Unfolding The Ether:
A Language of Electromagnetic & Aesthetic Transductions

Louis Braddock Clarke


Through the technical production of space, both material and non-material mechanisms adjust the ways of listening and understanding a positioning of self.

The focus of this paper draws the reader to the non-material and the influences, sensitivities and aesthetic re-adjustments towards the electromagnetic field. Often a place of contemplation, the known sky has never been a transparent landscape but a progressively stacking carrier of information and noise. Therefore, alluding to an ‘electronic sky’ that takes the name of ‘The Ether’; a hybrid place holding inter-dimensional qualities is evidenced. This is a site of growing heritage, broadcasting the comprehensive data sets of the ancient world and the present world while presenting the co-ordinates of the next world.

A narration of this phenomena is unfolded and re-drawn through outlining both the artistic and scientific measurements of invisible and meta qualities. Through the act of extending the human senses and being open to a geo-psychic realm, a question arises of a new visual cartography of the world we navigate. Through transduction we can detach from being spectators, routine consumers or technicians and shift towards active excavators of this immortal noise in the sky.


A Panoply of Receiving

Electromagnetic waves run through every aspect of our daily lives as everlasting emissions. This quotidian phenomenon however is far from routine – the waves never repeat but continuously shift in space and time. They can confront us directly or subtly elude us. In physics terminology, an electromagnetic field can be described as a property of space caused by electrical charge. The components making up this physical field are an electrical field (E-Field) and a magnetic field (H-Field). This duality gives a certain complexity that has proven fascinating for researchers from the early days of their discovery to the present.

Connecting to our senses, this electromagnetic field is made up of waves transporting electromagnetic energy. From a primal frame of reference the energies are intangible – only a small measure of the spectrum is visible light, the rest is not seen or heard. As humans, we have an almost atavistic desire to find out what these are, what they signify and how to transduce them. Throughout this text the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum under examination will be from the frequencies of visible light all the way down to radio (770Terahertz to 1Hertz).

There is a concentration on Earth of what media historian Douglas Kahn calls an “object orient ontology” (Kahn, 2010). This outlook needs to be broken down from a plenitude of objects into a plenitude of energies. Awakening to the matter that electro-energies run through everything, from the nerves in the body all the way to cables transporting whispers to distant skies. Such a magnitude of the electromagnetic array evades a definition of place and is embedded in the everyday habitats of human activities. This non-place offers a new outlook upon the existing object capital perspective.

Towards the later 18th century Thomas Watson (assistant to Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone in 1876) became one of the first humans to listen to natural-radio/electromagnetic signals. This involved telegraph lines running between modems that acted as antennas to harvest electromagnetic waves. Thus, “Radio was heard before it was invented” (Kahn, 2013). The sounds heard by Watson related to natural signals such as solar flares, auras and lightning storms. At this point in time, these natural occurrences would have bemused, or even terrified. However, today’s signals could not be termed ‘natural’ where global warming is altering electromagnetic waves produced by lightning storms.
More and more urban spaces are being occupied by ‘un-natural’ electromagnetic waves unrelentingly being emitted by machines. These machines (such as transportation, communication, entertainment or completely new infrastructures) run at different scales that are centralised around the modes of electricity. One example is the National Grid where, in most countries a wave between 50-60Hertz (Hz) is audible as a very low frequency (VLF) – a constant ‘hum’. A walk through most cities with a VLF receiver amasses an array of synthetic sounds emitted from omni-directional electro-sources. These are superimposed and orchestrated on top of the baseline hum. Such signals have to undergo a process of transduction to be apparent. This is a mode of mechanically transforming a signal into a materiality, in these examples sound is that material. This is proving fascinating to a whole new area of investigation that strongly links the senses and our omnipresent need to position the ‘self’ in the universe that we live in.

In 1918, Serbian electrical inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla constructed experiments resulting in an audible pick up from the electromagnetic spectrum, he stated;

“The sounds I am listening to every night at first appear to be human voices conversing back and forth in a language I cannot understand. I find it difficult to imagine that I am actually hearing real voices from people not of this planet.” (Tesla, 1918).

This thesis further discusses the aspects of fields within space, with a particular concentration on crossovers of the virtual ether that inflicts or directs physical movement. As a starting point, we can break sound/noise into two areas.

– Acoustic; dealing with the mechanics of hearing in an exact space.

– Psychological; examining noise as a perception.

Data and information become physical dictators in space, crafting new micro-cities to then be re-navigated by the human body. Signals are perceived as a distorted invisible sector that remains a mystification of influencing self-movement. That is, until knowledge of the wireless sub-world is acquired. This new place of being can possibly emerge by taking a step back from the existing world frame to allow for pluralism in new rhythms, receptions and dimensions.
Throughout the thesis a relationship is constructed by analysing both scientific research and literature by artists. A focus on data and knowledge is gained from speculation and experimental theories; and it is by using these sources that a new insight into listening can be explored and understood. Scientists that question methods of measurement and push certain boundaries are normally limited by standardisation. Here, examples of primary research are shown that divulge the findings of physical experiments to focus the study of electromagnetic listening in a wireless age and examine how navigational movement is being affected. The sequences of artistic references come together to form a potential hidden language of this electro-infrastructure.

“Sound enacts the delays between occurrence and sensation, it resonates the distances between sensation and assemblance and in doing so it gives contours to the place of being.” (Ganchrow, 2010).

Top: The Electromagnetic spectrum shows the whole spectrum and highlighted towards the left of centre is the visible light portion. The frequencies below this include those of radio.

Bottom: J. C. R. Licklider, 1965. Drawing of man/computer symbiosis in Ekistics.
Part 1: Signals and their Receptions as Shifting Phenomena

Chapter 1: Listening to Immortal Noise

Among the electro-infrastructures the ‘act of listening’ has to take place for information or noise to even be received. This ‘act’ involves the event site (a moment and place in time) and the ‘listening’ function as the conversion of energy into mechanical process (a tuning of the Hertzian wave). Human senses achieve this through the ear and supplying a “network of signals traveling and exchanging information within the body-mind complex” (Fedorova, 2013: 1). Indeed, the mode of listening to electromagnetism is one that lies in the virtual rather than a material anthology. Drawing the virtual as perception of space that is absurd to the accustomed senses, the particles in the virtual show “speed or brevity [that] subjects them to a principle of the unconsciousness”. (Delueze, 1977: 112). It is fascinating to comprehend that electro and magnetic wave particles travelling through space are inaudible to the established ear. They are not sounds, but instead part of the electromagnetic spectrum: one that rules a range of frequencies from Gamma rays to visible light and microwave rays to radio signals. This virtual field composes and stimulates our known world of perception and remains animate in the process.

In a sensorial difference to vision, sound can have any orientation – horizontal, vertical, upside down, inside out. This gives it infinite scope and a vast, dynamic area to explore. The acoustic space is “(…) boundless, directionless, horizonless, the dark of the mind (…)” (McLuhan, 1955: 26). A removal of the seer (one who sees), lies them down in a world of polycentrism. In this world, there are infections, instant information-occupation, inputs on inputs and signals that both penetrate and permeate. All of this cannot be unheard. The body is therefore embedded in this ecology as the 19th and 20th century French sociologist terms a “technical object” (Mauss, 1934: 75).

