Georhythmic Drift Music is a work-in-progress, PhD dissertation in intermedia art, writing & performance at the university of colorado-boulder. The project focuses on the intersections between deep listening research with VLF [very low frequency] radio emissions, unmanned aerial vehicles, and impromptu listening stations. Running experiments with aerial technology as both a courier system and an “acoustic prosthetic” goes against the grain of current art practices and privileges the use of drones to capture the auditory potential of the atmosphere with the aid of extended antennas.
Employing a combination of FM broadcast and digital live-streaming platforms, Ruehlen trafficks re-tuned and pitched readings of VLF radio weather across the airwaves using D.I.Y. devices. These long range compositions are performed simultaneously in two different locations. At once, the artist transmits from a geographically remote region, while an audience gathers in urban parking lots, tuning in communally through their car radios to sounds otherwise inaudible on an electromagnetic grid infrastructure.
VLF lie between 3—30 kHz, which begin to fall below the audible range of the human ear. In the early and mid 20th century, VLF was used for naval telemetry, navigation and sending signals at great distances, as the waves are relatively massive and reflect off of the ionosphere allowing information to pass across the globe. Since then, VLF has been used to study electromagnetic disturbances in the atmosphere, microwave background radiation (cosmic background noise), and more practically to solve technological disruptions that occur from events such as lighting. VLF is often referred to by radio-hobbyists and scientists as “natural radio” because it acts as a conduit, apprehending and translating weather phenomenon.
Contemporarily, government ran VLF has become obsolete, replaced by more reliable GPS technologies, and most of the monolithic towers constructed around the planet are now defunct. However, there are still experiences to be discovered with VLF technology, both as an aesthetic application and research tool.
Visit the full project website HERE