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  • 'Impulsive Synchronisation: A Conversation on Military Technologies and Audiovisual Arts'

Satz, Aura and Parikka, Jussi, 2016, Book Section, 'Impulsive Synchronisation: A Conversation on Military Technologies and Audiovisual Arts' In: Cold War Legacies: Systems, Theory, Aesthetics. Technicities . Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 70-82. ISBN 9781474409483

Abstract or Description:

Stemming from their common interest in media archeology and the idea of the air as a medium of encrypted signals, Satz and Parikka explore the themes emerging from her film installation 'Impulsive Synchronisation', shown at the Hayward project space, London, in 2013. Satz has used various technologies as the subject of her work, including the Chladni plate, mechanical music, phonograph grooves and optical sound, looking at how such objects tap into ideas of knowledge and communication in their use of notation systems, languages or codes. Satz is also interested in bringing to the fore key female figures that are largely excluded from mainstream historical discourse in an ongoing engagement with the question of women’s contributions to labour, technology and scientific knowledge. The starting point for ‘Impulsive Synchronisation’ was a 'Secret Communication System' patented during World War II by Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr and American composer George Antheil. This invention of 'frequency hopping' was designed to protect radio-controlled torpedoes from enemy disruption by distributing the signal over many frequencies and synchronising the transmitter and receiver in rapidly changing patterns. The idea, which drew in part on Antheil's unsuccessful attempt to synchronise 16 pianolas in his 1924 avant-garde masterpiece 'Ballet Mecanique', suggested the use of 88 frequencies (the number of keys on a piano), and the use of perforated paper rolls to keep the frequency hops in sync with each other. This concept has since become the basis for today's spread-spectrum technology, widely used in wireless telephone and wi-fi technology. In Satz’s film and sound installation, these technologies were referenced to explore visual, musical and data notation, as well as its encryption, synchronisation and decipherment. The conversation covers the topics of radio frequencies, encryption, the unexpected trajectories and migrations of technological inventions, the textual/visual language of patents, and questions of synchronisation in communication technologies.

Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V140 Modern History > V146 Modern History 1920-1949
Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W190 Fine Art not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Fine Art
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2016 17:14
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2016 17:14
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/2226

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