In the ecology of sound (acoustic and virtual frequency terrain) there are two methods of hearing: ‘listening’ and ‘understanding’ – the ‘sense’ and the ‘truth’. The sensation of sound does not require tools whereas the understanding and actuality (without interpretation) requires a knowledge of decipherment. The messages of signals are the content in which our human bodies are resonating without tools. The acoustical rendering by the ear in the sequence of linear time is one of limiting
perceived experience. An access to listening without the requirement of the ear would re-configure realism and increase manoeuvering in sensation. Let us abolish the rendering of the known ear and allow enhancement of the ‘Radio Ear’ of which the pioneering early 20th century Soviet film director and theorist Dziga Vertov explains: “I had an idea about the need to enlarge our ability for organized hearing. Not limiting this ability to the boundaries of usual music. I decided to include the entire audible world into the concept of ‘Hearing’”. (Vertov, 1935). Accessing this world with more ranging-depth is achieved through an act of hearing that takes a position distant from the existing world frame, therefore evoking a need for pluralism.
Above: Radio Ear. Dziga Vertov. Portrait by Pyotr Galadjev. 1926.
The established biological ear is shown with a scaled proportion. A detail suggestive of a more sensitive listening to one’s surroundings. On the forehead of Vertov is a small antenna,
like that of an insect.
Using this portrait by the early 20th century Russian designer and actor Pyotr Galadjev, the term ‘Radio Ear’ is re-issued as a mode of listening to the world of electromagnetic noise. This term unfolds throughout the thesis as a tool that can be used to access the soundscape of the field of noise. This ‘Radio Ear’ becomes our own technical object for accessing more, through the very ‘act of listening’ and is not limited by our existing ear architecture. This previously known audible world was “contracted to the dimensions of the ear world.” (Connor, 2010).

Noise. Noise. Noise - a continuous landscape, a new infinite world, an overburdening shadow superimposed on the existing one. Italian Futurist painter/composer in the early 20th century, Luigi Russolo proclaimed that through the “(…) invention of the machines noise was born.” (Russolo, 1913: 23). As humans we are creating the space that we inhabit, structurally augmenting our own created experiences from it. Given the impulse of machine production a new variety of listening became an added experience, and this machine spectrum of noise is an entanglement of sensation, in multitudes of layers. As previously stated, sound has no orientation; a further development would be that noise has no orientation in time. These noise emissions spread far and wide, reflecting on our own production of space. Luigi Russolo created the ‘Noise Instrument Laboratory’ in 1913, generating sounds of machines from acoustical sources – strings and rotating forms that were amplified through siren structures: a sonic representation of industrialisation. This noise is so layered that it can never be fully revealed to listening as understanding and remains a fluxing sensation. It shifts the objective output of the “machine [to] allow us to hear not only the environment, but ourselves hearing.” (Fedorova, 2016: 125). Moving away from the acoustical sense, we detach the singularity of form and revisit our own contemporary ‘Radio Ear’. This ear is being educated and objectively tailored by our technological setting: the ‘virtual hybrid space’. This arena of floating electrical noise is named ‘The Ether’. It is not categorised through geographical objective terms (mountain, lake, tree) but as an “intersubjective field of relations” (Flusser, 1992: 53) – this is where the hybrid character joins the virtual. I regard to this virtual as being a mode of depth as a “space that opens up behind the surface” (Foucault, 1984: 4). This comes into cohesion with French philosopher Michel Foucault’s idea of ‘Heterotopic space’ where one is neither in one place or another but able to experience multiple mixed experiences at once in a given physical space. An attribute focused through the perception of the ‘Radio Ear’ as a panoply of signals unfolds.
In terms of signals with value (communication purposes), identification can only be made by running them against invaluable waves: the aforementioned noise. This can be construed as a reverse process of seeing what you don’t want - subtracting this from the signal of value. It is this mere act of transduction that creates value as “unprocessed data will always remain as noise.” (Schuppli, 2018). It is a process of transformation, immaterial deletion, resulting the output signal to act as metadata – it still holds noise in its processing and final form.
Above: Luigi Russolo. Noise Instrument Laboratory. 1913.

During several visits during November 2018 to Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall, UK on-site technicians revealed this exact process to myself. This entailed feeding noise into a spectrum analyser to create data awareness of what should then be disposed of. Once the noise was centralised it is removed (silenced) from the unique required signal; in turn, creating and boosting a clearer image or path of communication. The result was a scientifically produced image of a signal that holds meta-information of everything it is not.

This process of silencing shows the value of data in the surrounding ocean of noise. For the Goonhilly engineers to produce and process signals of value there had to be an awareness of noise and to work with it. Noise is therefore not worthless but a productive energy in communication. It is useful to understand that this ‘magic-removal’ is a trick: it does not actually shift particles in space but is merely a process of technical sorcery. The tailoring of a signal is a process of meta-coding; noise becomes a concrete function in the production process. The final outcome is an artificially engineered signal that is listened or seen by the listener/ seer/customer without any idea of the meta-code. This dayto- day encryption is fed into all consumed information. Our body-mind complex does not have the required tools to unpack and descramble these meta-information signals. Evoking the need for the
introduction of the ‘Radio Ear’ (technical apparatus) as means of infiltration to processes of our information receptions. This contributes to a view of more condensable and stacked mixed media environment. Where a mode of pluralism with multiple codes, channels, images and cognitive maps arises. The ‘Radio Ear’ is actually a shift in perception opening the imagination and virtuality to a greater periphery rather than replacing existing sensorial structures.
Noise Spectrum Analyser – Goonhilly Engineer Robin Ridge undergoes a method of cancelling out noise.

Top: This shows the yellow frequencies of a base noise platform, with information signals to be centralised within.

Bottom: This shows the result of removing the noise. The yellow lines turn from a low chaotic area to tall spikes with precise frequency values. The previous chaotic base line is not a stable floor for extracting information. Photographs by Zuzanna Zgierska.
Chapter 2: The Ether as Non-material

“I’ve taken a sip from the cup that slips into ether.” (Coil, 1999)

‘The Ether’ is a medium – a non-place produced by the noise of our existence. The space derives from the multiplication of machines, crafted by the development of production since the Agricultural Revolution in the 18th and early 19th centuries in Europe. This arena is a result of our manufacturing of space – an ephemeral state that reflects on our desire to produce. With the rise of the late 20th and 21st century’s ‘Information Age’ sabotaged this space into a means of communication. A stack upon the prior machine noise. Language and data could scout the skies and uncover emissions waiting to be decoded. The phenomena of these hypermodernising developments led to processes of globalisation, hybridisation and digital convergence that pressurised a concept of the ‘shrinking world’. A rapid technological growth (transport, manufacturing, distribution and communication) that shortcuts modes of living to give the geographical illusion of a smaller connected world. This time-space compression placed production over listening. ‘The Ether’ became a component of communication but in doing so it delivered a by-product: ‘Immortal Noise’. The tools responsible for this outcome are technological objects called antennas that send and receive signals of electrical and magnetic particles that drift tangled together in space. Frequencies embedded in ‘The Ether’ become carriers of electromagnetic waves of both valuable communication and noise signals.

“This new other time is that of electronic transmission, of high-tech machines, and therefore, man is present in this sort of time, not via his physical presence, but via programming” (Paul Virilio, 1986).

The separation through hierarchy does not exist in
‘The Ether’. The infection of information and disinformation is equal in the electromagnetic field as
it vastly pollutes the invisible space. It is the receiver who tunes themselves as a technical object of filtering and creating subjective hierarchy. The plenitude of this raw material represents a landscape that is ripe for mining. A labouring act of prospect requires sifting through endless dirt to receive an ore of value. This ore is non-material; it is not an object, but an energy with specific frequency profit. Drilling for this ore has no effect on the virtual space of ‘The Ether’ as signals still drift and noise frequencies can never be removed. It just shifts in perceptual notion and creates a technical simulation of deletion.

