Forests of Antennas, Oceans of Waves
is a series of events taking place in Berlin from May to October 2022, consisting of artistic interventions in urban spaces, a conference in cooperation with the Museum of Communication Berlin, and a final exhibition in the project space Liebig12.
All events will be in English.
8 & 9 July
Sarah Grant and Danja Vasiliev facilitate an idea of electromagnetic signals by asking: what would it be like to be such a signal ourselves? In a manner reminiscent of Fluxus performances, participants are given instructions to move through the city as embodied signals. The performative walks guided by the artists aim at exploring how they get reflected and absorbed by obstacles on their paths, the influence of narrow passages on signal bandwidth, and how natural barriers such as water, trees and pedestrians might interfere with signal transmissions. After an introduction and training walks, the participants will become a signal formation in a final performative action. Become a Wifi signal (8 July) or 5G signal (9 July).
»I have asked you to imagine these electric and magnetic fields. What do you do? Do you know how? How do I imagine the electric and magnetic field? What do I actually see? What are the demands of the scientific imagination? Is it any different from trying to imagine that the room is full of invisible angels?«
Richard Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Physics
Photo: Katja Goljat
Photo: Danja Vasiliev
Sarah Grant is an American artist and professor of new media based in Berlin at the Weise7 studio. Her teaching and art practice engages with the electromagnetic spectrum and computer networks as artistic material, social habitat, and political landscape. Since 2015, she has organized the Radical Networks conference in New York and Berlin, a community event and arts festival for critical investigations and creative experiments in
Danja Vasiliev Danja Vasiliev is a media artist, Critical Engineer and educator born in Saint-Petersburg, currently living and working in Berlin. Vasiliev studies Systems and Networks through anti-disciplinary experimentation with hardware, firmware and software. Using computational platforms he engages in examination and exploitation of System and Network paradigms in both the physical and digital realms. In October 2011, together with his colleagues Julian Oliver and Gordan Savičić, Vasiliev coauthored The Critical Engineering Manifesto.
Antennas and other infrastructures of mobile telecommunications have become a new, synthetic form of nature for us: Surveillance cameras, routers, traffic sensors, mobile towers, WiFi antennas, cables such as copper wire or fibre optics, data centres, server farms. The urban environment is full of such devices and the myriad services they rely on – from repair shops for everyday devices to maintenance teams replacing underground cables.
In the 3-hour workshop, led by Nicolas Nova, participants are invited to use design fiction methods to create a tangible and vivid prototype of these synthetic landscapes that sketch a possible (and more habitable) near future. Based on a series of observations and street interviews, participants will explore the potential of the digital infrastructure of the urban environment for the design of products, services and interactions.
Nicolas Nova is an anthropologist, design researcher, and writer. With a multidisciplinary background in social sciences, information technologies, design, and natural sciences, he divides his time between running international field-work projects, documenting new signals in the world, and making sense of them to inform design or strategy. Co-founder of a design fiction agency called The Near Future Laboratory, he is also Professor at the Geneva University of Arts and Design (HEAD–Genève).
27 & 28 August
Selena Savic & Gordan Savičić
INTERVENTION 27 & 28 August • Time & location tba
INTERVENTION 11 September • Time & location tba
23 – 25 September
Featuring: Jennifer Gabrys, Mario de Vega, Gabriele Schliwa, Susanna Hertrich, Rahul Mukherjee, Bregtje van der Haak, Ignacio Farías and others
CONFERENCE & PERFORMANCE 23– 25 September • Time tba • Museum of Communication Berlin
30 September to 9 October
Susanna Hertrich, Marta Zapparoli
EXHIBITION & PERFORMANCE 30 September to 9 Oktober • Time tba • Liebig12
With the emerging smart city technologies, more and more sensors, devices and antennas are transmitting and capturing our information. They enable ever more comprehensive and faster digital interaction, but they are also defining it. How do new technological developments affect our way of moving around the city? Who controls our data and what does technical democracy mean?
At 10:00 and 15:00 on Saturday 14 May, the artist duo invites a small group of participants to join them for two hours of an investigative journey through the streets of Berlin to track down and explore the concept of the smart city and the data streams in which we are immersed in. As an alternative to historical walks and sightseeing tours, the Techno-Politic Walk challenges participants to find, measure, analyse, discuss and document the traces left by our data traveling on high-speed routes through the air, our bodies and objects around us.
The data collected and analysed by the participants will then be used by the artists to visualise and map the areas and data streams encountered on the walks. The resulting graphic will then be published on a billboard along one of the routes of the walk as an artwork and visual manifesto in the public urban space.
