Maxwell City

A workshop proposing an artistic investigation into electromagnetic substance within the city of Oslo and its surroundings.



Workshop Tuesday 29th of May – Saturday 2nd of June

 2007
Atelier Nord

In 1864 the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell presented a set of mathematical equations to the Royal Society. These equations which are now known as Maxwell’s equations describe the behaviour of electric and magnetic fields and their interaction with matter – Electromagnetism. Maxwell showed that his equations predict waves of oscillating electric and magnetic fields that travel through empty space, so called electromagnetic radiation or electromagnetic waves.

Almost 150 years later, the practical applications of Maxwell’s mathematics are deeply and indispensable entwined with our everyday lives. Radio, Television, Mobile phones or wireless networks, all are based on wireless data and information transmission utilizing electromagnetic radiation as a medium. On the other hand every wire, cable and electrical device produces electromagnetic fields during operation. The electromagnetic spectrum which is the range of all possible electromagnetic radiation is a hotly fought over private, commercial and political territory.

Every city with its uncountable electric facilities, devices, senders and receivers has an unknown and invisible man-made twin, the Maxwell City. It is an alien kind of architecture and landscape composed out of the electromagnetic emissions of its substantial sibling.

The project Maxwell City is an artistic investigation into electromagnetic substance within the city of Oslo. The workshop will be 5 days with about 10 participants and 2 workshop leaders and guests. Public lectures will also be held during the workshop.

The workshop:

 The project undertakes artistic investigations into an invisible part of Oslo. Naturally these investigations will happen in the city itself, including possible originating artworks or interventions. Short lectures, presentations and discussions within the group will provide the workshops with the necessary theoretical and practical background.

Topics for investigation will include: theory and praxis of electromagnetic waves, electromagnetic waves as artistic material, the city as public and private space, artistic strategies in the urban environment, politics of technology and the electromagnetic spectrum.

During the workshop the participants will develop means to reveal formerly unknown views and sights within the city. The workshop aims to find both unknown centres of power and oases of quietness, and the means to reveal places of beauty and menace of diverse aspects, from pure aesthetic to hard core politics.