“Sky Ear”

Public space intervention and video documentation, 2003-2004

Usman Haque


Increasingly, architects who are close to digital culture understand that spatial design is no longer just about building large, inert static structures, but a practice in which “hard spaces” coexist with dynamic and fluid fields or “soft spaces”, which are invisible but define our experience of space to the same extent as cement and glass: ventilation, sounds and smells, and even alterations in the electromagnetic space. “Sky Ear”, the best known project by British artist and designer Usman Haque, is one of the first ephemeral architectural interventions that exist simultaneously in electromagnetic and urban space.
“Sky Ear” is a "cloud" formed by a thousand balloons of hellium containing sensors which respond to changes produced in the Hertzian fields that the installation encounters on its way, especially those caused by mobile telephones. When activated, the sensors provoke colour changes in the LEDs inside the spheres and illuminate them. Spectators can “phone” the cloud and listen through their earpiece to the sounds produced by natural phenomena that also affect the spectrum.