Top: Antenna. Szczyrk, Poland. 2018. This is utilised for radar, weather forecasts, stock-exchange, telecom signals, radio stations and emergency news. Photograph by the author.

Bottom: Spatiodynamic tower. Nicolas Schöffer. 1954. The first sound-equipped cybernetic tower; the sculpture generates 3 elements of sound:

1: Chance 2: Reactive 3: Feedback.

The cells in the tower produce an exploration of all notes and the structure behaves like an electronic animal. The tower also has uses as a commercial antenna system.
The whole earth can be seen as seated within ‘The Ether’ and its electromagnetic currents, where a complex interaction of these energies has a pervasive quality. This field acts as a comprehensive data set of the ancient world, the present world and co-ordinates of the next world. It is a “quasi- media” (Schuppli, 2018) produced from “natural phenomena” (Schuppli, 2018) before even being transduced or utilised. Revisiting Douglas Kahn’s encouragement of re-perception by criticizing the “(…) problem with object orient anthology is that there is a plenitude of objects but no plenitude of energies.” (Douglas Kahn, 2010). With this in mind, a re-focus should be drawn to the difference between the electro-infrastructures that produce the electromagnetic space, and the space itself. One cannot exist without the other, but their physicality, occupation and lifespan are very different. Human beings perceive and measure the ever-shifting virtual as an energy-influence on movement within both our bodies and our minds. In fact, it is interesting to note that the electrical property of signals is similar to the chemistry of nerve signals. In juxtaposition, the object of the antenna is merely a technical tool for metamorphosis of such energy.

The processing of information from ‘The Ether’ is done by a method of transduction, a conversion of electrical energy to mechanical. I, myself have touched and sipped The Ether. I have drowned in the noise and become alert to patterns forming in my brain as I attempt to devour the humming, whistling, whirling, whining buzzes, crackling clicks and screams of rushing information. I drink it all in, without filters. The technological object I hold and the orientation of my own geo-positioning is a filter in itself. However, I am not blocking signals entering my body, but am a locked open door for signals to flow through. The harvesting apparatus I hold is a Loop Antenna, coiled in form and abstractly converting very low frequencies (VLF) into my ‘Radio Ear’. This coil in my hands is constructed solely from one metal – copper. The size of the metallic loop determines the types of signals able to enter my ‘Radio Ear’ and the amount of copper will amplify and intensify these signals. This form of harvesting the skies field of noise envelopes one’s own image of the information world. Language, signs and symbols can be mined from this inter-dimensional position.

'The Ether’ exists as a property of the sky, levitating our electro-infrastructure as a “(…) charged landscape” (Paglen, 2018). Astronomers identify objects in this skyscape such as planets, moons, flying rocks and satellites. There is clarity in that the object is clearly seen and therefore exists with a purpose and meaning. In the electromagnetic field, we do not see objects; only it’s energy can be transduced through the act of listening. This creates difficult translations of language in comparison to
similar conclusions that one might make when ‘seeing’ an image through a telescope. The telescopic eye tool acts in the same way as the ‘Radio Ear’, but is marked by absoluteness an understanding with object orientation.

Above: Goonhilly Earth Station, Cornwall. Around the perimeter of Aerial 6 a series of electromagnetic listening provided heavy noise outputs. This is mainly mechanical noise from the inner workings of the antenna dish structure, but with fleeting moments of signals such as small beeps with rhythmical nuances. Perhaps a subjective suggestion to information and a form of clarity in the mist of noise. Placed in the bottom of the photograph the ‘Radio Ear’ is present.
Photograph by Zuzanna Zgierska.
Top: Błędów Desert, Poland, 2018. A series of ground recordings in an industrial desert terrain where these recordings were received through a circular loop antenna – ‘Radio Ear’. This act of listening was undertaken during a lightning storm while walking through the remote landscape. The sounds of small clicks and buzzes were over powered by temporal slams from electrical outputs of the lightning bolts, heard before the acoustical and familiar thunder sound. Photograph by Zuzanna Zgierska.

Bottom: Barania Góra, Poland, 2018. This electromagnetic listening took place on top of a mountain in the middle of the night, surrounded by tall, dark inanimate trees. In the sky above the longest lunar eclipse of 21st century was taking place over a duration of 1hr 42mins 52seconds. At this high altitude, there is little noise being received from electro-landmarks, only large wavelength signals from distant places. Crackles and ‘shhhhhhhsssttttt’ are followed by whistles and among them are moments of beeps and phase noises like spinning Dopplers. A quiet place but with a deeper and higher infiltration into the dark curves of The Ether. Photograph by the author.
Through the methods of the telescopically-enhanced eye a level of predictability is obtained. Vision and laws of physics craft the sky into a real space. German Mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, Johannes Kepler developed three laws of planetary motion. By examining his ‘Law of Motion’, proposed in the early 1600s, we can identify routes that material in the sky will take. Using this psychology of mathematical fortune telling, an artificial ‘next-image’ can be displayed in the mind’s eye. In the work of contemporary American artist and geographer, Trevor Paglen captures military and ghost satellites which are traced over long exposures to demonstrate their existence, positioning and movements around and above the Earth. This ‘next-image’ forecast leads to a model that can be identified as a straight line. In a pictorial sense these lines are logical visualisations, crafted from models of our own experiences of relation. However, these lines are merely imagined spaces, supported only by visual cues. They can be compared to ‘Ley Lines’ - an alignment of sites that conform to the notion of a straight line through geographical surface space. These are often referenced as a spiritual dimension being transcended into surface value – an imagined signifier of another world. A world constituted from energies of the past.

The description of vertical and horizontal is normally also viewed in a linear methodology. Two points; left to right or up and down. When describing the space between the two points the linguistic outcome directly shifts to a straight line. When considering sound and its’ vibrations – sound does not visually appear as a straight line but an oscillating one that we can call a curve in time. A single tone such as a ‘Sine’ is represented as a series of curves moving up and down endlessly. In the method of electromagnetic transduction, the ‘Radio Ear’ is acquiring a series of sines all tangling together – a chaos of curves moving from one point to another. This multiplication of stacking waves blurs like a series of object shadows into one meta-image. This is the non-linear visual alternative to prediction, and keeps the listener in the moment of sensation (sense) rather than understanding (truth).

Top: Trevor Paglen, ‘Key hole 12-3’. 2007.

Centre: Ley Lines of St Michaels, Cornwall, UK.

Bottom: Ralf Vandebergh, Telescopic Keyhole 12-3. 2010.
Since the Information Age the sky began to become an archival library of electronic history. It transformed the known atmosphere into a “strange chaos (…) The air itself is one vast library, on whose page are forever written (…) ” (Charles Babbage, 1837). Early 20th century Russian Constructivist El Lissitzsky stated in his 1923 manifesto the ‘Electro-Library’ that “(…) the new book demands the new writer.” (Lissitzsky, 1923). Lissitzsky was interested in producing a universal visual language from new forms of art and design. These were influenced by new technologies of transport, science and communication which developed a language of form to illustrate current modes of modern living. His manifesto became an investigation into new mediums of typography, of which one can see similarities to a digital interface like the internet. Much like his manifesto demanded, a new theory of medium must also be coined for today’s Post-Information Age. The perception through the ‘Radio Ear’ creates a new formulation of language to assist imagining the ambiguous space of ‘The Ether’.

The new listener demands a new translator.

In this new self-produced space, there needs to be a re-consideration given to every aspect of representation. This could be achieved in the sense of non-horizontal, non-vertical thinking:

The horizontal: The plane of human existence, the space we physically inhabit and manifest.

