scrying_rotterdam workshop presentation

Table of Contents


Here the vulgar eye will see nothing but Obscurity and will despair considerably

Scrying is a technique of divination and revelation, of producing visions, perhaps of the future, through prolonged gaze at an object, usually of crystal or liquid nature. Scrying was famously practiced by the 16th century astronomer, mathematician and alchemist John Dee with the assistance of presumed impostor Edward Kelley, using a mirror of obsidian amongst other devices.

primary interests

Maxwell and many worlds

methodologies of exploration: describing and investigating the world

latest pre-occupation with temporal and spatial resonance (radio astronomy)

past workshops and events

Clear line of development:

Maxwell City


how we talk about this stuff


decoding a landscape

Demons in the aether



TEMPEST: decoding that which is


modelling perception

Data Forensics [in the landscape]


parallel landscaping - overlap. bridge physical and protocol

the platform

The scrying project presents itself as a generic, modular platform for artists and theorists working with both code and electromagnetic phenomena. Of central concern is some kind of intervention within often complex spectral ecologies; for example, measurement of the strength of EM fields, transmission and reception amongst mobile networks of devices, large-scale intervention through the production of high field strength emissions, mapping of intensities and blind city flaneur.

work in gijon


Scheme intepreter

and hardware integration [GPS, ADC, DAC, 2 serials, SPI, memory access]

Scrying walk:

The scrying walk could be described as an active demonstration of the mapping of electromagnetic [EM] resonances and intensities in the centre of (old) Gijon.

The presentation, walk, and subsequent demonstration of interpretative and analytical techniques attempt to explore and map a novel twinned architecture of power lines, hidden substance, signal transmission and reception. Scrying engages mutely with the subtle interactions between physical constructions, communication technologies (wireless networks, mobile phone networks, RFID, television, radio, radar), power lines and lines of transmission, biological phenomena, and geologic properties (such as the earth's magnetic field).

Informed both by psychogeographic play (the city flaneur) and techniques of geophysical archaelogy scrying attempts to divine both a past and future (of) Gijon.

artistic uses and interests

1] code broadcast stations:

Code is modulated and broadcast by AM or FM transmitters from covert, city-wide, solar-powered scrying stations. scryers move through the city [with devices] - code runs and is modified by architectural and urban EM environmental issues.

2] LRA: Local Resonance Amplifier:

Local Resonance Amplifiers (LRA) are parasitic city devices (PCD) which amplify and dislocate wide band electromagnetic (EM) emissions or signals. Mushroomed LRA devices serve as mute witness, creating significant physical and symbolic imbalances within complex city-wide spectral ecologies: subtle interactions between physical constructions, communication technologies (wireless networks, mobile phone networks, RFID, television, radio, radar), power lines and lines of transmission, biological phenomena, and geologic properties.

3] geologic/archeologic mapping:


Re-mapping techniques/methods from the discipline of archaeological geophysics to use present EM emissions to divine the (hidden) past of an urban location.

For example: EM conductivity, Magnetometers, Ground-penetrating radar (GPR)

4] reflection of white noise signal

for architectural EIP

architecture and modules


1] CPU (Central Processing Unit) module: language-based [Scheme] interpreter, power regulation and unmediated antenna (code access)

power regulation/memory/bus connections

2] RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) module: for complex signal/data analysis in the spectral domain.

3] Spectrum analysis module: examining 2.4 GHz spectrum.

4] Computer connection module: the transceiver. Allowing less than divine USB connectivity to the CPU board.

5] Power modules: for use with a range of supply sources including regulated solar power (allowing unattended computational city installation).

6] GPS module: Global Position log for mapping scrying derives.

additional proposed:

1] Low power radio transceiver module: for mobile, mesh network play within the city

2] High power radio receiver and transmitter module: for long distance remote connection and control.

3] Random bit generation: for transmission



Hardware library and test applications

(logging, LRA, spectrum analysis)

Scheme interpreter:

with hardware integration under the following commands:

[gpsread] [returns parsed lat/long - should be recoded to return a list which we can pull apart!]

[adcread channel number]

[memwrite bank (1 of 8) address value] [returns T]

[memread bank address] [returns value]

[dacwrite value]

PC interface (minicom and GNU Emacs)

;; use also with M-x serial-term and C- C-j line mode with history

(defun serial-send-region () (interactive) (let ((tmper (buffer-substring (region-beginning) (region-end)))) (switch-to-buffer (find-file-noselect "/tmp/scrying.transfer")) (erase-buffer) (insert tmper) (save-buffer "/tmp/scrying.transfer") (start-process "scrying-upload" nil "/root/scrying/scrying/scrying.sh")))

latest modules and developments: LRA, FGM-3

Local Resonance Amplifier

FGM-3 Fluxgate magnetometer

[TODO: library support, advanced testing]



demonstration of logging, scheme and library



also use of R language…

walk around docks


gnuplot, buadline, gnuradio [USRP]



// new possibilities and building:

LRA, other modules (eg. NRF), antennas: waveguide and cardboard box, large log periodic

antenna/waveguide resources:


cantenna (waveguide antennas)


http://flakey.info/antenna/waveguide/ [with calculator for waveguide distances and so on]

[use of tetrapaks was also successfully tested in Berlin: 7cm diameter, 21.5 long means antenna is 31mm high and 69mm in from the end of the pak]


http://www.reseaucitoyen.be/wiki/index.php/Home\_made - good resource

http://www.saunalahti.fi/~elepal/antenna2.html - also with link to calculator

scrying resources

post_rotterdam // to be expanded

example code in gnuplot:

# make sure all data is tabbed and good

# C-c C-r to send region to gnuplot

set parametric
unset key
set style data line
set surface
#set contour both
#set cntrparam bspline
set dgrid3d 30,30,10
splot "/root/projects/scrying_rotterdam/19gpslog" using 1:2:3

help dgrid3d

# flat heat map

unset surface
unset contour
set view map
set pm3d at b
set dgrid3d 30,30,10
splot "/root/2310test.log" using 1:2:3

help splot

# for line style plot (a la plot3)

unset view map
set ticslevel 0
set surface
unset contour
unset pm3d
unset dgrid3d 
splot "/root/projects/scrying_rotterdam/19gpslog" using 1:2:3 with lines

Author: m <m@1010.co.uk>

Date: 2010-01-05 01:20:39 GMT

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