Electromagnetic induction is based on the sounds resulting from the mutual interaction of magnetic fields. Audio artist Christina Kubisch developed magnetic headphones with magnetic coils that respond to electrical fields in the environment.
At first she tried to filter the hum of the electrical wires out of the headphones. But the increase and spread of "unwanted" electrically-produced sounds inspired Electrical Walks. With special, sensitive headphones, the acoustic perceptibility of aboveground and underground electrical currents is thereby amplified.
The palette of these noises, their timbre and volume vary from site to site. They are ubiquitous. Light systems, transformers, anti-theft security devices, surveillance cameras, cell phones, computers, elevators, antennae, navigation systems, automated teller machines, neon advertising, etc. create electrical fields that are otherwise undetectable.
With the headphones and a map of the area, upon which the especially interesting electrical fields are marked, the visitor can set off for a special kind of stroll in cities. The perception of everyday reality changes when one listens to the electrical fields; what is accustomed appears in a different context. Nothing looks the way it sounds. And nothing sounds the way it looks.
Electric Walks is part of Her Noise, an exhibition featuring 5 installations by artists who use sound as a medium to investigate social relations, inspire action or uncover hidden soundscapes, at the South London Gallery, 10|11|2005 - 18|12|2005.
See also the interview of Christina Kubisch in Audiohyperspace.
Related: aetherspace, Electroprobes, the Amazing All-Band Radio, etc.