John Wild

Photo of two people listening to electromagnetic signals

Invisible Geography Drift

Invisible Geographies is a performance event that uses radiofrequency (RF) receivers connected to portable audio amplifiers. The RF receivers make the transmission of wireless communications infrastructures, such as mobile phones, wi-fi and Bluetooth, audible to participants exploring the City.

The first East London Invisible Geographies drift was carried out on Saturday 15 April 2015. Five people participated in the drift. It started outside Limehouse Sailors’ Mission and walked to the Robin Hood Gardens estate, where field recordings were made of the estate’s electromagnetic communications. The Robin Hood Gardens drift was organised in collaboration with CODED GEOMETRY.

The second drift took place on 12 April 2019 as a performance presentation at ‘Approaching Estate: Methodologies for Practices of Site and Place’, held at the Furtherfield Commons gallery space in Finsbury Park. The event was organised by the Sensingsite research group based at Central St. Martins.

Two types of RF receivers were used. The first devices were commercial A-com broad spectrum RF detectors, tuned to receive transmissions within the 50MHz-6000MHz spectrum, licensed in the UK for mobile phones, wi-fi and Bluetooth. The second type was an RF antenna I constructed myself, based on the open-source heptagonal magnetic antenna developed by LOM instruments. My design built on the original by adding a pre-amp to the antenna.