infra: eyes have ears

Photo by: Boris Shershenkov

Sound installation

One of the features of Russian communication environment is the widespread use of wire broadcasting, which appeared in 1925 and for a long time was the singular format of the radio. Due to the specific of the state policy of strict control over spreading information, by the 1980s it not only did not give way to wireless radio and television, but, on the contrary, it received maximum audience coverage.

Initially, wire radio sockets were installed mainly in dwelling houses, but then they began to be installed everywhere, including shops, schools, kindergartens, institutes, hospitals and so on under the guise of using them for mass notification for the civil defense. The wide spreading of wire radio receivers and their presence in almost all public spaces led to the appearance of myths of total eavesdropping by government through the radio speakers, whose membranes could indeed be used as microphones, and these myths were never approved or disproved.

Technological progress then replace the myths about total eavesdropping by myths about total surveillance through CCTV cameras that have long become part of the common urban landscape.

The installation combines the developments within the “infra” project and modern technologies and based on the work of the “Videovox” device, which is the three-channel radio receiver, that converts the signal from the CCTV camera to the sound. “Videovox” installed in darkened room lit only by means of a source of infrared radiation, which reacts to the sound in the room like people conversations and steps. Thus, the installation space is enclosed surveillance system that collects information about conversations, movements and location of visitors and encodes it in sound.

07.05.2018 - 02.06.2018
A.S. Popov Central Museum of Communications, St. Petersburg
“Private Life of Radio Frequencies” exhibition