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Numbers Stations (Project Proposal)

Numbers Stations are the embodiment of spy culture in electromagnetic space. Unlike the secrecy, encryption, and other elements of espionage the numbers stations broadcast in the open, on shortwave frequencies. What the messages mean, why they broadcast what they do and what is encoded within those broadcast is a mystery and one almost impossible to crack.

No one owns up to running the broadcasts and of course where they are meant for impossible to know, they are just thrown out into the electromagnetic spectrum to be plucked out of the air by whoever has a shortwave receiver.

Project Description
The project will develop a shortwave broadcast ‘station’ as an object, that is sculptural and opaque as to its definite origins. The station will ‘broadcast’ works from selected contributors in the same / similar wavelengths as many of the more famous numbers stations.

The station will be installed in various parts of the UK and photographed in-situ.


* Numbers Stations
* The Conet Project
* The Conet Project – Internet Archive

A theoretical brief for ‘how not to die’ (Project Proposal)

Note: This is a theoretical brief for students, it has not been commissioned or asked to be developed but is just a way for me to get down some questions that I would like design students to examine.

Brief: How Not To Die

The Hexayurt, designed by Vinay Gupta, is a simple shelter that can be built using available materials quickly and easily. It was designed in response to the Sustainable Settlements Charette in 2002.

Project Proposals:
Communications: How to communicate how to build a hexayurt. How to quickly build a shelter and how to maintain and evolve it as it is lived in.

Industrial Design: Evolve the hexayurt.

Systems Design: Camp processes, design a system to help manage refugee camps and support those people who have to live there.

Background Reading:

Much of the work by Vinay Gupta is about this, the hexayurt, the primary axis for the brief was invented by Gupta and released into the commons.

electromagnetic noise

Working on Palindrone has opened up a whole new area of research and experimentation in playing with and listening to sound. I have been reading ‘The The Field – The Art of Field Recording‘ by Cathy Lane & Angus Carlyle as it is working with these found, recorded sounds (from the field) that currently interests me.

To work alongside Palindrone I am thinking about sound and landscape, especially the English Pastoral landscape and the sounds of light aircraft, the thrum of the distant yet always near motorways in the UK. When developing Palindrone I was thinking about the sound of light aircraft flying over head whilst on a pleasant walk in the English countryside, as well as harking back to the now Military-Pastoral sound of the Spitfire or Hurricane flying overhead in the south of England. Almost romantic notions of sound, technology and landscape.

There is another sound that pervades these landscapes though, we won’t hear it as we walk through the grass, but the sounds in the electromagnetic spectrum are saturated with noise of the modern and this is also the space for much of the modern Military Industrial Complex, with its Signal Intelligence.

Electrical currents generate magnetic fields, which have sonic properties. You can pick these up with a ‘telephone pickup coil‘. This will pick up all sorts of sounds.

This is the sound of my laptop:

As an experiment I am going to make some recordings of urban, suburban and rural landscapes using this basic set up, just to hear what is there.

Palindrone – The sound of drones

Palindrone is about sound.

We spent a bit of time looking for existing recordings of drones to use as a basis for the work, originally I found this recording:

Posted by user Rosa Schiano, who, according to their YouTube profile is an Italian activist and photoreporter. The video was taken during the Israeli military operation “Pillar of Cloud”, which took place 14th through 21st November 2012. (This in the YouTube description for the video, is how Rosa refers to the operation, searching wikipedia returns this entry for “Operation Pillar of Defense” [] for which the Hebrew literally translates to “Pillar of Cloud”).

This operation is the first where there was no significant IDF presence on the ground in Gaza, the operation conducted through the use of air power, ostensibly through the use of drones.

When describing the project idea to Cathal, this was the sound that I used to illustrate what I was initially thinking of.

Further research led Cathal to find these samples that have been put online by Rana Baker and Rowaid El-Madhoun. It was these samples that formed the basis of the ‘drone’ that we installed at Lighthouse for v1.0 of Palindrone.

Rana Baker

Rowaid El-Madhoun

Again, these samples are from Gaza. The reports on drone use that helped to inspire the creation of the piece were reporting on their use in Yeman and Pakistan. In my searches online I have not found any significant online recordings of drone use in these regions though I am sure there are good reasons for this.

