Jasmine Guffond created an application for android devices that sonifies wireless WI-FI and GPS networks, providing a sonic presence to phenomena that usually lies beyond human perception. Intersecting with the social, technological and political convergences within modern society, a society on the move – one walks through the city intercepting these wireless global infrastructures, the sonification of which, creates a compositional mapping within our everyday environments.
The first half of the title, Anywhere, all the time – was lifted from the NSA Treasure Map document, leaked from the Snowden archive. It outlines the NSA’s mission to build a near real-time interactive map of the global internet that will “Map the entire internet – Any device, anywhere, all the time” via the installation of traceroute generators in “unwitting” data centres around the globe. Portable smart devices, by the very characteristics that determine their success, also make them particularly suitable as surveillance devices. Wi-fi technology, cell phone towers and locative media provide specific geo-reference to material territories so that it becomes possible to quite literally ‘follow the actor’.
The second half of the title, a permanent soundtrack to your life – is a reference to the musical structure of the work and the ever-present nature of wireless networks. John Cage’s dictum that “music is permanent; only listening is intermittent” (1982) can be applied to the listening of ever-present ubiquitous information networks, a ceaseless production of sonic matter that proceeds and exceeds individual listeners.
Sound, like WI-FI and GPS data transmissions, functions as omnipresent waves, and the sonification of these imperceptible networks explores a ‘music’ with no fixed linear direction. By providing a sonic presence to digital surveillance & communication infrastructure, the listener is able to access their personal soundtrack anywhere, all the time. By providing a direct sensory experience of data through sound I’m interested in how it feels to live in a culture where our public space is mediated by technological infrastructure that simultaneously empowers via communication and compromises via the potential of surveillance. Do our smart devices operate primarily as bridges or walls?