Few forces shape the modern world more than the internet and yet it’s an invisible presence that we just understand is there. But PhD student Luis Hernan has changed that by designing a system which scans for wireless networks and creates images where different signal strengths are represented by different coloured LED lights. The results, in essence, allow us to see the WiFi around us.
“This project came about as a design discourse on digital technologies, and the invisible infrastructure underpinning it.,” Luis says on his dedicated Digital Ethereal website. “I believe our interaction with this landscape of electromagnetic signals, described by Antony Dunne as Hertzian Space, can be characterised in the same terms as that with ghosts and spectra. They both are paradoxical entities, whose untypical substance allows them to be an invisible presence. In the same way, they undergo a process of gradual substantiation to become temporarily available to perception. Finally, they both haunt us.”
His studies blend photography, design, performance, installation art, programming and electronics to explore not only the world of invisible internet signals, but also “the cultural and social complexity imbued in the use of such technologies.”
He also has an Android app that allows users to reveal the WiFi signals around them.
Unsurprisingly Luis’ work has received a lot of attention the images have been around for a few weeks now, but there’s no doubting this is a project that richly deserves all the praise being lavished on it.