Of course, the affect these machines have is the same, the sound creating an omnious terrorizing atmosphere and whilst the report that I initially read was based on the situation in Yeman, further online research has uncovered similar reports from Gaza.

We have tried to contact both people but are yet to hear back from them, hence one reason for writing this post was to creat something to point at explaining what we are trying to do and how we are currently using their samples.

We have started to experiment with creating our own sound, artificially, as well as trying to create some field recordings of light aircraft. We do not want to use the samples we have found in further public installation without having spoken with the originators of the recordings.

How we continue to shape the sound of the piece depends on a lot of things, but if either Rana or Rowaid want to get in touch then they can email me at and I will be happy to talk to them further about what we are trying to do with Palindrone.

UnParty Update

The Unparty

We held another UnParty meet up, this time hosted by Hub Westminster.

One of the outcomes of this evenings meeting was a better structure on what the UnParty is, and where it sits in relation to a number of other projects that are currently underway.

Firstly, we have the crowd sourced manifesto. This project is being led by James Smith (@floppy). Using GitHub as a place to collect, discuss and present an openly sourced set of manifesto policies.

Next we have Democracy Club. At the last election Democracy Club was started and built some tools to try and help people better engage with the whole election process. It started too close to the election, so now, the project is being re-invigorated by Sym Roe (@symroe) and is starting again now with more time ahead of the election. Democracy is about tools, things that can be built to help people to engage better with the existing system. Non-partisan.

Finally we have UnParty, UnParty is a way of framing discussion about politics, participation outside of the traditional party model.

Now for the sketch part, an idea on what the UnParty can be to help take things forward.

What the UnParty can also be, is a way for independants standing in elections to have the support of a cohort.

If you stand in an election at any level, you agree to take part in the discussion openly with everyone else. Sharing of ideas and openess to listen to others who take part. We dont expect you to sign up to the manifesto, policy for policy, though you should contribute to the discussion and if your stance on an issue or policy idea is different, then you should be willing and able to back it up with why you feel you need to take a different tack.

The UnParty cannot punish you for this, for the UnParty has no whips, no structure for discipline within an organisation since it is not that.

What it is, is an agreement and a conversation. Politics and policy will change, the issues change, the facts on the ground often change. New information comes to light, old tenants are disproved by new evidence.

There is nothing to stop anyone just using the OpenPolitics manifesto, nor in fact taking part in all but name of the UnParty, but it is there if you want it.

It feels somewhat odd to deliberately try to create something which isn’t anything beyond and ackowledgment but that is what I feel is the best way forward. The rigid party structures are not what is needed now. The ability to reach into a problem, past ideology and look at the evidence, discuss and shape, making sure its clear on ability (its not good promising to fix something that you can’t at the level of office you hold, that is just disengenuous).

So, we will announce the next UnParty meetup shortly and hopefully we will also be able to tell you about a meetup for people interested in building tools with the Democracy Club.

Emotional Infrastructure Atlas

This is currently the holding text for the introduction:

This atlas allows you to annotate and note your emotional interactions with the urban fabric.

When thinking about the infrastructure think of:






So the next step in the prototype is to develop the necessary text to support the journey though creating the atlas.

I also need to add text about the use of Open Street Maps in the atlas.


A picture may often be worth a thousand words, but behind each picture is at least a story of a thousand words or more.

1:1000 is an occasional event where we invite one or two image makers to come and talk about one of their pictures.

To create a coherent narrative about the picture, its origin, its creation and its life afterwards can be quite a piece of work, so we will carefully select and support the image makers asked to take part.

If you are interested in attending the first 1:1000, in London then please sign up here, and we will get in touch with you once we have a date and location firmed up. Your support at this stage will help 1:1000 happen.


the UnParty UnConference meet @ Hub Westminster, March 2014

We are holding another meeting, to discuss ideas around policy, politics, activism and everything related whilst leaving our party politics at the door.

Hub Westminster have offered us the Library space at their venue, for March 19th 2014 from 1800 – 2130, so if you are interested in coming along then please add your name to the attending page.

If you are interested in holding your own UnParty UnConference meeting then please go ahead, but drop us a line and let us know how it went and what ideas where discussed.

Take Part!