AV Festival 2008, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
08 March 2008
SCATTER! was created by Peljhan in collaboration with Biederman, Springer and Abrahamsberg as a continuation of research that has started with Peljhan’s earlier large collaborative performance project series, SOLAR at Ars Electronica in 1998, and the Signal-Sever! performance series, that was presented in Riga (2001), Gwangju, Ljubljana, (2002), Glasgow (2003) and Paris (2004). SCATTER! was the first performance in the series, that later developed into the SPEKTR! performance.
All performances are based on the reception of live broadcast and communications, both digital and analogue in an array of frequencies, ranging from VLF, HF, VHF, UHF, up to Ka band. A series of antennae are set up in and around the performance space, including a radar system and the imagery and sound are fed live to the performers/operators which create complex sound and visual landscapes from them. The live imagery is complemented with archival imagery that the authors have gathered with their systems throughout the years, on Makrolab missions and elsewhere, all around the world.
The SCATTER! structure is based on the filing of the U.S. Patent# 2,292,387 in a typical act of civilian-military-civilian conversion, a method often used by the SCATTER! team. The patent was granted to George Anthiel and Hedy Keisler Markey (popularly known as Hedy Lamarr – the Austrian born American actress).
The avant-garde composer, George Antheil, a son of German immigrants and a neighbor of Lamarr, is known primarily for his ‘Ballet Mechanique’ which utilized automated instruments. Together, Lamarr and Anthiel submitted the idea of a ‘Secret Communications System’ in June 1941. On the 11th of August, 1942, the patent was granted to them. The system they described was an early version of frequency hopping that used a piano roll to change between 88 frequencies with the original intent to make U.S. radio guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam.
The idea was impractical at the time however, and not feasible due to the state of mechanical technology in 1942. It was not implemented in the U.S. until 1962, when it was used by the U.S. military ships during the blockade of of Cuba, and after the patent expired. Neither Lamarr or Antheil, profited from the patent, which was little known until, in 1997 when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Lamarr and award for this contribution.
Lamarr’s and Antheil’s frequency hopping idea serves as a basis for spread spectrum communication technology used today in commonplace devices ranging from cordless telephones to WiFi internet connects and CDMA.
During SCATTER! 88 frequency zones are be mapped in real-time structured together with a 15 year archive of HF digital and analog signals, VHF, UHF and microwave transmissions that have been collected all over the globe. A special radio amateur call sign – GB8AV was established for the event for transmission purposes.
The SCATTER! team for this performance was: Aljosa Abrahamsberg (AKA Nullo), Matthew Biederman (AKA DelRay), Marko Peljhan (AKA MX) & Brian Springer. With the very special guest Glen Thompson.
Commissioned by the AV Festival 2008, with supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and in collaboration with BALTIC.
Special thanks to: David Coxson, the BALTIC Team, the AV Festival Team and the Waygood Amateur Radio Club.
Marko Peljhan is a theatre and radio director, conceptual artist and researcher. He founded and co- founded several still active arts organizations in the 90’s such as Projekt Atol and one of the first media labs in Eastern Europe LJUDMILA. From 1994 on he worked on Makrolab, a project that focuses on telecommunications, migrations and weather systems research in an intersection of art/science/engineering; the Interpolar Transnational Art Science Constellation and the Arctic Perspective Initiative. He is the recipient of many prizes for his work, including the 2001 Golden Nica Prize at Ars Electronica with Carsten Nicolai and his work has been exhibited internationally at multiple biennales (Venice, Lyon, Istanbul, Gwangju…) and festivals, at documenta, ISEA, Ars Electronica and museums and art institutions worldwide (YCAM, ICC-NT, PS.1. MOMA, GARAGE…).
He serves as professor and director of the MAT Systemics Lab at the University of California Santa Barbara, the Chair of the Media Arts and Technology program at UCSB, the coordinator of international cooperation of the SPACE-SI Slovenian Centre for Space Sciences and Technologies and editor at large of the music label rx:tx. In the radio spectrum he is known as S54MX.Marko Peljhan
Matthew Biederman has been performing, installing and exhibiting works, which explore themes of perception, media saturation, and data systems from a multiplicity of perspectives since the mid nineties. Biederman was the recipient of the Bay Area Artist Award in Video by New Langton Arts in 1999, First Place in the Visual Arts category of Slovenia’s Break21 festival. He has served as artist-in-residence at a variety of institutions and institutes, including the Center for Experimental Television on numerous occasions, CMU’s CREATE lab, the Wave Farm and many more.His works have been exhibited in the US, South America, Europe and Japan, in a variety of festivals and venues such as 7 ATA Festival Internacional (Lima), the 11th Lyon Bienniale, the 2011 Quebec Trienniale, 2014 Montreal Bienniale (Musee des Arts Contemporain), Bienniale of Digital Art (BIAN, Montreal), Artissima (Turin, IT), Moscow Biennale, Art and Alternative Visions (Tokyo) and Sonic Acts (NASA, Amsterdam) among others. As a film and video maker, his works have been included in the FILE festival (Sao Paulo), New Forms Festival (Vancouver), the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Paris/Berlin International Meetings, and the Chicago Underground Film Festival. His public works have been shown at the ZeroOne2006 Festival (San Jose US), the SCAPE Biennial in New Zealand as well as producing custom commissions. He has collaborated with musicians as a visual artist since 1999, performing at the historic Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, as well as Ars Electronica, AV Festival, Elektra, Mutek, Futuresonic, FILE and many, many more. His works are included in public, corporate and private collections in North America.Matthew Biederman
Brian Springer (born 1959) is an American documentarian and new media artist who works primarily in video, sound, and performance.
Springer spent a year searching for footage by intercepting raw network satellite television feeds not intended for public consumption. The result of his research was Spin. This 1995 feature-length documentary provides insights into how television is used by the industry and by politicians to mold and distort the American public’s view of reality. Springer produced Spin as a follow-up to Feed (1992), for which he also provided raw satellite footage.
In 2007, Springer released another documentary, The Disappointment: Or, The Force of Credulity. He earned a M.F.A. in art from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his works have been shown at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum in New York City, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and ZKM in Germany.Brian Springer