RADIATION

A Sound-Installation for Short Wave Radio

by
Robert Adrian and Norbert Math


In the second year of the 20th century the signals from the first trans-Atlantic radio transmissions began their journey across the Solar System. Since then radio waves have become as common as air and our planet has become a new source of radio waves in the galaxy. All the radio signals ever produced since that first transmission are still radiating outwards through space. The history of our century exists at the speed of light in the dark spaces between the worlds.
Since the mid-thirties all the major countries have been employing short wave radio for military and diplomatic communication. During the second world war radio technology became more sophisticated in reponse to the need for communication with armies and navies spread out across the world as well as the rapid deployment and control of air forces and for subversive information warfare involving encryption, deception and propaganda.

The "RADIATION" project concentrates on short wave radio - the wave-lengths used mostly by security/espionage agencies, national propaganda/information stations and by 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 short wave radio it is "radio" itself that is in the foreground.



Project description:
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 in front of the Brucknerhaus. A computer program controls the receivers so that they are always tuned to active and interesting sources.