Swimming in a Sea of Invisible Waves

What would the world look like if we could see the information that moves invisibly around us via wifi, cellular, and satellite?
Picture of Swimming in a Sea of Invisible Waves

Swimming in a Sea of Invisible Waves is a multimodal project – part art, part science communication, part public engagement – that seeks to understand, demystify, and create designs to visualize the various radio frequency technologies (including wifi, cellular, bluetooth, and satellite) that provide the scaffolding for 21st century information and communication technologies.

The invisibility of technology infrastructures are varied: some are invisible because they are literally out of sight—server farms, submarine cables, and under- or over-ground wiring; this project focuses on those that are invisible because their signals are in the form of radio waves outside of the visible spectrum (the pulsing of bluetooth, the cellular connection via triangulated towers, the wireless signal to a wired router).

This project will focus on the massive amounts of information moving invisibly around us, and supporting our daily lives, our economy, our tech development big and small, and essential to life in the 21st century, while largely either ignored or misunderstood. The project, led by metaLAB principal Sarah Newman, incorporates elements of STS, design, speculative fiction, physics, media theory, and will take shape through varied outputs including web, print, interactive essays, and more.