Some Strange Sea

Challenge: Featured, Noise Challenge #6: The Eavesdropper |

By: Robin

No information is more fleeting than the electromagnetic emanations in which we swim each day, as if we were blind fish in an ocean chasm. Cell phones, computers, cash points, security systems… all are loud and vibrant sources, could we but hear them. But since we are not so equipped, they continue to blare in relative obscurity, their effects on our physiology and psychology largely unknown.

Surveillance in a world of constant closed-circuit camera footage has become a given. Everyone is being eavesdropped on all the time. More subtle is our self-monitoring and self-reporting. No-one needs to look far to find us; our trail of SMS messages, Facebook posts, and website cookies paints an exact portrait of our lives: where we are, what we buy, and who we spend time with.

Combine those facts with a personal failure of the corporeal that constrained me to my house all week. The only person on which to eavesdrop was myself, so I turned to the task of making audible the electromagnetic. In particular, I recorded the EM field of my laptop while it booted up. Once mapped to audio waves, these spectra may be heard as varying rhythms, persistent electrical hum, and aleatoric interjections.

This field recording I processed using one of my live Reaktor patches. The result is a mysterious haze of sound that expresses for me the unknown world of radiation. The fact that it is not dissimilar to atmospherics pleases me.

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