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A Sound-Installation for Short Wave Radio
by Robert Adrian and Norbert Math
In the second year of the 20th century the signals from Guglielmo Marconi's first trans-Atlantic radio transmission began their journey across theSolar System. Since then radio waves have become as common as air and ourplanet has become a new source of radio waves in the galaxy. All the radio signals ever produced sinceMarconi's experiment are still radiating outwards through space. The history of the 20th century exists at the speed of light in the dark spacesbetween the worlds.
RADIATION concentrates on short wave radio - the wave-lengths used bysecurity/espionage agencies, national propaganda/information stations and amateur radio operators. Many short wave transmissions are received as bursts of coded or scrambled signal - morse, fax or image transmissions and secret commercial or political data. The short wave spectrum contains every human language and every kind of music. Short wave signals are often distorted by atmospheric conditions, bursts of electro-magnetic activity on the Sun, interference from other transmitters or local static - with shortwave radio it is radio itself that is in the foreground.
The sounds from four short wave radio receivers, each tuned to a different source, are fed into an amplifier and distributed to four loudspeakers installed about 400 cm apart and 3 meters high. A computer program controls the receivers so that they are always tuned to active and interesting sources.