Kai Zhang-Looking Outwards-04

A 4G Network Turned into Music

Project by – Andrius Šarapovas, Technarium.

Commissioned by – Tele2.

Video by – Some Films

This is an installation that uses algorithm to turn one second of browsing on the 4G network into one second of music. The number of connections to the network in different regions of Lithuania controls the volume of the notes being played and their rhythmic distribution, while the amount of data transferred during those sessions determines the notes’ pitches.

The walk-in kinetic sound installation consists of 77 segments distributed throughout the exhibition space. Each segment has a metal bar, a sound activator, a sound damper, a resonator, and mechatronics. The distribution of the segments in space forms 4 narrow and 11 wide directions of movement. The number of segments and their positions were in part determined by the spatial and acoustic characteristics of the exhibition space. The sound range of the installation consists of 4 notes in 4 octaves where a specific note is assigned to the North, the South, the East and West of Lithuania.

What amazed me about this project is how it embraced the coldness of technology and turned it into something warm. From the sound generated, I can hear how the everlasting signals are transfered through the globe, though it’s merely taking a piece of sample from it. The tuning of algorithm and tones is rather elegant and pleasing to listen to. The listeners could also sense the richness of the patterns of data that’s been carried into this room.

Another thing to give the creator credit is their ability to deal with space. It’s a farily large space with echos. The creators took advantage of the charcteristics of it can use it as a perfect stage for the music piece. And the sound wanders around for an extended piece of time to give people a sense of tranqility. When you’re walking in the matrix of sound machines, it’s almost like you’re touching the music, and the information lies beyond that. The installation carefully used materials that matches the flow of the tones. The instrument components are exposed and showcasing its fine details and simplicity, which adds to the overall experience for the audience.


“Statistics reduces the studied object into a few, several or a dozen features. This is a paradoxical trait of statistics – investigating the variability of an object it actually produces immutable characteristics, monitoring the differences, it observes repetitions. The average, however, is not reality, but rather a color that is the result of mixed different tints. The height or weight gets summed, but the noise, the smell or shadows are lost. Statistics draw the map of reality, making it two-dimensional. The effect of music is directly contrary.”

— Andrius Šarapovas


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