The vertical: The productions and occupations infiltrating up-and-down space.

Both axes orientated dimensions refer back to the linear conditioning of the ‘straight line understanding’ (linear truth). Swiss philosopher, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi practiced a series of teaching techniques during the late 18th and early 19th centuries that can be described as ‘dimensional object lessons’ – learning to look and draw. The principle was to study an object in all its magnitude – form, relation and transitions as a measurement of a plenitude of possibilities. A drawing exercise by Pestalozzi shows the rules of arithmetic and dimensional qualities by visually undertaking the construction of fractions. Pestalozzi used this method for understanding space in a mode of plural dimensions, sticking however to the basis of the vertical, horizontal and straight lines.
Top, Left: Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.
‘Dimensional Relationships’. 1809.

Top, Right: Naum Gabo. ‘Constructions of Space’.
Perspex and celluloid. 1938 – 1940.

Centre, Left: Naum Gabo. Opus 9. Woodcut print. 1973.

Bottom: Naum Gabo. Design for kinetic construction.
Drawing. 1922.

In the drawings, prints and sculptures by 20th century Russian Constructivist, Naum Gabo a functioning representation of this non-formal and unfolding space is illustrated. In the 1920 text ‘The Realistic Manifesto’ Gabo and his older brother, the Russian sculptor Antoine Pevsner elaborate on how all objects have their own ‘essential image’. These images contain entire worlds with “their own rhythms, their own orbits.” (Gabo and Pevsner, 1920). Much like the antenna as an object, it also relays its own world of energies as it penetrates space. In Demand 3 of ‘The Realistic Manifesto’ they state: “We renounce volume as a pictorial and plastic form of space; one cannot measure Space in volumes as one cannot measure liquid in yards: look at our space (…) what is it if not one continuous depth?” (Gabo and Pevsner, 1920). The process of unfolding form and space is a notion to The Ether’s dimensional property that is in a state of never-ending transformation. In his text ‘The Fold’ French philosopher, Gilles Deleuze describes virtual space;

“the infinite fold separates or moves between matter and soul, the façade and the closed room, the outside and the inside. Because it is a virtuality that never stops dividing itself, the line of inflection is actualized in the soul but realized in matter, each on its own side” (Deleuze, 1993: 35).

For ‘The Ether’, a new type of geographical referencing would fall outside the brackets of two planar dimensions. I am now proposing a dimensional re-draw of ‘The Ether’ in a similar arithmetic manner to both Pestalozzi’s and the Russian Constructivist teachings. The antenna object can be used here as a starting point for visually exercising this cartography of ‘The Ether’. A series of these antennas is called an array; it combines the objects in a sequence that is normally voiding the horizontal or vertical planes. These array systems are the responsible objects for crafting the energetic system within the electromagnetic field. For example, the ‘Chicksands array’ is designed by placing a circle within a circle. Chicksands is a former Royal Air Force station in Bedfordshire, UK. This cartographic source can help further illustrate the mode of which antennas digest and produce the space above.

Both these images of tensegrity offer another interesting illustration of the virtual space we call ‘The Ether’. They fold in space and have omni-directional movement, while being made of many components that all work together in producing networks of evolving transformation.

Above, left: Kārlis Johansons. Tensegrity. 1920.(Photographed by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy). Latvian-Soviet artist, Johansons constructed a series of works that represented nets of continuous tension. These were three-dimensional structures that balanced tension with static form – creating a potential energy of transformation.

Above, right: Super Ball Bot. NASA. 2014. This robot was constructed under the same principles of tensegrity formed by Kārlis Johansons. This technical terrestrial object was made for scouting planets surfaces – with the ease of multiple directional movement and orientation while collecting data.
The space of ‘The Ether’ can also be described as lying diagonally, possessing a non-linear and more spatial property. With this idea of the diagonal, an equilibrium is met between the horizontal and the vertical planes. This is however, not enough to illustrate the electromagnetic space. In ‘The Ether’ diagram I have sketched, an additional circular notion of time has been portrayed curating a “time axis manipulation” (Parikka, 2015: 9). The drawing borrows from the iconic, historically recurring structure of the ‘Ouroboros’ as a visually unfolding picture of time – structurally similar to the circular properties of antenna array systems. The symbol of the snake consuming its own tail was first founded in Ancient Egyptian iconography. Discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, a depiction of the underworld illustrates the walls with two coiled snakes in ‘Ouroboros’ form. The circular forms are commonly decoded to ideas on cycles, perpetuity and resurrection. As a depiction of space, it is a clear representation applicable to ‘The Ether’ – an architecture without end and formless disorder. It “refers to the mystery of cyclical time, which flows back into itself”. (Jan Assmann, 2017). ‘The Ether’ diagram that I have illustrated concentrates on a level of depth beyond mathematics of planar geometry. Instead, it exhibits a representation of time in the invisible space of stacking information and noise. This new layer of the Earth’s extended diagonal and elliptical geography is dominated by the morphological production of human activities shifting into the virtual, shifting into ‘The Ether’.

Above: ‘The Ether’ – a new diagram to illustrate the process of listening to electromagnetic sounds. This demonstrates the diagonal, dynamic movement, the infinite lifespan, the folding of time and perspective. Image created by the author. 2018.
Top: Antenna array system of Chicksands, UK, as seen from above.

Bottom: A wall in the tomb of the Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun illustrating the ‘Ouroboros’ on the head and feet of a central God.
Part 2: Landmarks, Orientation and Navigation: Visible and Invisible Fields

Chapter 3: Geobiologic Positioning Systems

What would happen if we stepped into The Ether…

We have come to the hypothesis of ‘The Ether’ as a spatial phenomenon. It holds abstract properties of geographical dimensions and transforms in a place that is outside of our known perceptions.

Discussed here is a second discovery about orientation within this space. Similar to the force of gravity the electromagnetic waves in ‘The Ether’ has capabilities of effecting objects, but in a subtler way. In this sense the ‘field of noise’ has the potential to slowly re-manoeuvre physical properties as well as shift our perception of the invisible. As previously discussed, when attempting to deconstruct ‘The Ether’ significant impacts on our perception of images and sensations frequently arise. The concentration now falls on the potential physical effects of the electromagnetic field.

In bird navigation, there is a biomineral within the boundaries of the skull that allows for a sense called ‘Magnetoreception’. Through the use of this mineral (magnetite) a bird can perceive the electromagnetic waves in ‘The Ether’ to understand direction and altitude. It becomes a natural Geographical Positioning System (GPS) that allows for the bird to migrate across continents without becoming lost. An inbuilt map is neurologically unfolded by perceiving electro- currents across the Earth’s surface. This is called an electroreceptive system and can be seen as a “technological extension of consciousness”. (Wigley, 2015: 286).

In 1862 French experimental biologist Cyril Viguier elaborates on the working method of this innate sense in birds that is formulated by a process of comparison. To further explain: a bird must be able to navigate through understanding changes in the environment. When a pigeon is released and undergoes the homing process, it embarks by comparing the new location’s magnetic state to the known-home magnetic state. Through the calculations of difference, it is able to navigate the space between with assumed direction.
Top: Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis. The 20th century Greek architect and town planner created this electro-magnetic model of a 1920 pattern of a Typical Urban Renewal Area, Ekistics. 1963.

Bottom: Andrew Gordon Speedie Pask - English inventor and experimenter of cybernetics. Depicted here is an electro-chemical computer where a series of iron crystals in a solution of electrified acid represents the neural highways of the computer’s interior functions. The system of growth in a multitude of directions arises from inputs and outputs, while neural branches twist and turn with the potential to either grow or wither. 1959.
What is interesting is the fact that the magnetic measurement is not only undertaken by perceiving one element. It is broken down into three components: “its intensity, inclination (the angles which a compass needle makes with the horizon) and declination (the angle between magnetic and geographical north). These vary more or less independently of each other so that their isolines would form a complex grid.” (Mathews, 1954: 88).

