As human beings we have always been interested in electricity. Since it was first showcased by scientists in the 1800’s people have been fascinated by seeing the power of this elemental force. People flocked to Victorian ‘public spectacles’ and today we still use Michael Faraday’s many discoveries in our everyday lives.
The Faraday Cage, named after the man himself, has many uses, ranging from surrounding the microwave in your kitchen, to helping protect cars and planes from lightening strikes. Even the Brexit Secretary’s briefcase is a Faraday Cage,
keeping sensitive information from prying ears and eyes.
Artist Garry Hunter is using Faraday’s principles to contain and ‘sculpt’ sonic inputs, within an egg-shaped cage, creating electrical arcs from an coil upcycled from reclaimed elements including a particle accelerator and a plastic drainpipe.
Hunter has been interested in Faraday for some time and now this 5-year project has finally come to fruition. Working with engineers at FAB LAB RUC at Roskilde University, Denmark, he has created this Faraday Cage sonic interface, and will be working with Danish musician Bo Thorning to demonstrate it.
Hunter has had an artist’s studio at Trinity Buoy Wharf for six years and the place has special significance for this project. Faraday had his laboratories on the site and the remaining Experimental Lighthouse is where he tested his lamps and filters. The Cage will be demonstrating much more modern uses – a visual output of electronic music and Hunter will be looking at how the electricity reacts to various sonic interferences, using this to create ‘sparked signatures’ as outputs of dialects, languages and accents – a visual electro-lexicon.
This year is the 150th Anniversary of Faraday’s death, and his birthday falls on the 22nd September.