Collegium Helveticum
© Tim Shaw

Structural Media

Curated and art work by

Opening hours: 11:00–16:30

This is a public exhibition. Participation is free of charge and registration is not required.

Tim Shaw is exhibiting two artworks that are designed to directly engage with their surrounding infrastructures. Installed in various spaces within the Collegium Helveticum, each piece establishes a direct link to the wider world via an internet connection. The artworks operate as dynamic, ever-changing systems, influenced by the serendipitous fluctuations of global internet activity and server traffic across diverse geographical locations.

Challenging the notion of the internet as a virtual and immaterial space, these artworks approach it as a geolocated infrastructure, characterised by intricacy, the passage of time, and inherent unpredictability. Working with latency as a creative resource, these Structural Media works aim to highlight the material implications of the infrastructures that permeate our everyday lives. 

List of works

Ring Network

Bells have long been used as signalling devices to transmit messages across space. A church bell defines its parish and early telegraph designs used bell patterns to encode messages. Ring Network works with the hidden spatial qualities of network latency and investigates the relationship between acoustic and recorded sound.

In the work, three telephone bells (each almost 100 years old) are placed in the same room. As each of them ring its sound is recorded as a file to the disk of a local computer and then sent to remote servers in Sydney, Bangalore, or Singapore. The same sound file is then requested back by the local computer and the digital file returns to the exhibition space. It is then played through a speaker at the time it took to travel around the world and back.

Ring Network explores network latency as an artistic material. It plays with the idea of the internet as a physical medium, one in which geographical space informs our experience of a network. Sometimes the dynamic sound files are rejected, spat out of the system and left to hang in the ether, other times they transfer effortlessly, taking less time to travel around the world then they take to listen to.


Channel Hopping

Channel Hopping is a sound installation which scrapes audio from a variety of live web streams from the internet. A specially made system cuts, splices and processes these streams resulting in an ever-changing, generative sonic output.

Snippets of commercial radio, community stations, live weather reports, news channels, religious broadcasts, cosmic radio, underground music shows, data packets, and open microphones are collected and re-composed with using custom made software.

The output is diffused through two speakers and two DIY audio reactive lightbulbs.

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