»In the world of electromagnetic cosmology (and industry), understanding the electromagnetic field is the only way to understand ourselves and our environment.«
Bureau d’études is a conceptual artists group working primarily with the medium of the map. They map the relations of power, ownership and interest in politics, economics and the social sphere on global and local levels, thus creating an awareness of how seemingly unrelated things are in reality connected when viewed from a larger perspective. The maps help to unravel complex systems and to recognise our own position within them. Once you know where you are, you can steer your own course, suggest alternatives and use the map to find new paths for yourself or your community
INTERVENTION 14 May • 11:00 & 15:00 • Main entrance to Tempelhofer Feld, Columbiadamm 124
The 2nd intervention moves away from the streets of the city and focuses on the waterways of Berlin as public space, considering infrastructures of flow in terms of water as well as electromagnetic waves. Radio Otherwise will create a transitional, environmental radiophonic space for the encounter and interaction of signals, bodies, ecologies and knowledges, made while circling thresholds of transmissions and architectures, beyond the purely anthropogenic.
A temporary studio will be set up on the Unkraut boat (unkraut.berlin) for a live transmission as it slowly moves from the south-east periphery towards the city of Berlin. During its journey, the studio will both receive and transmit, thus creating a complex system of interdependence: Live inputs from a variety of electromagnetic signals from both natural and human-made sources come together on the water, together with the live environmental sounds of the transient studio space.
These live generated soundscapes, which are composed of the constantly changing sources and signals received during the journey, will be broadcast on 88.4 FM in Berlin, 90.7 FM in Potsdam, streamed online at radiootherwise.net and antennenozeane.de, starting with the beginning of the journey at 17:00. It will also be narrowcast via micro FM, so that local reception will be possible within 400 metres of the boat. Listeners will be able to connect online throughout this period or also pick up a passing FM signal from the riverside. We encourage people to find spots around Plänterwald, Rummelsburg, Treptow etc and receive the transit emission with their own radios.
The culmination of the event will be a live performance starting at 21:13, the beginning of sunset – the threshold between day and night, a time in which radio signals naturally propogate further. The transmission performance can only be received via FM radios on location at Stralauer Spitze – BYOR (Bring Your Own Radio).
Thanks to Cashmere Radio for broadcasting during their programme.
Radio Otherwise is an ongoing artistic research project motivated by the many knots which art, knowledge-making/sharing and communication encounter.Thinking and doing radio otherwise means focussing beyond purely anthropogenic transmissions, recognising relationality within the spectrum of more-than-human radio ecologies. Together with a wide network of radio enthusiasts, Kate Donovan, Monai de Paula Antunes and Niko de Paula Lefort explore the plurality of experiences involved in radio-making in connection to ecological thinking.
INTERVENTION 27 May • 17:00–21:13 & 21:13 Uhr (Sonnenuntergang) • Stralauer Spitze, 10245 Berlin • Webradio radiootherwise.net
I remember the scene with nostalgia: a group of fishermen working on a fishing net with threads and needles. It is a communal act: working on the same piece of fabric together simultaneously, creating hoops and loops.
On 25th of June 2022, a group of experienced crafters will gather in a park. Their craft technique is slow, yet their hand movements are fast and accurate. It demands skill, practice and patience. They will sit around in a circle and work together for hours, working at a steady pace, making slow but beautiful progress.
They are skilled crocheters. What they make is an antenna made of copper thread. Technology we are so used to living with, like radios, wifi and mobile phones, communicate with tiny electric waves that are imperceivable to us. These Hertzian waves create tiny oscillating currents in antennas. When these oscillations are amplified, we can hear them.
Come along, watch and take part in how an antenna is crocheted. Listen to the Hertzian waves picked up by this slowly growing, handmade antenna.
KOBAKANT (Mika Satomi, Hannah Perner-Wilson)
Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson have been collaborating since 2006, and in 2008 formed the collective KOBAKANT. Together, through their work, they explore the use of textile crafts and electronics as a medium for commenting on technological aspects of today’s »high-tech« society. KOBAKANT believes in the spirit of humoring technology, often presenting their work as a twisted criticism of the stereotypes surrounding textile craftsmanship and electrical engineering. KOBAKANT believes that technology exists to be hacked, handmade and modified by everyone to better fit our personal needs and desires.
INTERVENTION 25 June • Herrfurthplatz, Schillermarkt • 12:00–16:00