Transmission art encompasses works in which the act of transmitting or receiving is not only significant, but the fulcrum for the artist’s intention. The genre is more loosely defined as a multiplicity of practices that engage aural and visual broadcast media… From the earliest experiments with radio, to recent web-based platforms, transmission art is enlivened by technology, not beholden to it. – Galen Joseph-Hunter, Transmission Arts
From the transmissions of Earth-orbiting satellites to the terrestrial communications of police, aviation and military radio, and pirate and amateur bands, software-defined radio is a powerful means to sense channels otherwise undetected by us or our devices. In this workshop, we’ll explore the use of inexpensive USB software-defined radio dongles with free and open source software to explore—listen to, record and use—the invisible world of radio signals around us. We’ll detect the activity in the radio spectrum using different antenna and radio types for different circumstances, gaining hands-on experience discovering and recording radio frequency phenomena. We will touch on history and examples of artistic works using radio. Concepts, terms and skills learned can be then be used as the basis of independent research into using the radio spectrum as an artistic medium.