15 July 2008

Echoes from the sky

Since first seeing Disinformation's photos of them in the catalogue for David Toop's 2000 Sonic Boom exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, I've always been intrigued by the sound mirrors near Dungeness, and eager to visit if an opportunity ever arises. Meanwhile, they definitely warrant a GOOGLE VISIT. More are scattered around the South-east coast of England and were built from as early as 1914 to amplify listening ability to up to 20 miles. Intended to provide early warning of an aircraft attack, they were soon superceded by faster aircraft and radar. I see there has been talk of resurrecting these and, using new technology, building a counterpart in France - was this ever done?

Portable versions were also developed, including the fearsomely named Japanese War Tuba. There are some great images of the acoustic mirrors here, and more about sound weapons on the Stalker blog here, here and here. As Stalker notes, this kind of weaponry is still quite contemporary and rather scary. But could be fun in the hands of an artist though. I'd love to see (hear) focussed sound being projected from hot air balloons. Thanks to James Pinker, who alerted us to this latest development with rather insidious implications if put in the hands of unscrupulous marketing people. At least the crap cannon has been shown to be an urban myth!

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Art from Space is an exploration of art-related phenomena that manifests in interesting ways on Google’s aerial maps. It is also an experiment in curatorial practice; collecting, presenting and contextualising items in ways that users can explore, free of curator-imposed framing and sequencing. This blog is Art from Space’s developmental musings made public, where items are introduced to the project in real time, rather than awaiting the grand unveiling of a completed exhibition. Specific locations of interest are highlighted in CAPS and linked to a map for further exploration. Visit the mother ship HERE.