Date: February 27, 2019
Title: Ghosts in the Air Glow: Ionospheric Audio and Image mixing with HAARP
Medium: Transmission Art (artwork made about or with the electromagnetic spectrum)
Funded by: Canada Council for the Arts
Artist: Amanda Dawn Christie
Organization: UAF-HAARP: the University of Alaska Fairbanks High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, Gakona AK
Ghosts in the Air Glow is an ionospheric transmission art project using the HAARP Ionospheric Research Instrument to play with the liminal boundaries of outer space. Pairing air glow experiments in the ionosphere—false auroras creating soft, glowing spots in the sky—with Slow Scan Television (SSTV) images, audio and image signals articulated by artist Amanda Dawn Christie will be received and decoded via Software Defined Radio (SDR) equipment by amateur radio operators around the world, and streamed live online for audiences who do not have the equipment or expertise for reception. Viewing and listening gatherings will be organized in various cities, where audiences can experience the transmissions collectively.
Transmission tests will take place in spring of 2019, with final transmissions to take place in 2020. Ghosts in the Air Glow is being created with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.
HAARP is a phased array of 180 HF crossed-dipole antennas spread over 33 acres of land in Alaska. The site was built in the 1990s and was a jointly managed program of the United States Air Force and the United States Navy. Responsibility for the HAARP facilities and equipment formally transferred from the military to UAF in 2015, the goal of the research at HAARP is to conduct fundamental study of the physical processes at work in the very highest portions of our atmosphere, called the thermosphere and ionosphere. For more information on HAARP, see https://www.gi.alaska.edu/facilities/haarp.
Since 2015, the bulk of the research experiments conducted at HAARP are in plasma physics. However, there is a great deal of potential for research in radio propagation. Very few experiments have been done with transmitting audio and still images.
Amanda Dawn Christie is an interdisciplinary artist working in film, video, performance, photography, and electroacoustic sound design. Her performances, installations, and films have been presented internationally. Concepts and themes explored in her work focus primarily on the relationship between the human body and analogue technology in a digital age. She spent the last decade working on various projects related to shortwave radio and the RCI (Radio Canada International) shortwave transmission site. These include Spectres of Shortwave—a two hour experimental documentary film as well as several accompanying gallery installations, sculptures, and photo series —and Requiem for Radio—a one hour interdisciplinary performance comprised of five parts, including interactive instrument design, international shortwave simulcasts, and theatrical performance. Both Spectres of Shortwave and Requiem for Radio were created with the support of Arts NB and the Canada Council for the Arts. She currently lives in Montréal where she works as an Assistant Professor of Intermedia (Video, Performance, and Electronics) in Concordia University’s department of Studio Arts. Ghosts in the Air Glow is funded with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.