As stated in the understanding of ‘The Ether’, a more complex image was concluded where the field is beyond horizontal and vertical space. What Viguier and other experimental bird scientists are suggesting is that the space has multiple comparative dimensions. This plural landscape is then perceived by a bird through three or more components at a single moment. This sense creates what is called the ‘navigational map’; a directional image in the bird’s mind. This visualisation can be seen as an outcome of utilising ‘The Ether’. A form of translation occurs where the bird’s senses (magnetic matter or light-sensitive photoreceptors) decode the electromagnetic currents into a language. A series of meta-information both visual and non-visual is produced from a single element of the electromagnetic wave.

A series of physical tests have been made to experiment with the interference (noise) from electromagnetism onto the bird’s navigational map. In 1947, American physicist and astronomer Henry Lincoln Yeagley attempted to build his own interference mechanisms to dis-orientate pigeons. This electromagnetic noise system would disrupt the magnetic sense of the pigeon, thus malfunctioning its GPS. “Yeagley attached small, powerful magnets to the wings of pigeons (…) the fluctuating electromagnetic field induced in the bird’s body when the wings were beating would swamp any measurement of that induced by the movement of the body through the Earth’s field” (Mathews, 1954: 84). This production of noise overpowered the sense that the pigeon would normally use for directional navigation. The end results of this test saw a mixed scattering of pigeons as they flew and wandered with no bearings.

Humans also have an electro-sensitivity similar to birds, although massively overpowered by the existing sense of vision. Cyril Viguier suggests that this human sense is one prominently illustrated by the force of electromagnetism. He states:

“(…) there exists not only in animals but also in man, a true sense of direction; a sense whose keenness varies greatly according to the subjects, and… no doubt is located in an organ just as distinct as that of vision and hearing.”
(Viguier, 1882: 1-36)

Top: D’Arsonval Cage. Arsène d’Arsonval. 1890-1910. Paris, France. This invention was a mode of therapeutic treatment that focused magnetic fields around the patient to adjust their metabolic rate. It was one of the earliest tests in biological effects of electromagnetic currents on the human body and made relations to tropism and cell growth. Bottom: Faraday Chair. Dunne and Raby. 1995. The work highlights the over-pollution of electric waves in our ecosystem by providing a space to escape to, protected from signals. The result is a sort of negative radio eco-system.
Like birds we must not compare our senses to computational and systematic methods. We are a “continually evolving organism, at once biological and technological, a technology with biology.” (Wigley, 2015: 287) The aspect of perceiving noise can act as shaking us awake from the auto-piloted mode of moving through technological and horizontal capitalistic life. This day-to-day perpetual navigation is overpowered by the assumed evidence of our own habit of using the eye.

Instead, a new sensation could be introduced and grown around the wide-spread information that globally surrounds us. The abstract element to “communication is that it is designed to be ‘transparent’; no conversion is supposed to take place.” (Massumi, 1998). Without this conversion being made, the virtual would remain unknown to us, as if it was a floating signifier with locked scrambling encryption. The vast emission of messages can be decoded to a subject language through listening as sensation rather than computational understanding. This relates to the theme of “stenography” (Howse, 2009) that deems an environment as being coded with a “potentially secret writing” (Howse, 2009). This language is secret as it is hidden by our existing perception exercised by existing sensorial knowledge and representation. The mode of sensation interprets space and dissolves it down to form an immaterial language system. This is an experience of reading signals rather than processing.

Therefore, the responsible element is the reader (someone willing to decode) who takes transduction into their own hands. “For the information to make a difference, the receiver must be primed to make a difference, to interpret or exploit it. Information is a feed.” (Massumi, 1998). This infiltration of decoding information or noise is being managed in the perception of the ‘Radio Ear’ to access a level of depth, where depth is acquired by looking beyond the surface. This exterior shell has to be sliced open to reveal a position of distance (plural worlds). The grass ‘fields of noise’ can be seen by lying down and submerging one’s self between the blades. In this position, blurred forms are delocalised from their previous view and an action of “Distant cut-in, local fold-out.” (Massumi, 1998) takes place. Obtained is a merging of old perceptions with new perceptions, allowing for an omni-dimensional standpoint. The ‘transparent’ electro-infrastructure can therefore be converted into a new form of language through the cohesion of biology, perception and the technical new materialism.

The ‘Radio Ear’ is one that is just as distinct as any other body organ. However, this organ is invisible and requires a mode of tuning to access its potential knowledge. As the body enters a mode of tuning to an event it enters the act of listening in the modes of sensation. An array of sounds heard by the ‘Radio Ear’ layer on top of
each other competing for prominent cognitive imagination. These stacked sensations from electromagnetic noise can be seen as having “shades of sensation” (Bergson, 1913: 42) that are triggered and categorised by the intensities of the stimuli.

Above, left: Edward Snowden. Locked and scrambled image that is used for military purposes where information needs to be decoded.

Above, right: Russian inventor, Evgeny Sholpo. 1930. Visual graphical forms are used as light receptors to produce sounds using the ‘Variophone’. A landscape of visual score is produced, where light is converted into sound.

Likewise, French philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson refers to the reflection of a moment as having qualitatively distinct sensations by illustrating “(…) we hold a pin in our right hand and prick our left hand more and more deeply. At first we shall feel as it were a tickling, then a touch which is succeeded by a prick, then a pain localized at a point, and finally the spreading of this pain over the surrounding zone.” (Bergson, 1913: 42). The layers of noise and information in ‘The Ether’ become perceived not through the endless quantities of systematic understanding but through reaching a subjective sense of quality. The perception of a noise moves into an idea, isolated by the abundance of excess. It is isolated into an effect, a new image generation. A separation between noise and information is due to the fact that “(…) the real must be able to move through technological channels (…)” and allowing for a “(…) dream of making literal reproductions of the inscribed pathways in their brains.” (Kittler, 1990: 317).

Top: Comet. Trevor Paglen. 2017. A machine-learnt algorithm produces a single image from a database of paintings on mystic symbols, occult artefacts, omens and phenomena. Here can be seen an example of a virtual invisible image being constructed from physical properties (landmarks). This method of image-making excludes the human-technician from the conversation and allows for the nature of information to form its own world.

Bottom: Mirage optical processing. A sequential image of a phasing mirage while looking towards the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco.
Much like a phantom limb, there is a perception of something being present but the eye denies. This new organ of the ‘Radio Ear’ can be explored to allow for the vision of a scene and route that is not actually there. Like Ley Lines, these map systems are imaginary and built from the sky of energies being grounded. This perception of space creates a mirage in the mind; an illusion of seeing something that is not there, commonly associated with acts of looking.

The methods of mirage image manipulation are caused by the effects of light bending through different qualities of atmospheric pressure. As we know, visible light also lies on the electromagnetic spectrum alongside radio frequencies. The mirage becomes a notion towards a new optical regime born out of global conditions, processes, laws and physics. This results in a chain of aesthetic consequences that attribute to a new quasi-truth, a twisted understanding that sits better with the notion of sensations. It is therefore plausible to link the effects of the optical mirage to the fictional imagination of electro-topology, perceived by the ‘Radio Ear’. This results in a cognition of spatial awareness by building images through subjective measurements of ‘The Ether’. . . a floating map in our minds-eye crafted by electro-sensitivities. This develops ‘an aesthetic interpretation’ so that the human as a technical object can become “the observer to the ‘invisible’ presence of these networks.” (Kluitenberg, 2006: 14).

