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The Invisible Electronic Signals That Surround Us Now Have A Name: The Infosphere

The Invisible Electronic Signals That Surround Us Now Have A Name: The Infosphere

Modern homes and offices are places of intense electromagnetic activity. All the Wi-Fi, cellphone, and GPS access we enjoy has created a knot of invisible signaling all around us.

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What would this look like if we could see it and hear it? What does it feel like to be electrosensitive, like the Chuck McGill character in Better Call Saul?

Dutch data scientist Richard Vijgen gives us an idea (though he’s not the first to ask the question). Here is his app, The Architecture of Radio:

The app visualizes cellphone towers, overhead satellites, and Wi-Fi routers, creating a jittery, buzzing live map of electronic signaling around us.

Vijgen’s point isn’t to say living this way is dangerous, though we haven’t closed the case on that. But he is trying to make us think more about what he calls the “Infosphere.”

“We’re completely depending upon an infrastructure we cannot see,” he says. “It’s difficult to think about or have an opinion if you’re not electrosensitive, because you’re not getting sick from this.”

“It’s not that it’s dangerous–that’s not my perspective. But it is a crucial link in how we communicate today, and it’s important to get some understanding of what we rely on so much,” he says.

The Architecture of Radio is currently part of an exhibition at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. And, for the show, Vijgen has also included ethernet cabling signals to the mix.

“When you see how my many transmissions you’re actually submerged in, you come to realize this is something that’s become completely omnipresent in quite a short period of time,” he says.

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