Material Sounds

Cross Waves is a Canadian Sound Art series that includes performances and internet radio programs curated by eight media artists representing various regional and cultural perspectives in Canada. This edition is curated by Anna Friz. Friz’s radio and performance program “Material Sounds” explores the materiality of sound, and artists who collaborate with every day devices to reveal audible but unstable systems of sound and signal.

Featuring work by Kristen Roos, Nancy Tobin, The User (Emmanuel Emmanuel Madan​, Thomas McIntosh), Andrea Jane​ Cornell, Peter Peter Courtemanche​, Music for Lamps (Adam Basanta, Max Stein​, Julian Stein​), and Gambletron​. Read more here



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The Radius GRIDS book is now available for $5.00 from Half Letter Press, Chicago.

Featuring interviews with Kristen Roos, Amanda Gutierrez, Ethan Rose, and Radio Aktiv (Antye Greie-Ripatti, Brett A. Bloom, and Bonnie Fortune)

The GRIDS series consists of four mobile commissioned radio broadcasts at four different Chicago geographical locations throughout the 2014 calendar year. The transmissions occurred at either working or now defunct electrical production or distribution centers. Using a low-power FM transmitter – the Audio Relay Unit – that can be powered by solar panels, the broadcasts specifically addressed how energy is produced, distributed, and consumed in the event of radio broadcast. Radius has previously supported and broadcast audio work that makes inaudible energy fields audible. GRIDS continues to investigate the sonic qualities of electromagnetic energy and specific sites that produce this energy.

3 tracks from a new music project using computers and electronic equipment from the 1980’s and 90’s –

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 1.05.41 PMRadius highlights Episode 54: Kristen Roos in the next program of the ongoing Sketchpad series. Sketchpad is a monthly radio program produced for Wave Farm.  Wave Farm is a non-profit arts organization that celebrates creative and community use of media and the airwaves, providing access to transmission technologies and support for artists and organizations that engage with media as an art form.

The Sketchpad program features a re-broadcast of previous Radius episodes. Each episode is followed by a playlist of works selected by that episode’s artist. The series seeks to highlight the peripheral work that influences the research and production of the episode.

03/28/2015 – Kristen Roos (MP3 & PDF)

Someplaces: Radio Art, Transmission Ecology and Chicago’s Radius

10648308_10152685397158894_6624767763565704998_o-1As part of a recent yearly theme on “Grids” Radius tackled the electro-magnetic field space of the city by inviting four artists to create new works to be performed near power stations. In his piece electrosmog, Canadian artist Kristen Roos utilized a high frequency receiver to sonify signal activity in the 800 MHz – 2.5 GHz range, which includes mobile phones, wireless phones, wifi, and microwaves. His site-specific performance took place overlooking the Fisk Generating Station in Chicago, and included microwave ovens and micro-watt transmission to a sound system made of radio receivers. Thus the work was site-specific to both the transmission ecology of urban Chicago and the field effects of the electrical grid, mixing material signals with a speculative approach as to what the cumulative effects of living in this built environment characterized by centralized power could be. In Roos’ work, radio space contextualized and revealed the real–though naturalized and often invisible–relationships between people, things, and systems, where a microwave oven gestured at both danger and musicality.

Anna Friz  (read the full article here)


Electrosmog is concerned with themes of electromagnetism and material processes which sonify inaudible events. Using an electrosmog high frequency receiver, Roos captures sounds produced by mobile phones, wireless phones, wifi, microwaves, and other electronic devices (between 800 MHz – 2.5 GHz). Important to Roos’ electrosmog is that wifi operates on the same frequency as a microwave oven (2.4GHz), and when modulated into audible frequencies, wifi sounds like pops and clicks and a microwave creates a deep drone.

The inclusion of the Fisk Generating Station as a site-specific element in electrosmog speaks to the emergence of site-specific sound and radio art. In acknowledging the spaces that Roos creates within, he uses them as an aural palette of sorts. Our everyday lives consist of mixing and creating sound collage and microscopic sound sculptures — largely because sound is constantly entering and vibrating our bodies. With the addition of wifi and other inaudible high frequencies, we are also being confronted by another world of frequencies.

Will the electrosmog created by our North American obsession with wireless devices be looked at in the same way we turn our noses at burning coal and the coal smog that once filled our cities to create power? Roos’ electrosmog explores what the electrosmog equivalent would be to the shutting down of the Fisk Generating Station. Conversely, the work ponders whether we are, in fact, heading down a road that sees an increase in coal power plants and a disregard for all forms of smog. Would this be a place where inaudible radiating pops and clicks of information float in and out of fog as thick as pea soup?