Canadian philosopher and social theorist, Brian Massumi illustrates his own mode of navigation
“Instead of seeing passing scenes I felt twists and turns coming one after the other with variable speed. I was going on a bodily memory of my movements, one of contorsion and rhythm rather than visible form.”
(Massumi, 2002: 178-9).

Massumi goes on to elaborate on the sense of proprioception, a way of moving that relies on internal signals. This involves balance, force and depth being broken down into relatable body parts in space. The idea of the internal is far different from the sensual ‘exoreferential’ sense of vision, where an understanding of images only exists through an external mode. Massumi’s description of moving through space closes the external inputs and relies on a cognitive map, a mode of intuition to allow getting from A to B. However, the methodologies of a non-visual external input into the modes of navigation are proposed here: the electromagnetic input of the virtual noise infrastructure or ‘The Ether’ Routes. The aforementioned pigeon experiments by Yeagley also had electromagnetic directional finding pathways based on the neurology of proprioception. The pigeons based electromagnetic differentiation from two different
locations, to paint a mental image to fly home. Through the modes of mineral biology, mirage perception and electro-sensitivities a new aesthetic pathway is also unfolded for humans from the electromagnetic field.This is a pathway built from an aesthetic result of a technical tool’s influence on perception. A method also utilised in the Second World Ward by radio navigation tools such as the Bellini Tosi and Huff Duff. These directional finding tools used antenna systems that would scout ‘The Ether’ for any electromagnetic noise. If there were strong noise levels or particular frequencies, they could map approximate lines of source direction: normally Military bases or Naval destroyers. These device outputs created strategies of orientation based on statistical knowledge of noise as a valuable product. Both in military, remote sensing science and telecom business we see the processing of noise to either imagine space visually or as a tool of reduction. It enters a process of becoming a key manufacturing component of visual mapping.
Above: Bellini Tosi diagram and device. A radio compass system invented in the early 1900’s by Italian Naval Officers.
In information societies (western-capital-culture), we rely on maps with valuable information, and understand noise as a worthless entity. The daily activities we undertake remove the body from the manufacturing of these activities, which in turn removes us from the processing of noise. The proposed shift into the virtual inhabits the process of quantitative systems to qualitative ones. A new consideration is made in the means of measuring which turns information landscapes into imaginary landscapes; a process similar to Cubist painting ideologies.


Above: Mapped Zeppelin routes through a Marconi Directional Finding antenna. 1916. The air surveillance vessels were tracked and given locations for then shooting down (RIP Markers).

These devices and plotting systems work similarly to mobile phone technology today. The signals from the phone device ping data to antenna structures owned by private telecom companies. This streams all your data and in turn gives you a fixed position based on your electromagnetic output-waves. The preciseness of position is based on the signal strength between the mobile phones own antenna and the nearest telecom tower.

Above: Tomb of Tutankhamun illustrating ‘Ouroboros’.

This image is previously mentioned as being a descript source to the non-Euclidean spatial aspect of ‘The Ether’. On further examination it can be identified that two ‘Ouroboros’ symbols circle both the head and the feet. The iconography has a signifying value of the mind and movement having equal and binding sensation. As discussed in this chapter there are virtual images being drawn from ‘The Ether’ into modes of navigational movement. This Ancient Egyptian example has connotations that do not separate the endless use of our body’s movement to the infinite perception of the senses being processed in the mind.
In 1920 the Central Institute of Labour was founded in Moscow by Russian computational scientist Alex Gastev. The institute was a lab for sensorics specialising in the operational complexes of production and the machine in a single, unbroken chain of events. Experiments undertaken there deconstructed the movements of humans as they performed simple, labouring mechanical tasks. In essence a study for efficiency. These investigations produced “the synthesis between biology and engineering (…) and the integrated calculated incorporation of determinate human masses into a system of mechanisms (…) nothing other than social engineering.” (Smirnov, 2013: 99). This studied in detail how the human body could be augmented in space while undergoing the means of production. In relevance to electromagnetic navigation, Ukranian, 20th century avant-garde graphic artist, Solomon Niktritin developed a manuscript that attempted to define a language of these movements. Rather than having a focus on labour, he concentrated on the typology systems of human movements in terms of biomechanics and acoustics. Nikritin made direct links to how the body moves through a sense like proprioception to sounds in space. This processing of movement converted the human subject into a ‘technical object’ similar to an antenna, able to transcend electrical waves into mechanical movement. It would indicate that “man is also a living radio transmitter” (Playfair and Hill, 1979: 93) as well as a receiver, much like American industrial designer, Gilbert Rohde’s image of the ‘Man of Tomorrow’, where the body is depicted as an instrumental extension of radio waves.

Above: Gilbert Rohde. Man of Tomorrow. 1939. Man as a ‘technical object’ with the capability to transduce electromagnetic waves for communicational purposes.

Above, top: Umberto Boccioni. Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. 1913. “Let us fling open the figure and let it incorporate within itself whatever may surround it.” (Manifesto of Futurist Painters, 1910).

Above, bottom: Solomon Nikritin. Manuscript. 1922. This draft manuscript illustrates an attempt to develop both a typology and a classification system for human movements according to the principles and terms of biomechanics and acoustics.
Chapter 4: The Noise-lenses of
Aesthetic Mapping

Landmarks in visual orientation become triggers for advancing movements of the body. Much like a trigonometrical point on a mountain top, they become blurred, distant images of positional desire. This linear method of utilising landmarks exposes and describes the notion of horizontal space. A mathematical calculation is noted between the self and the object through a reference of distance. A perception is conceived and built up of metrics and quantitative data assumptions as ruling experiences of spatial navigation.

Above, top: The Belvédère Triangulation Point, Nax Rock, Switzerland. This exact point is the origin of all the extensive mapping systems of Switzerland completed by Guillaume-Henri Dufour in 1845.

Above, bottom: Franceso Rosselli. City Map of Florence, Italy. 1470.
Being led by this straight line is verisimilitude (theoretical truth in relation); for example, in a cityscape environment a high point of architecture like a church tower may act as a visible landmark. A sequence of these physical landmarks become the orchestrators of choreographing the movement of people. In a 1470 map of Florence, Italy the ever-rising structural landmarks that scatter the city skyline can be observed. This traditional form of the map becomes a physical source of data representing something, somewhere, unknown and distant from the self – a projection of virtual geography. The map is virtual as it visualises and translates an undiscovered space. In perception, the space is a non-existent experience, it is only available in the imagination through the assisting technological tool of the map. Which in itself is a basis of subjective knowledge, a visual interpretation and moves from the objective to a “post-representational cartography” (Fedorova, 2015: 46).

The pluralistic nature of a series of electro-object landmarks are pictured in this series that demonstrates the disguised nature of removing visual denotations of invasive electro-presence. Existing landmark structures such as churches, water towers, factory chimneys and clock towers are being re-appropriated by added-on constructions of antennas. This is fueled by the privatisation of telecommunications, rapid network growths and governmental surveillance. It is living proof of the object state of ‘The Ether’ and the landmark “(…) gadget then takes place [of] the invisible source itself.” (Dolar, 2006: 63). The towers become a series of semaphores communicating a chain of signals to the subject, whether they are aware or not. Previously, structures such as the bell tower would have been used as soundmarks. A soundmark is a non-visual indicator of time but also a ‘position in time’. The noise produced from the ringing bells, trigger a moment of self-reflection in a precise present and fleeting state. The signals now emitting from these re-appropriated towers are based on the electromagnetic signals both in information and noise. And, similar to the ‘ding-dong’ of the bells they play a non-visual alternation to the perception of space and time. The subjects reading the soundmarks are indeed us, and renders the idea that “society is technology made permeant.” (Peters, 2018).

Now let us picture the same landmarks of bell towers, but in heavy fog – a mask that limits all views of horizontal and vertical positioning: a blind-desert scenario with only your feet for ground. The repeating peals of the bell tower flood the fog plane and a visual hallucination is triggered. An image of the physical space through the illustration of sound waves starts to emerge in the mind. This imagination of a new spatial quality is one that is already ever-present. By changing our ears to ‘Radio Ears’ (antenna receivers) and transducing the electro-magnetic field we can begin to become cartographers of a new field of vision.
The ‘Immortal Noise’ from antennas that over populates this field is much like a fog, a never-ending storm of whirling information. Moments of calm fall when patterns in noise are processed. Much like an optical mirage it is necessary to find placement and perspective in the imaginary space. This is done through listening and learning, a labouring, mining process to extract points of interest and points of reference. These new invisible landmarks are similar to magnetic poles with strong pulses dominating a map for our in-built compass. The technical tool of the compass is replaced by the extension of the body through the ‘Radio Ear’. This creates a “(…) third hinge-dimension of experience (…)” (Massumi, 1999: 182) that opens new modes of navigation and positioning. The prior experience of horizontal and vertical presupposes a set of Cartesian co-ordinates, producing an exact point of being. This referential point of the event and the perceiver now has to be reframed into “a place of being” (Ganchrow, 2010).


Above and Overleaf: Image sequence of invisible antennas attached to existing man-made structures. Poland. Photographs by the author. 2018.

Top: Semaphore towers running from London to Portsmouth in the UK. 1825. These communication structures work like a chain of smoke signals, where the arms are positioned as in a clock format that signify letters to then be decoded by the receiver.

Top, centre: Lev Valdemarovich Nussberg. Model of the ‘Cybertheatre’. 1966.

Bottom, centre: Lev Valdemarovich Nussberg. Detail from Untitled. 1962.

Bottom: Lev Valdemarovich Nussberg. ‘Idolatry, Shore of the Black Sea’. 1968. This sequence of images from Russian artist (and founder of Russian kinetic art) Lev Valdemarovich Nussberg shows his striving to work with the electromagnetic field and moving optical states. In ‘Shore of the Black Sea’ there is a space among the familiar nature that depicts twists and diagonal bends in the sky. A suggestion towards energies and infrastructural fields that exist as ‘The Ether’. The other two works ‘Cybertheatre’ and ‘Untitled’ show in detail the kind of structure Nussberg was using to describe the energies in the space above the ground.

Above: John Tunnard. ‘Tol Pedn’. 1942. The Cornish painter and coastguard (during World War II) suggested abstract alternatives to the lived environment that denote space travel and metaphysical Surrealism. In this particular work, the space between his own coast watch station and communicating forms out at sea are depicted. The space between these two landmarks show a twisting and bending perspective speculation in a chaotic ideal of transmitter and receiver.

The landmarks of the electro-infrastructures hold inscriptions of meta-information to be decoded in a realm of localism and globalism. These invisible inscriptions attached to the source structures hold the language systems for a new aesthetic thought. The camouflaged nature of antenna towers becoming even more invisible shifts informational activities into a space of non-orientation and into a “space of flows” (Kluitenberg, 2006: 6). This vision of space is not detached from the physical ‘real space’, it is indeed a contributor to the purpose, interaction and movement of society. The development in strategies to disguise information landmarks deceives the public of accessing the existing virtual space. Drawing to the idea that “(…) if we don’t see them, then we don’t attribute to them the agency their role deserves.” (Bridle, 2014: 6). This re-confirms the fact that opening an investigation into biology’s magentorecpetion, neural networks and cognitive visual mapping becomes a prime essential in sensing the invisible.
French composer Michel Chion states: “(…) what is important is the space inhabited and defined by the sound, more than its multisource origin” (Chion, 1994: 79).

The known interface of the antenna tower conceals the network of invisible processes behind it. The architectural interfaces themselves do not shape the perception of society, but instead shape their actual mechanisms of processing information. The “space of flows” (Kluitenberg, 2006: 6) can also be seen as an “Augmented space” (Lev Manovich, 2002: 223). This arena places points in physical space that contain levels of meta-information and adds “new dimensions to a 3-D physical space, making it multidimensional.” (Lev Manovich, 2002: 223). This steps our ‘real space’ outside of the Euclidean perspective and reveals non-geometrical stacks of data noise. The once assumed line of sight is now only a basic knowledge of seeing with the new interrelation between object and its produced energy being introduced rapidly. The ‘Radio Ear’ (technical tool of transduction) envelopes away from spatial logic and into our self-built ‘augmented space’. This results in a “transductive anthropology” (Helmreich, 2009: 225) where the listener can define “distortions and resistances, turbulence that might reveal the conditions beneath any self-evident ‘presence’” (Helmreich, 2009: 225). This very act of listening to the electro-infrastructure permits a sense of being that positions the subject into a moment of orientation. The listener goes through a process of ‘returning’ to themselves while also ‘encountering’ themselves. It is this transcendental layering of sensations that occurs when transducing radio signals where a moment is formed that indicates a “presence in presence” (Nancy, 2002: 16). This is not perceived as a state moment but as a reflection on one’s own orientation – an animate energy runs through them, down their ‘Radio Ear’. A decisive moment takes place, bearing the act of the very next step.



Overleaf, Top: Chimney, Zuiderstrand, The Hague. Towards the coastal region of The Hague a series of telecom sensors slowly become more apparent as the urban landscape opens up. A series of industrial chimneys around the dock yard area have antennas feasting and grappling to their bodies. Photograph by author. 2018.

Overleaf, Bottom: Church of the Holy Martyrs of Gorcum, The Hague. Positioned inside the tower of this church is the removal of a bell that is replaced with an array of cables linking to a series of covered antennas. Many church towers undergo the cellular antenna upgrade for a large financial benefit. It becomes a widespread commercial business for the religious steeple architecture with radio positive features. Even several church spire interiors in North America are now large telecom masts concealed away from the public eye. The church bell tower conversion into a landmark within the electro-infrastructure represents a ‘technical object’ for accessing ‘The Ether’. Photograph by the author. 2018.
Transducting Psychic Representation

Through a series of measurements described in the text an array of mechanisms arise that are fundamental in the inquisition of invisible space. These are the ‘Radio Ear’, ‘The Ether’ and the habitation within ‘Immortal Noise’. The known sky extends itself from object-landmarks, into a sonicscape liquidised with a cacophony of noise and information – a bonded non-material entity. It is by engaging with the invisible that a sequence of new notions can be drawn on linguistic, visual and semiotic levels. The object-orient (landmark) viewpoint is one of access to ‘The Ether’, this is now being extended to an energy-orient (electromagnetic) sphere through the very act of listening via the ‘Radio Ear’. These gates of access are points of execution holding the locks to enter ‘The Ether’. Behind these curtains of physicality, a series of invisible inscriptions emerge that flow and dance in space. These messages produced by technology, consumerism, production and economic- capital are there to be harvested, like any other raw material. This vast appendix of surrounding electromagnetic energies is ripe to be mined and labored by one’s ‘Radio Ear’, object identification and an extenuating sense that expands a more peripheral experience.


