Shift Coordinate Points
4 horn speakers, 4 Mayer loudspeakers, a wall drawing and spotlight
Installation for the exhibition Power Tracks,
part of Electron Festival
at the Centre d'Art Contemporain
(21 March - 20 April 2014)
Static. Seven short electronic pulses. Then – out of thin air – a woman's voice commences speaking: ‘Eins, zwo, fünf ... eins, zwo, fünf … drei, vier, fünf ...’. The incessant stream of numbers is sporadically
interrupted by a metallic melody. After 45 minutes, the transmission ends as abruptly as it started
and dissolves into the short-wave static.
To whom belong these voices, tirelessly reciting these seemingly random series of numbers and words? And for whose ears are these cryptic messages intended? The messages are irreversibly encrypted, their contents unintelligible to anyone but the corresponding receiver. Radio amateurs and fanatics who have been monitoring the phenomenon for many years are convinced that the stations are operated by intelligence and secret services worldwide, as a means of dispatching coordinates and assignments to their operatives abroad.
In 1997, British maverick label Irdial-Discs released a selection of numbers stations recordings under the title The Conet Project. The collection plays like a ‘best-of’ compilation of 30 years’ worth of secret radio and contains fragments of American, German, Swedish and Russian transmissions.
I was given permission to work with the material and created a highly personal interpretation of the medium’s secret history. The project resulted in an electronic composition, which was released on vinyl at the British label Entr'acte. I was invited by curator Vincent de Roguin and Jérôme Massard to create a reinterpretation of the electronic composition for the exhibition Power Tracks Vol. 1. Using manipulated sound and collage techniques and fascinated by the physical and spatial qualities of sound, I tried to distil an abstract poetry of sounds and extract some meaning out of these hermetic transmissions.