What If We Could See Wireless Signals Around Us?
Every day we are surrounded by an invisible network of signals bouncing around from data cables to cell towers to wifi routers to those tiny blips in space we call satellites. These signals are so very integral to our lives and to our society as a whole, yet we average citizens will never see them. Until now.
Dutch artist, Richard Vijgen, has created a new geeky artform that relies on the interplay of the viewer, an iPad app, and a specific location to make invisible radio waves suddenly visible. Entitled The Architecture of Radio, Vijgen’s app uses GPS to get the user’s location and finds the cell towers that are within reach from OpenCellID, (an online collection of the GPS positions of cell towers). It then calculates the position of overhead satellites through JPL’s Ephemeris program. It takes these signals as well as the wifi signal in the specific site (ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Berlin) and synthesizes all that data into a stylized interface that lets the user pan around the room and experience the everyday infosphere that is usually invisible to us.
Check out the video from Vijgen’s website to get a better idea:
It’s one thing to contemplate that there is a giant invisible network of data flying around you, it’s quite another to see it in action. Vijgen’s art piece is a perfect way to really make that idea sink in—that what we perceive as emptiness around us is actually the very fibre of our modern society, the binary adhesive that keeps us chatting, watching, downloading, and most importantly, blogging! :P
If you can’t get to the art exhibit in Germany, Vijgen hopes that he can make the app publicly available later this year!