magi*k – an interactive exhibition made in collaboration with Zeppelin Association about the history of mass media emergence in Bucharest. We begin with the art deco radio antennas and reach the contemporary era, when the city is plugged into the global network.
Today we see a diversity of antennas on rooftops in Bucharest which seem meaningless objects but they speak about the technological phenomenon with the greatest impact on society: the emergence of media culture. This history starts in the 20s when the radio appeared in Bucharest and the antennas where a symbol of an epoch-making technological advancement, proudly displayed in the art deco architecture and on modernist buildings. After the war, when radio and tv became mainstream, in Romania of the communist buildings appear makeshift antennas, crafted to access as many posts as a form of resistance to the country’s political isolation. Right after the 90s they are replaced by parabolic antennas and subsequently by cable and, today, optical fiber.
The expo-documentary highlights both the architecture and the artifacts of those times – radios and appliances, advertisements that show the domestic universe created by technology. Pointing out links between various moments in time and architecture (modernist villas, apartment blocks etc) and the visual vocabulary of antennas, we also bring forward the connection between various creative practices, form architecture to product or graphic design, and deeper cultural layers – social practices and rearrangements of domestic life.
The visual history of the city written in antennas and cables is complemented by installations that will make us experience the buzzing of the signal and of the invisible waves that carry information and changed our lives.
Lambda – the oscillation generators that make up the Lambda installation physically display the movement of the invisible electromagnetic waves. The result is a dance of trigonometric symmetries of the wave functions, explained algorithmically by Schodinger’s Equation. Viewed from different angles, the installation counts on the aesthetics of waves interfering.
RF278 is an installation based on the visualising of wave intensities. The strength of GSM, WIFI, GPS or other electromagnetic radiations released by gadgets found in the vicinity changes the pulsation of the blue LEDs found on the cursor, the blue light leaving a trail on the phosphorescent foil screen. The bigger the trail, the more intense the waves. Therefore, using your own gadgets will make for more LEDs to be turned on.
Dark Radio. Just like the dark web, with its hard to reach networks and websites, this installation displays the series of radio frequencies out of people’s regular reach (e.g. utilitarian frequencies, radio amateur frequencies, satellite frequencies, weather buoys or the impulses dictating the precision of time measuring. Viewers are invited to interact with the installation, rotating the tuner button in order to explore various frequencies, ranging from the very low ones, to FM and reaching GSM or even microwaves.
Cosmic Soup uses a series of sensors able to detect the cosmic ionizing radiation that reaches Earth by piercing through the atmosphere. The detection and visualisation are happening in real time (each signal coming from outer space, aka from the stars, is translated into a sequence of waves produced on the surface of the tinted water). This is the Universe’s way of interacting with us.
Eastalgic TV. In the beginnings of television, readjusting the antenna, in order to enhance the broadcasting experience, was a sort of a technological ritual. Not having a remote control meant that the antenna’s position (be it on top of the building or on the balcony) could offer a better of worse quality transmission. Viewers are encouraged to rotate the installation’s antenna to zap through various broadcast samples, from the first TV shows, back in the late 50’s, till the post communism years of the 1990’s.
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