2014: Radius-electrosmog

Site Specific sound for Radius, Chicago

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?