Sky Ear is a project of the previously featured artist and architect Usman Haque.
Electromagnetic waves exist just about everywhere in our atmosphere. Urban locations in particular produce a veritable cacophony with mobile phone calls overlapping text messages, combining television broadcasts with garage door openers that interfere with radio transmissions and wireless laptops, etc. While humans slowly begin to be concerned about the health effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMF), these waves also exist as natural phenomena in the form of radio waves emanating from distant stars or even as electrical waves from inside our own skulls. Electromagnetic space, also called hertzian space by industrial design theorist Anthony Dunne, is physical and non-virtual: it consists of a ghostly poetic ecology that exists just beyond our familiar perceptual limits.
Usman Haque's project Sky Ear is a spatial investigation of these phenomena. By his installation Usman Haque makes the invisible visible and reflects on how the new mobile technologies have raised the awareness of the electromagnetic environment that has always enveloped us.
Sky Ear is a carbon-fibre "cloud", consisting of 37 circles, embedded with one thousand glowing helium balloons and several dozen mobile phones. The balloons contain miniature sensor circuits that respond to electromagnetic fields and cause colored LEDs to illuminate. The balloons communicate with each other via infra-red, which allows them to create large patterns across the entire Sky Ear cloud. The 30m cloud glows and flickers brightly as it floats across the sky.
The interactive installation invites visitors to call into the cloud using their mobile phones in order to change the local hertzian topography. Feedback within the sensor network will create ripples of light reminiscent of rumbling thunder and flashes of lightning. People may find that they are in the process collaborating with others to create patterns of light activity across the surface of the cloud. In 2004, the Japan Media Arts Festival awarded Haque the Excellence Prize in the Art category for this project.
Sky Ear shows both, how a natural invisible electromagnetism pervades our environment and it reveals how we all become participants in a hertzian performance.
To see more go to www.haque.co.uk © Copyright