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Electric Forests

When we walk in a wood, between the streets of the city at night or on hot summer afternoons, it happens to perceive an idea of ​​suspension: we believe that everything around us is static, silent. In these moments, the small sounds of the environment reveal themselves to our ears: they are subtle sounds that, under different conditions, would be engulfed by the hustle and bustle.

Our daily life is made up of a stratification of sound signals; some of them overwhelm our perception of the soundscape, devouring and burying the smallest sounds. Others – such as the voice of electricity – travel on frequencies that our ear, by its very nature, cannot hear.

Throughout the modern era, starting with the appearance of public lighting, we have dotted our cities with electrical and electronic devices that emit – constantly and involuntarily – a myriad of pulses, buzzes, sizzles and hisses. Even though we can’t hear them with the naked ear, these sounds go through us all the time. In a sense, we can say that we live in electric forests whose branches vibrate continuously – albeit unheard: traffic lights, street lamps, underground cables, communication networks, anti-theft devices … everything pulsates in silence and this parallel life, if opportunely amplified, it has a wonderful breath.

Electric Forests was created to bring the spectacular charm of this parallel life to people’s ears. It is an exploratory walk, a precious moment to get to know another layer of the reality in which we live. Electric Forests is inspired by the Electrical Walks of Christina Kubisch, a pioneer of electromagnetic induction music. In the 1980s, Kubisch began to develop special headphones to be able to listen to the sounds of electromagnetic fields and electrical disturbances in cities.

The devices we use during our electromagnetic walks differentiate our exploration from that of Kubisch: in fact we use some models of Ether, the anti-radio created by SOMA LAB, a forge dedicated to the creation of musical devices for experimentation and a fundamental partner of this exploratory proposal.

Equipped with two antennas and an electronic section, Ether receives what a normal radio considers a disturbance or a source of pollution: it transmits the electromagnetic landscape created by man, making our discoveries possible. Thanks to Ether you will be able to listen to the signals transmitted to the antennas, to the alarms, the whistle of the current, the harmonic tones and the rhythms of the distributors, the rhombus of the control units, the fantasies of the traffic lights and the daring compositions of the windows….

To participate in one of the electromagnetic walks proposed by L’Impero della Luce, no previous knowledge is required: curiosity, love for listening and for sound are required. Before starting our explorations, we will help you get comfortable with some simple exercises to enhance and improve your listening condition.

We will then put on the headphones – remember to bring them with you !, we will insert the mini-jack connector into the Ether device and we will head to discover the hidden sound of the city. Prepare your ears for wonder: after the walk – lasting a total of 1 hour – you will truly have a new conception of reality!

Some comments collected from the participants of Electric Forests:

Incredible. I had no idea everything could sound like this !! Marco. M.
At first I thought there was only loud noise, I didn’t like it. Then, when I heard the sound of the traffic light, I changed my mind! This is really electronic music! Giulia V.

Follow our Instagram profile @imperodellaluce #LIDLelectricforests, find out where and when we will organize the next electromagnetic walk.

Do you organize festivals or events? Would you like to welcome in your city or offer your audience a session of our Electric Forests?

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