E26: Silent Night

Alexander Gross
radio waves, digital audio, cryptography, digital prints
December, 2009

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E26: Silent Night
In this piece a series of coded messages were broadcast over FM radio waves. A kit was created for viewers of this piece to decode these messages. Instead of the traditional situation where one algorithm allows someone to decode a set of messages, in this piece the broadcast messages were fixed and five different decode kits were prepared so the same message could be decoded in different ways. Different users decoding messages simultaneously would discover they had received different messages. The messages themselves were famous number sequences like digits of pi, phi, e, square root of 2, and the Fibonacci sequence.

The following is an excerpt of the audio that was broadcast.

E26: Silent Night by GreyVagabond

This piece is inspired by the phenomena of "Numbers Stations". Numbers Stations are clandestine short wave radio broadcasts used by spy agencies around the world from the cold war to the present day. In installation at the University of Maine 2009 "Class Acts" exhibition viewer were provided with a hand crank radio and a variety of prepared decryption kits were hidden throughout the space. Both standard and premium decryption kits were made available.

The following is an example of one of the standard decryption kits