The Electromagnetic Fountain

Archive for the ‘1 Maxwell City’ Category

EMF – quote/unquote

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I stumbled across an article/survey about art in public space – Uncertain Spaces: Artists’ Exploration of New Socialities in Mediated Public Space, Maria Miranda. I was surprised to find the Electromagnetic Fountain mentioned at the bottom, along with other works that are mentioned on my blog that got me to think about the fountain in the first place. Especially as I haven’t built it yet.

I’m a bit embarrassed about a part of the text, though. And when I saw it I realised that I haven’t given credit to a quote in my description of the fountain, so now its time to put things right. It’s the bit that goes:

[ …… Amanda Steggell is concerned with not just its aesthetic appeal but “highly fought over private, commercial and political territory” (Steggell) as well as still unknown environmental and health issues.]

Much of the description of the Electromagnetic Fountain was drawn from attending the Maxwell City Workshop led by Erich Berger and Martin Howse at Atelier Nord in 2007. It suddenly dawned on me that the phrase I have in my EMF description, the one quoted above, is almost identical to that of the Maxwell City description, bar one word! Martin and Erich wrote:

“The electromagnetic spectrum which is the range of all possible electromagnetic radiation is a hotly fought over private, commercial and political territory.

So I apologize to M and E, and I hope that they are both at least a bit flattered that their eloquent words have stuck in the collective memory bank!


Written by ajsteggell

January 26, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Maxwell city sounds

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Here’s a link to 2 sound recordings for download that I made with EMV sniffers during Maxwell City:

One is of my cell phone in action (cute) and the other is detecting elmag activity while moving around a cylindrical light/advertisement display in the centre of Oslo (spooky, poppy and rushy). They’re both untreated soundtracks from video recordings which I’ll post later when I’ve had time to encode them.

Written by ajsteggell

June 11, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Armin Medosch’s lecture

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Here’s a link to the video documentation of Armin Medosch’s lecture at the Maxwell City workshop:

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June 5, 2007 at 11:12 am

Antenna aesthetics: Maxwell City

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Some photos from the Maxwell City workshop at Atelier Nord, 29th May – 2nd June 2007.


(img: sofia)

(imgs: Hc)

(imgs: Maxwell City website)

City field trips:

(imgs: Hc)

In the hills:

(imgs: Hc)

(img: sofia)

Images are taken from:
Sofia’s blog:
HC’s flickrset:
Maxwell City:

Written by ajsteggell

June 5, 2007 at 10:29 am

The Aether and its Double

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Here’s a link to Martin Howse’s paper for Maxwell City called The Aether and its Double.

Here he reflects over the ghostlyness of the electromagnetic spectrum through the guise of science, science fiction, narrative and embodied experience.

Written by ajsteggell

June 5, 2007 at 9:11 am

Maxwell City notes

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Here are some more notes on the workshop on Ateleier Nord’s website:

And especially for Ellen Røed (otherwise known as ink) here’s a picture of my hair!

Written by ajsteggell

June 4, 2007 at 11:00 am

Posted in 1 Maxwell City

Cartography of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

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Cartography of the Electromagnetic Spectrum: A review of wireless visualizations and its consequences.
Christian Sandvig, University of Illinois at Urbana Campaign, 2006

This paper reports on an archival survey spectrum visualizations (visual metaphors) used in policy proceedings in the US over the past 80 years, and compares these pictures with current cartography practices. Amongst other issues it describes the use of visual metaphor to tell more about human behaviour than the actual “spectrum” – which is in itself a metaphor used by scientists to group together radiation ranges, from the cosmic to radio.


Written by ajsteggell

June 3, 2007 at 2:44 pm

Sofia’s thoughts on Maxwell City

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Here’s a link to Sofia’s blog where she tries to make sense of what’s going down at the Maxwell City workshop:

Written by ajsteggell

June 1, 2007 at 9:05 pm

Maxwell City notes and images

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Here are some examples of activities with antennas in the Maxwell City workshop:

Some images from HC Gilje
Field trips and more (day 1-3 set)

Day 4, image 1: rendering sniffer data

Day 4, image 2: testing a light sensor

Day 4, image 3: rendering sniffer data

Image from Sofia
Does water affect the magnetic field of a plant?

Written by ajsteggell

June 1, 2007 at 9:30 am

EM Urban Fountain – all things in flux

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Urban art idea

I’m thinking about a fountain with water valves controlled by magnet solenoids that open and shut to control various pressures of coloured water streams according to electromagnetic activity, with ambient light and sound controlled by nature’s own magnetic fields, modulated by interventions of human-made fields – all things in flux.

Around the fountain are comfortable seats. You can sit by the fountain when you make a call on your mobile phone – watch, listen, feel humidity, airflows, relax. (Here I’m thinking about the strange way people’s eyes move when they make phone calls with mobs – eyes fluttering around, as if taking in the immediate surroundings. Sometimes settling on something, someone – eyes seem to focus, but then looking straight through, as if scanning for another point to fix on.)

For those with high electromagnetic sensitivity (EMS) it could indicate good and bad times.

But how do you build a fountain? Some examples I’ve found are listed below.

Time fountain by Nate True
This is interesting – a time fountain kit where a combination of fluorescent liquid and strobe lighting is used to make it seem as if the flow of water changes direction (time in flux)

The time fountain:

Cybernetic fountain
And here is a patent claim for a cybernetic fountain (inventor: Emilio C. Alba):

Parker Hannifin Musical Fountain
[ …. A joint effort of Atlantic Fountains and Downing Exhibits of Copley Ohio, the fountain uses over 350 feet of Parflex tubing and hundreds of Parker Fluid Connector and Skinner Valve components. The 6ft pool has 30 nozzles & color lights driven by a PC, three octave MIDI keyboard or drum pad …..]

Instructions for how to build a musical water fountian:

Written by ajsteggell

May 18, 2007 at 12:54 pm