interactive electromagnetic sound installation

The Hyperthermia/Morphoiki installation is a musical instrument with electroluminescent strings emitting globular electromagnetic waves in a pattern of accelerated solar storm sequences. In an aria of high-frequency sound, the strings sing a cosmic song of noise, reminiscent of tiny but mighty sun spicules in the chromosphere. Electromagnetic waves are the language of the universe. The stars sing them. Only scattered planets with atmospheres whisper music using sound. The installation connects the longing for sun, warmth, and comfort with the exhaustion and waste of energy on the rocky planet. In all its beauty, the night side of the electrified Earth glows with fiery sparks, reminiscent of golden dust from the sun. However, civilization does not listen to the Prometheans of today’s age, who propose stealing the Sun by imitating nuclear fusion and providing an energy source that will have a less detrimental impact on our fragile climate. Civilization has contracted hyperthermia because it steals the sun from ancient plants that once trapped it for their growth; instead of listening to the Sun. The interactive installation teaches us how to synchronise ourselves with the poetics and physics of our singing star.

Announcement: @Experimance Festival 2024, Saarbrücken (DE), 12–14 July 2024
Solo show: @Osmo/za, Ljubljana (SI), 19–26 January 2024

The term ‘Morpho-iki’ comprises the suffix for morphology, signifying knowledge about the structure and shape of organisms, and ‘-iki,’ a term from Japanese Shintoism that denotes everything that is alive. Xenofeminism perceives electronic devices as part of living nature, and the installation depicts the changing/living nature of that which is also alive/electric. As we navigate the room with sensors to detect electromagnetic waves, we unveil a virtual sound environment. The five-channel sound distribution, which we traverse holophonically with electromagnetic sensors on our fingertips, provides an ambisonic movement of sound through the channels.

The instrument shows the energy flow with accelerating electrical currents in a continuous surge of energy production and consumption. Listening to the electromagnetic field reveals the spirit (kami) of communication transmissions that constitute a giant organism, robust and dark with the anomaly of climate change. Electromagnetic smog deposits its immaterial dust particles on the coils, triggering crackling sparks; EM wind blows and hums, howling and whistling; EM pulsations generate rhythms and textures. The installation is caught between the marvel of this magical spectrum and a critical examination of electrical virtuality, which has a direct impact on terraforming. Simultaneously, it exposes the vulnerability of the electrical organism to solar storms, which could disrupt the flow of energy creation and exhaustion.

Photos of the installation by Miha Godec

Photos of the performance by Miha Godec

Concept and realisation: Ida Hiršenfelder (beepblip)
Programming and electronics: Dmitry Morozov ::Vtol::
Video and photography: Miha Godec
Technical support: Valter Udovičić
Laser cutting advisor: Jakob Grčman (Rampa Lab)
Sound support: Luka Bernetič
Co-organiser: Osmo/za (Projekt Atol and Ljudmila)

Special thanks: Robertina Šebjanič, Uroš Veber, Tina Dolinšek, Rea Vogrinčič, Luka Frelih, Anže Zorman, William White, Gaja Mežnarič, Tilen Sepič, Ji Youn Kang, Petra Kapš, Stefan Doepner, Janez Grošelj
Attribution: The system of electromagnetic detectors is based on open-source schematics, published by Jonáša Gruske (CC NC-BY-SA). The composition was developed at Institute for Sonology, konCon, The Hague (NL).
Support: Ministry of Culture, Republic of Slovenia

Press: Ingrid Mager, Zvočna instalacija: Vse tisto, kar je živo, Dnevnik, 19 January 2024 [PDF]

PureData patch by Dmitry Morozov ::Vtol

Photo of test setup by Robertina Šebjanič

The installation is a spatial upgrade of the sound album Termofilija / Morfoiki (2023) and the wave synthesis composition Morfoiki (2022-23), composed in the holophone reproduction technique in a multi-channel system with virtual sound sources and exact location in space. Both pieces are entirely based on the sound of electromagnetic waves. The technical solution for translating electromagnetic waves into sound is based on the Tentacles for Electromagnetic Field (2021-23) workshop produced by konS ≡ Platform for Contemporary Research Art (Rampa Lab). Hyperthermia / Morphoiki (2023) is a series of artistic research in audio properties of electromagnetic radiation such as Tentacles for EMF compilation (2024), Anthropic Frequencies composition (2020), AMonFM composition (2017) ), or AMonFM / Underground Acceleration EP and concert (2017).