// new media class

Annie Goh — electromagnetic microcosm v1

Sensing the City — Winter 2011

The effects of our electromagnetic environments on the human body are far from exhaustively researched yet they exist omnipresently, with particular intensity in cities. Aside from uses in telecommunication via AM/FM radio, mobile phones, wireless internet, radar etc, experimental theories about electromagnetism range from ELF (extremely low frequency) emissions instigated by governments for controlling weather and human mood, to postulations about the human consciousness itself as an electromagnetic field (McFadden 2002).

In this ambiguous context, electromagnetic microcosm is a device which senses data in real-time from its electromagnetic surroundings. Data is displayed in two different ways; firstly the fields (in this version in the ranges of 50/60Hz and 0.1-2.5GHz) are represented dynamically using electromagnets and iron filings on a surface, secondly the signal is made audible and the surface with iron filings is subjected to the motion of sound vibrations of the electromagnetic environment. Electromagnetic and mechanical forces both act on the iron filings, experimentally affording new insights into our electromagnetic-intensive, urban surroundings.

Signals in the range 0.1-2.5GHz enabled by the Snuff, developed by the r-aw.cc workstation.