Everyday we rely on and believe in a great deal of things even though we can't see them. Atoms, magnetism, radio waves and Wi-Fi are just a few of the things we can't see but it doesn't mean they aren't there. Artist and architect Peter Jellitsch understands our angst about understanding the unknown, and his latest work gives us a physical model of what Wi-Fi looks like.
His work, called Bleecker Street Documents interprets the Wi-Fi signals he found in his Bleecker Street apartment during a 45-day stay.
He used a radio-wave measuring device several times a day and took detailed notes of his findings. He ended up with hundreds of data points to begin the translation. Jellitsch then started with a flat white plane and charted the data points over time, based on signal strength.
So, on days where the signal was strong, he raised the point representing that day and time; when it was low, it remained flat. Over the 45 days he ended up with not only a chronological representation of how the Wi-Fi behaved, but also a 3D view as the points and lines rose and fell.
He created the final model by milling it on a CNC machine and mounting it on a shipping pallet. The final result? From a side view it looks like a funky topographical map; from above it looks like something has been hidden by a cloaking device.
The pallet, combined with the notes Jellitsch took while measuring the data, and even an explanation of signals is included in the overall exhibit.
Jellitsch's choice of a translating a medium we can't see is his core interest and where he sees the most possibilities. He told BITE Magazine:
"For me, it is no longer necessary for architects to think in measurements such as meter, kilometer, or decibel anymore. Kilowatt, hertz, and terabyte are the emerging dimensions for our environment today."