Listening Space is an artistic research that was born during eTextile Spring Break 2019 between Afroditi Psarra and e-textile designer and co-founder of the Datapaulette hackerspace in Paris, Audrey Briot.

Following our previous explorations of ecologies of transmissions, and wanting to experiment with Software-Defined Radio, we setup a DIY satellite tracking station and aimed at intercepting the NOAA weather satellite audiovisual transmissions. During the course of three days, we observed five satellite passes, intercepted successfully three transmissions and decoded the audio signals into images which we later knitted in order to create a textile archive of the transmissions. This process served as a fast prototyping technique to give shape to our idea, but the limitations we had in terms of materials, time, space for observation and lack of expertise in satellite tracking were evident. Nevertheless, the idea of listening to these otherwise hidden transmissions, intercepting them using DIY means and low-cost methodologies and interpreting them through digital crafting means aligned perfectly with the idea of citizen science that both of us are trying to explore in our work.

Conceptual axis
The ecologies of transmission that comprise the Radio Spectrum, are no doubt the ultimate expression of the Antropocene, as they permit the operation of human life as we know it (telecommunications, environmental monitoring, radio astronomy, FM/AM radio etc) and shape our understanding of the planet. In this context the research project Listening Space seeks to explore satellite transmissions as raw material for artist exploration, to understand and re-imagine in poetic means, representations of audio and images broadcasted from space.

References/inspiration
https://www.ewenchardronnet.com/semaphore/acoustic_space_lab/
https://satnogs.org/
https://libre.space/

Tech
RTL-SDR software-defined radio dongle
CubicSDR software-defined radio application
Noaa-apt and WXtoImg Beta to decode the audio transmission
Brother KH-930 and SilverReed SK-840 knitting machines for data knitting

Experiments

Antenna designs
a. Sierpinski Triangle textile antenna made with copper conductive paint and vinyl cut stencil method

b. Enamelled copper wire V-dipole antenna

c. Copper tape V-dipole antenna

d. V-dipole antenna made of a coat’s hanger

e. V-dipole telescopic antenna from RTL-SDR

Successful NOAA recordings in Wassaic

Decodes
From The Wassaic Project, Amenia, NY - using the coat’s hanger V-dipole antenna. ZIP code: 12592


Noaa14_4_11_137.000_18:49


Noaa14_4_11_137.000_18:32


Noaa18_4_11_137.000_18:29


Noaa15_4_12_137.623_16:18

From Saint-André, France - using the V-dipole telescopic antenna from the RTL-SDR dongle kit. ZIP code : 66690

NOAA18_5_8_137.915_22:06

For more info on Listening Space please check: https://www.dx-softlab.com/blog/2019/5/12/listening-space-by-afroditi-psarra-amp-audrey-briot


ISWC'19 Design Exhibition, Queen Elizabeth II Center, London, UK

“Listening Space: Satellite Ikats” Proceedings of the 23rd International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC), London, UK, September 12-14, pp. 318-321.

Further development on this project is anticipated in Spring 2020, with Audrey Briot's artist residency and Eleftherios Kosmas' technologist residency in DXARTS at the University of Washington.

Check back for updates!