Above: cellF. Guy Ben-Ary. 2018. A microscopic image of Guy Ben-Ary’s own stem cells being managed as neurons that grow over a Multi-Electrode Array (MEA). This transforming and learning network is composed by being fed, receiving and processing electrical signals which stimulate growth towards particular electrical inputs (sound frequencies).
It is the mere fact that ‘Immortal Noise’ is never binary (on or off) but fades down to a series of stacked layers of information, allowing for new platforms of experience to be uncovered and re-stacked in a subjective ordering of depth. This new formulation of signals, communication and noise is at the heart of sensation and understanding. Through a geo-psychic re-ordering of this invisible domain, a developed cartography of an imaginary landscape emerges. This panoply of signals holding meta-information embarks on pluralism for a self-global positioning system. Also, the tuning of certain signals via the ‘Radio Ear’ is an act of moving towards them, stepping closer and illuminating a focus on blurred profiles. The body, therefore becomes similar to a single neuron, growing, transforming, feeding and self-canalising towards stronger signals/noise/information.

What arises now is that through sensations of the existing space a new arena can be redrawn through dowsing the in-between heavens via an electro-sensitive perception. This entity being actively processed is never static, never stagnating but stuck in the flowing currents of transformation. Thus, ‘The Ether’ as illustrated through an elliptical multi-dimensional axis constitutes itself as a non-material property without a focus of the absolute for definition. Evoking a non-stationary immaterial language system to surface – calculated through “(…) consciously attending to sonic textures, masses, and velocities” (Chion, 1994: 32).

Both scientific and artistic measurements of the invisible are sources of knowledge for interpretation that allow for the imaginary to appear from the depths of information and noise. This is a post-optimal space, coated with effects, illusions and tales from distant shorelines of signals. From this second-layer of the geographical plane, a subjective signal translation can further illustrate, navigate and draw out a new aesthetic proposal from the present stacking of ‘Immortal Noise’.


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5, 6: Noise Spectrum Analyser Goonhilly Earth Station, Cornwall. 2018. Photographs by Zuzanna Zgierska.

7: Antenna Szczyrk, Poland. 2018. Photograph by the Author.

8: Spatiodynamic Tower. 1954. Nicolas Schöffer. Joray, M. 1963. The Sculpture of the Twentieth Century: Nicolas Schöffer. Basel.

9: Błędów Desert, Poland. 2018. Photograph by Zuzanna Zgierska.

10: Barania Góra, Poland. 2018. Photograph by the Author.

11: Goonhilly Earth Station, Cornwall. 2018. Photograph by Zuzanna Zgierska.

12: Key Hole 12-3. 2007. Trevor Paglen. http://www.paglen.com/?l=work&s=othernightsky&i=5 (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

13: Ley Lines of St Michaels. Cornwall. https://kateshrewsday.com/2012/10/29/the-ley-of-the-land (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

14: Telescopic Image of Keyhole 12-3. 2010. Ralf Vandebergh. http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/space-debris/astrophotography/ view-keyhole-satellite (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

15: Dimensional Relationships. 1809. Johann H. Pestalozzi. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S2236-34592014000100003&s cript=sci_arttext&tlng=en (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

16: Design for Kinetic Construction. 1922. Naum Gabo. https://www.moma.org/documents/moma_catalogue_3228_300062058 (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

17: Constructions of Space. 1938 – 1940. Naum Gabo. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gabo-construction- in-space-with-crystalline-centre-t06977 (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

18: Opus 9. 1973. Naum Gabo. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gabo-opus-9-p11390 (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

19: Tensegrity. 1920. Kārlin Johansons. https://monoskop.org/Karl_Ioganson (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)
20: Super Ball Bot. 2014. NASA. https://www.nasa.gov/content/super-ball-bot (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

21: Chicksands Antenna Array. http://spacialfeatures.blogspot.com/2012/05/flr-9-at-rafchicksands. html (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

22: Ouroboros. Tutankhamun Tomb. http://www.soul-guidance.com/houseofthesun/ouroboros.html (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

23: ‘The Ether’ Diagram. 2018. Drawing by the Author.

24: Ekistics. 1963. Constantinos A. Doxiadis. Wigley, M. 2015. Buckminster Fuller Inc: Architecture in the Age of Radio. Lars Müller Publishers, Zürich.

25: Computer Network. 1959. Andrew Gordon Speedie Pask. Cariani, P. 1993. To Evolve an Ear: Epistemological Implications of Gordon Pask’s Electrochemical Devices. Semantic Scholar, Seattle, WA.

26: D’Arsonval Cage. 1890-1910. Arsène d’Arsonval. https://www.periodpaper.com/products/1909-print-darsonval- electrical-arterio-sclerosis-cure-original-historic-image- 099123-tw3-702 (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

27: Faraday Chair. 1995. Dunne & Raby. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O63805/faraday-chair-chairdunne- raby (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

28: Video Scramble. 2000. Snowden. https://edwardsnowden.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Anarchist- Training-mod5-Redacted-Compat.pdf (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

29: Variophone. 1930. Evgeny Sholpo. Smirnov, A. 2013. Sound in Z: Experiments in Sound and Electronic Music in Early 20th Century Russia. Koenig Books, London.

30: Comet. 2017. Trevor Paglen. https://www.metropictures.com/exhibitions/trevor-paglen4/selected- works?view=slider#5 (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

31: Mirage Optical Processing. 2008. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Looming_with_towering_ and_mirage_of_Farallon_Islands.jpg (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

32, 33: DF Devices. http://ww1blog.osborneink.com/?tag=sigint (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

34: Zeppelin Map. https://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/marconi/exhibition/worldwarone.htm (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

35, 36: Ouroboros, Tomb of Tutankhamun. http://www.soul-guidance.com/houseofthesun/ouroboros.html (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

37: Manuscript. 1922. Solomon Nikritin. Smirnov, A. 2013. Sound in Z: Experiments in Sound and Electronic Music in Early 20th Century Russia. Koenig Books, London.

38: Man of Tomorrow. 1939. Gilbert Rohde. Antonelli, P. and Kultermann, U. 2007. Exit to Tomorrow: History of the Future, World’s Fair Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933-2005. Universe, New York City, NY.

39: Unique Forms of Continuity in Space. 1913. Umberto Boccioni. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/81179 (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

40: Illustrated Map of Florence. 1470. Franceso Rosselli. http://www.worldofdante.org/prospectflorence_detail.html (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

41: The Belvédère Triangulation Point, Nax Rock. https://www.valdherens.ch/en/fppoi-the-point-of-triangulation- nax-32341.html (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

42, 43, 44: Antenna Structures, Poland. 2018. Photographs by the Author.

45: Semaphore Tower, Portsmouth. 1825. https://amitabhagupta.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/optical-telegraph- in-india-the-forgotten-saga (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

46: Tol Pedn. 1943. John Tunnard. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/tunnard-tol-pedn-t03227 (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

47: Model of the ‘Cybertheatre’. 1966. Lev V. Nussberg. https://faktografia.com/2011/09/13/the-art-of-cybernetic-communism (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

48: Untitled. 1962. Lev V. Nussberg. https://auction.catawiki.com/kavels/5771073-lev-nussberg-untitled (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

49: Idolatry, Shore of the Black Sea. 1968. Lev V. Nussberg. https://monoskop.org/Lev_Nusberg (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

50: Chimney, Zuiderstrand, The Hague. 2018. Photograph by the Author.

51: Church of the Holy Martyrs of Gorcum, The Hague. 2018. Photograph by the Author.

52: cellF. 2018. Guy Ben-Ary. http://guybenary.com/work/cellf (Last Accessed 04/01/2019)

Louis Braddock Clarke
Royal Academy of Art, The Hague