Timo Arnall

Light Painting with WiFi.

I love that Google and Babble fish translate web pages for you, but I really wish I had learned more foreign languages in school, because the source for this post was at times lost in translation.

This is what is going on here, I think.

This project by Timo Arnall, Jørn Knutsen and Einar Martinussen was designed to explore the invisible radio frequencies of ground level WiFi networks in urban spaces. The team created an image with light painting by mapping signal strength signal in time-exposure photographs. Using tall rods/antennas each containing 80 points of light, they were able to reveal a cross-section of WiFi networks present in the urban environment. The whole process was carried out using a  photographic technical called “light-painting”.

This was originally done for the 2009 film `Immaterials: the Ghost in the invisible Field’ which probed the edges of the radio fields that surround RFID readers and tags in the world. It also began as a series of investigations into what Matt Jones richly summarised ace `Immaterials’.

While the team was mapping out tiny RFID fields, they wondered what it would Be like to apply their light painting process to larger-scale radio fields given off by Bluetooth, WiFi, GSM and 3G. What they ended up building was a huge architectural light painting apparatus that could map out and city-scale Wifi networks.

We built a series of WiFi measuring rods/antenna,  each containing 80 lights that respond to the Received Signal Strength (RSSI)for a particular open WiFi network.The antenna arrays were set up in urban environments and shot with time exposure techniques to reveal signal strength, and Wifi fluctuation. The cross-sections represent a year of WiFi signal strength, and graph RSSI fields across physical space. The result is an abstract image and video.