Aerial consists of a shortwave radio station, emitting a spoken number sequence that potentially can be received worldwide – a number station. The message that I’m sending is encoded and potentially waits to be decoded by those who receive it.

 

Aerial – Installation view

Aerial – Installation view

 

During the heights of the cold war a medium existed, called »number station«. (Lately prominently featured in the TV series “The Americans” S1E8). It was basically a radio station, usually on short wave, that would emit a sequence of spoken or automated numbers or letters. Number stations were based in many countries to serve their agents worldwide. Secret service agents were able to tune in and write down the number sequences und decode them against a code table, which only they would know. Since a number station was one-directional it was next to impossible to trace the receivers. Over the years a community of radio amateurs has formed fascinated by number stations: Where is their origin, what do they transmit, can anybody crack the code. (C.f. The Conet Project, http://www.irdial.com/conet.htm)

Nowadays fewer and fewer number stations exist. On a meta-level it is the Internet, the born child of the cold war, that brought number stations into oblivion. Since less and less number stations are active, I’m trying to preserve this special cold war technology and install a permanent number station.

A Contribution to the Monument to Cold War History.

 

Aerial – Installation view

Aerial – Installation view

Aerial – Shortwave Transmitter

Aerial – Shortwave Transmitter