Robert Adrian
Adrian X's Radiation, produced in collaboration with Norbert Math, concentrates on shortwave radio. These wavelengths are of specific interest to the artist because of their historical ties to security and espionage agencies, national propaganda and information stations, and amateur radio operators. In Radiation, the signals from four shortwave radio receivers are fed into an amplifier and distributed to an array of loudspeakers installed within an exhibition space. Each of the radios is programmed to thirty shortwave stations. A computer program monitors the signal strength; if one becomes too weak, the next programmed channel is accessed. As many shortwave transmissions are received as bursts of coded or scrambled signal including Morse code, fax or image transmissions, and encrypted data, Radiation is informed by a sonic palette that is rich and diverse in texture and tone. Unrestricted by line-of-sight transmission as in FM broadcast, shortwave reception is often truly global in content. At any given moment, one might hear numerous languages originating from an even greater number of geographical locations. Shortwave signals are prone to distortion by atmospheric conditions, including solar winds, interference from other transmitters, and local environmental static. This unpredictability places the shortwave spectrum itself at the foreground of this living installation. Radiation premiered at the Ars Electronica Festival 98 in Linz, Austria.