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Radio Nest(2011)
computer controlled FM transmitters, FM radio, microcontroller and MaxMSP

A lone radio perched in a tree receives transmissions from five FM transmitters nested below.

As the transmitters are powered on and off, an interwoven field of interference forms between them -- multiple information channels competing for the radio╩╝s focus.

The interference formed in the air is a multiplicity of asynchronous, decorrelated streams of gesture; a cloud of meanings, each modulating against their individual carrying frequency.

Like a semi-conscious object, the consumer FM receiver tries to demodulate the received signals to make sense of them, following patterns of continuity, attempting to trace the contour of the radio wave to reconstruct the transmitted content.

Thus, immersed in a web of interference, the radio's analog field of awareness shifts in focal plane, adapting and adjusting between inter-modulating layers of information, which tilt and slip across each other in stochastically composed time fragments.

Depending on the strength and characteristics of the sound material being transmitted, the interference forms various patterns of frequency flanging, rhythmic flutterings, and harmonic distortions of the transmission content.

Cars, birds, leaves, trains, and fog horns merge in the air with the radio broadcast as well as invisible environmental frequencies radiating from cellphone towers, industrial refrigerators and the San Francisco Bay Area jazz station KCSM 91.1 kHz FM.

Produced with support by the ExiTrip, free103point9 Transmission Arts project.

Photos and recording taken at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies - University of California, Berkeley - May 2011.

   
radio receiving computer controlled FM transmitters nested in tree   computer controlled FM radio transceiver