The Electromagnetic Fountain

EMF Art examples

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Just taken part in the annual ACM Multimedia Conference and Exhibition, where, amongst others, I met Geoffrey Shea who is part of the Mobile Experience Lab at the Ontario College of Art and Design. A part of this lab work investigates the use of EMF detectors in a project called Cicadas. Here’s the blurb from the project website:

“The social theory of swarming combined with the technique of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) detection. Users talking on cell phones at certain locations along our target development area (John Street, a short street in downtown Toronto which is home to our lab as well as many media, entertainment and culture institutions) trigger swarms of virtual cicadas: sound and light emitting devices installed in trees. This draws parallels between signal emission as a communication imperative in both the human and insect worlds. It also creates a situation of passive interaction whereby users play a role in the experience without necessarily deciding to do so.”

cicada

cicada

Read more HERE

The EMF sniffers for Cicada are designed by Peter Todd, who gives an account of his first investigation  (diagrams, circuit board, test results, etc) HERE.

In contrast, in Geoff’s video poem, 1.000 Glances, a solitary speaker captivated by the view of a rotating radar antenna, reflects over the hope and despair that lurks beneath the surface in the relationship between herself and the world. Her words and thoughts becoming scrambled with the electrostatic disturbance of each rotation of the antenna.

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Written by ajsteggell

November 1, 2008 at 11:52 pm

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