Electromagnetic Field Recordings: Fabric/Fragment of An Urban Wilderness

Performance documentation and electromagnetic field recording, audio program on cassette tape (r/t ~40 m) (2013)

“According to City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., the city does not have a complete record of where cellular antennas are in the city. In fact, they have no idea how many antennas there are in the city.” ~ Gothamist, 2010.


Fabric/Fragment of An Urban Wilderness is a sound work and an investigation of the built environment, produced by giving voice to the city’s thickly layered range of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) projected by cell phone base stations.

In 2012, I started the project, “Toward a North Brooklyn Wilderness Corridor,” to document endangered urban wilderness in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where I have lived off and on since 2002.  “Fabric/Fragment of An Urban Wilderness,” is made up of four tracks, each corresponding to a specific site within the 1.5 square-mile neighborhood, and runs for approximately 40 minutes.

Electromagnetic fields form an invisible backdrop to our daily lives, and offer an inaudible soundtrack to our technologized selves.  Emanating from all electronic devices – from the common fluorescent fixture, to traffic signal controls, plasma screens, or the towers beaming raw data to the cell phones in our pockets – the signals are invisible, the devices are easily overlooked, but the fields themselves are everywhere.  By giving voice to their presence in public space, we might define the limits of a type infrastructure, or of the city itself.

Excerpt: