“Electrosmog” Exposes Montreal’s Ambient Electromagnetic Forces

March 22, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

“Electrosmog” is what artist Jean-Pierre Aube calls the electromagnetic fields generated by the radio frequency spectrum used by telecommunication systems. Though we can’t see it, electrosmog lurks in every city — it’s essential for everyone from emergency public transportation services to you and me texting each other. Fascinated by the idea of this invisible “pollution” all around us, Aube created his “Electrosmog” series, in which he measures and visually presents ambient radiofrequencies in cities.

Aube created his audiovisual documentation of the electrosmog in Montreal using only a radio, an antenna, and a mysterious “instrument of his own creation,” Aube took a snapshot of radio frequency readings throughout the city every tenth of a second, and then paired these readings with digitally altered images of Montreal. The result is this incredibly hyperactive, slightly unnerving “documentary in sound” of the unseen hustle and bustle of contemporary urban life.