The technical systems we use everyday such as Wi-Fi, 4G and GPS are invisible networks that physically permeate our environment. They are omnipresent and ever more important to our lives yet, uncannily, we can neither touch nor sense them. This seems dangerous given that what we cannot see, we cannot critically evaluate. Over the last ten years I’ve been working to make the invisible infrastructures of our digital world tangible. The “Immaterials” project gathered a bunch of creative people together to attempt to visualize these invisible phenomena. This work, Light Painting WiFi (2011), uses a sensor and a strip of lights to indicate the strength of Wi-Fi signal. When combined with a static camera and long- exposures, this visualizes the strength of Wi-Fi signal through space as a series of luminous tracks of painted light. These images help us to better understand the experience of such technologies in our cities and homes.
Timo Arnall, based in London and Oslo, is working as a filmmaker and designer on the development, understanding and visualization of new technologies.