Installed at The Audacious Festival, Christchurch, NZ (October 23-25th, 2015)


Hidden behind walls, in underground tunnels, and kept outside and out of sight, the ambient hum of the contemporary city grid operates in the same way, sustained by an “abysmal fracture” of the capitalist occult”. -- Douglas Kahn, Earth Sound Earth Signal

Stray Signals was a site-specific installation work that employed a electromagnetic receiver to transduce the electromagnetic environment of the Christchurch CBD into the audible acoustic range. I spent a number of days using a portable receiver to investigate the cities electromagnetic environment, often interacting with the public and allowing them to use the device to listen to the electromagnetic signals in the surrounding environment. The resulting recordings were edited into a soundscape composition which was played back via hidden loudspeakers at the installation site on the corner of High and Lichfield streets. The volume level of the recordings was set so that the electromagnetic signals intermingled with the sites typically audible sound environment. In such a way the normally imperceptible electromagnetic frequencies were bought closer to the threshold perception without being explicitly foregrounded. While the work was installed passersby may or may not hear the transduced signals that constitute the composition as they walk past, depending on various environmental and subjective factors.