Performance and video, 2004

Erich Berger


Any electronic device that is switched on (a mobile, a laptop, a GPS receiver) generates constant electromagnetic emissions, even if it is on standby. British designers Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby called this "The Secret Life of Electronic Objects", the perception that the activity of electronic technology is not transparent or subject to the way it is used by consumers; below the friendly interfaces hide autonomous processes with their own dynamics.
“Tempest” is based on a spy program that uses the “Van Eck Phreaking” technique, in which the radio waves that are emitted by all monitors and can be tuned using a simple transistor are used to reconstruct everything that appears on a computer screen. Following a long tradition of subverting military technologies for creative purposes, Erich Berger creates an audiovisual piece in which the relationship between images and sounds is precisely determined by the electromagnetic emissions produced by the monitor. The graphics that appear on the screen in “Tempest” produce waves which, when captured using various radios tuned to different AM frequencies, become the sharp and vibrant sounds that go along with the images.