Hertzian Landscapes (2019) is a live visualization of the radio spectrum. Unlike visible light, waves in the radio spectrum cannot be perceived by us directly yet this space is teeming with human activity. Hertzian Landscapes employs a digital receiver to scan large swaths of radio spectrum in near real-time and visualizes thousands of signals into a panoramic electromagnetic landscape. Users can zoom in to specific frequencies by positioning themselves in front of the panorama as if controlling a radio tuner with their body, giving them a sense of walking through the spectrum.
From radio broadcasts to weather satellites and from medical implants to aeronautical navigation, the radio spectrum is divided into hundreds of designated slices each tied to a specific application. Based on a localized frequency database that describes these slices, signals are annotated to provide information about their theoretical type and application.
The installation consists of a HackRF SDR receiver that continuously scans the spectrum between 0 and 1 GHz. The signals are translated into a panoramic visualisation of amplitude over time (with frequencies along the horizontal axis and the passing of time along the vertical axis). The signals are annotated based on a localized spectrum allocation table. By comparing signals to the allocation data an assumption can be made about what a signal could be.
Three Realsense depth sensors capture the position of multiple people in front of the panorama allowing uesers to zoom in to parts of the spectrum by moving in front of the visualisation. Moving from left to right sets the frequency while moving closer to the panorama widens the view.
Hertzian Landscapes is supported by the Dutch Institute for Sound and Image and the Creative Industries Fund