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Cold War LegaciesSystems, Theory, Aesthetics$
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John Beck and Ryan Bishop

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474409483

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474409483.001.0001

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Impulsive Synchronisation: A Conversation on Military Technologies and Audiovisual Arts

Impulsive Synchronisation: A Conversation on Military Technologies and Audiovisual Arts

(p.70) Chapter 3 Impulsive Synchronisation: A Conversation on Military Technologies and Audiovisual Arts
Cold War Legacies

Aura Satz

Jussi Parikka

Edinburgh University Press

Stemming from their common interest in media archeology and the idea of the air as a medium of encrypted signals, Satz and Parikka explore the themes emerging from Satz's film installation 'Impulsive Synchronisation' (2013). Satz has used various technologies as the subject of her work, including the Chladni plate, mechanical music, phonograph grooves and optical sound, looking at how such objects tap into ideas of knowledge and communication in their use of notation systems, languages or codes. Satz is also interested in bringing to the fore key female figures largely excluded from mainstream historical discourse in an ongoing engagement with the question of women’s contributions to labour, technology and scientific knowledge. The starting point for ‘Impulsive Synchronisation’ was a 'Secret Communication System' patented during World War II by Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr and American composer George Antheil. This invention of 'frequency hopping', designed to protect radio-controlled torpedoes from enemy disruption by distributing the signal over many frequencies and synchronising the transmitter and receiver in rapidly changing patterns, has become the basis for today's spread-spectrum technology. In Satz’s work, these technologies are referenced to explore visual, musical and data notation, as well as its encryption, synchronisation and decipherment.

Keywords:   synchronisation, frequency hopping, technology, Hedy Lamarr, George Antheil, Media archaeology

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