition webpage here.

Arts Santa Monica in Barcelona have published the images of the opening of Invisible Fields: Geographies of Radio Waves exhibition. You can check them out here:

The opening was on Friday 14 October 2011, and marked the start of the show’s six month run.
More than a linear, historical narration of the evolution of spectrum technologies, Invisible Fields: Geographies of Radio Waves can best be understood as an “observatory”, which enables visitors to perceive the radio spectrum. It sets out the spectrum as a physical space, invisible but present, a terrain that can be studied, mapped, surveyed and explored. It is an environment made of signals and waves from nature, and from us. Its topography is formed of waves of different scales, from tiny emissions given off by domestic objects to vast emissions made by distant astronomical phenomena. It’s made up of signals that are very familiar, such as television and radio, and signals which are esoteric and enigmatic. It is an ecology that has public spaces – wireless internet and amateur radio – and secret spaces – coded military transmissions and clandestine signals.

Visit the exhibition webpage here.

"Immaterials: Light Painting WiFi" by Timo Arnall (with Jørn Knutsen & Einar Sneve Martinussen). To be exhibited in Invisible Fields.

If you’re going to be in Barcelona, at any point over the next six months, please do drop by Arts Santa Mònica on the Ramblas to see the Invisible Fields exhibition I’ve curated with José Luis de Vicente.

Full details below:

Invisible Fields: Geographies of Radio Waves,  14 October 2011 – 4 March 2012, Barcelona

Invisible Fields is a major new international exhibition at Arts Santa Mònica in Barcelona Spain, co-produced by Lighthouse. It brings together over a dozen internationally known artists, designers and scientists to explore the radio spectrum – the invisible environment that underpins contemporary technology. Co-curated by José Luis de Vicente and me, the show includes significant works by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Trevor Paglen, Timo Arnall, Joyce Hinterding and many more. The show is presented in the Laboratory space of Arts Santa Mònica, directed by Josep Perelló.

Invisible Fields explores how our understanding of our world and our cosmos has been transformed by the study of radio waves. With the invention of telecommunication technology at the end of the 19th century, the radio spectrum became a tool for rethinking the world we live in. Radio collapsed geographical distance, crossed borders and cultures, became a powerful catalyst for commerce and enabled scientists to study the cosmos in entirely new ways. Yet whilst the radio spectrum is the invisible infrastructure that enables the technologies of information and communication, most people are unaware of the way it works, how it is managed, and how it is has shaped our understanding of our lived environment. Invisible Fields aims to shine a light on this enigmatic landscape.

The exhibition differs from past explorations of these topics, in that it is conceived as an interdisciplinary blend of social-cultural analysis, science communication, and artistic practice.  It includes: Timo Arnall (BERG), Thomas Ashcraft, Matthew Biederman, Anthony DeVincenzi (MIT Media Lab), Diego Diaz and Clara Boj, Joyce Hinterding, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Trevor Paglen, Job Ramos, Semiconductor, Luthiers Drapaires, and Rasa Smite & Raitis Smits (RIXC).

A catalogue in Spanish, Catalan and English editions is being published and will be available in November. It features essays by Douglas Kahn, Adam Greenfield, Martin Howse, Josep Perelló and others.

DATE/ TIME / VENUE

Dates: 14 October 2011 – 4 March 2012

Times: 1100 – 2100, Tuesday – Sunday

Venue: Arts Santa Mónica

La Rambla, 7

Barcelona, Spain

CREDITS

Organized by Arts Santa Mònica

Produced by Arts Santa Mònica, in association with Lighthouse.

Curated by: José Luis de Vicente and Honor Harger. Assisted by: Irma Vilà