Electrical Walks
2004 —

Electromagnetic Investigations in the City
Work in Progress

This electricalwalks.org website is the latest development of the electromagnetic sound world discovered by the German sound artist Christina Kubisch. Initiated through conversations between Kubisch and the artistic director of the Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music festival, this website was launched at the opening of 2019 Ultima Festival 2019. With the support of the Goethe-Institut and the Norwegian Arts Council, the electricalwalks.org website has been developed by the Ultima Festival and Christina Kubisch in collaboration with the Berlin webdesign company A & B ants and butterflies.

Since the end of the 1970s, Christina Kubisch has worked with electromagnetic induction, which she developed from a basic technique to an individual artistic tool. In 2003 she started a new series of these works in public space: Electrical Walks. Electrical Walks is a work in progress: a public walk with special, sensitive wireless headphones by which the acoustic qualities of above-ground and subterranean electromagnetic fields become amplified and audible.
The transmission of sound is made by built-in coils which respond to the electromagnetic waves in our environment. The palette of these noises, their timbre and volume, vary from site to site and from country to country. They have one thing in common: they are found everywhere, even in places you would not expect. Lighting systems, wireless communications, radar, anti-theft security devices, surveillance cameras, cellphones, computers, tram cables, antennae, navigation systems, ATMs, Wi-Fi routers, neon signs, public transportation networks, etc, all generate electrical fields – hidden as if under cloaks of invisibility, but with incredible presence.

The sounds are much more varied and musical than you might expect. There are complex layers of high and low frequencies, loops of rhythmic sequences, groups of tiny signals, complex layers of pitches, long drones and many elements which change constantly and are hard to describe. Some sounds are much alike all over the world. Others are specific to a city or country and cannot be found anywhere else.
To go on an Electrical Walk is to an enter into a special kind of investigation. With the magnetic headphones and a map of the environs, with possible routes and especially interesting electrical fields marked, visitors can set off alone or in a group. The perception of everyday reality changes while you’re listening to the electromagnetic fields; the everyday appears in a different context. Nothing looks the way it sounds. And nothing sounds the way it looks.

List of Electrical Walks 2004 – 2019
  1. Köln 20.8.2004
    Festival „Klangraum-Raumklang“ Kunsthochschule für Medien
  2. Oxford 30.4.2005
    Festival VENT Ovada Gallery
  3. Berlin 5.6.2005
    Ausstellung „Prolog“ Akademie der Künste
  4. Karlsruhe 9.10.2005
    Ausstellung „Resonanzen“ ZKM
  5. Bremen 11.9.2005
    Bremen Stadt der Wissenschaften 2005 Neues Museum Weserburg / Galerie zum Steinernen Kreuz
  6. London 18.12.2005
    Festival „Her Noise“ Goethe Institut
  7. Haarlem 9.4.2006
    Festival „toon“ 7
  8. Birmingham 1.10.2006
    IKON Gallery
  9. London 27.8.2006
    Ausstellung Exhibition Road „motiroti/priceless“
  10. Riga 29.9.2006
    Festival „Skanu Mezs“ Goethe Institut
  11. New York 14.10.2006
    Ausstellung „Invisible Geographies“ The Kitchen
  12. Oldenburg 15.4.2007
    Ausstellung „Sound//Bytes“, Edith-Ruß-Haus für Medienkunst
  13. Kortrijk 30.9.2007
    Festival Happy Ears
  14. Chicago 20.11.2007
    Outer Ear Festival/Goethe Institut
  15. Krakau 25.11.2007
    Festival Audio Art/Goethe Institut Bunkier Sztuki
  16. Huddersfield 25.11.2007
    Huddersfield Music Festival
  17. Mexico City 16.4. — 20.5.2008
    Festival Sonic Clouds Laboratorio de Arte Alameda
  18. Bremen seit 14.8.2008
    Kunsthalle Bremen / art museum of Bremen Sammlung/permanent collection
  19. Montreal 20.9.2008
    OBORO/Goethe Institut
  20. Quebec 20.9.2008 Festival Mois Multi/ Meduse
  21. Poitiers 26.10.2008
    Ville de Poitier permanent walk
  22. Darmstadt 18.3.2009
    INMM/ Akademie für Tonkunst
  23. Mailand 12.5.2009
    Palazzo della Triennale Festival InContemporanea
  24. Kopenhagen 19.9.2009
    Wundergrund Festival/Goethe Institut
  25. Leeds 29.9.2009
    Expo Festival
  26. Recklinghausen 6.6.2010
    Kunsthalle Recklinghausen/RUHR2010
  27. Gelsenkirchen 6.6.2010
    Kunstmuseum Geksenkirchen/ RUHR.2010
  28. Dorsten 6.6.2010
    Jüdisches Museum/ RUHR.2010
  29. Marl 6.6.2010
    Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten/ RUHR 2010 permanent walk
  30. Oberhausen 6.6.2010
    RUHR. Visitorcenter/ RUHR 2010
  31. Linz 7.9.2010
    Ars Electronica Linz Tabakfabrik
  32. Porto 7.9.2010
    Museo de Serralves Trama Festival/
  33. Utrecht 21.10.2010
    Impakt Festival
  34. Tallinn 25.9.2011
    KUMU, Museum of Modern Art
  35. Turku 23.6.2011
    Festival “Turku is listening” music library permanent walk
  36. Nancy 21.7.2011
    Goethe Institut Nancy
  37. Dortmund 15.1.2012
    Museum am Ostwall im “U” Dortmund permanent walk
  38. Krems an der Donau 16.10.2011
    Festival Kontraste
  39. Köln Festival Visual Sounds
  40. HongKong 30.4. 2012
    Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre
  41. Basel 11.11.2012
    Ausstellung Sensing Places Haus für Elektronische Künste permanent walk
  42. Kosice 23.9.2012
    Sound City Days project of Košice 2013 — European Capital of Culture
  43. Aarhus 4.10.2012
    DIEM, Danish Royal Academy of Music
  44. Athen 16.2.2013
    Hertz festival/Goethe Institut Athen
  45. Kortrijk 5.5.2013
    Festival van Flaanderen Kortrijk festival and permanent walk
  46. Moskau 8.6.2013
    SA)) sound artist festival und Goethe Institut
  47. Bruxelles 30.6.2013
    Tuned City Brussels
    Botanical Garden/Jardin Botanique
  48. Montpellier 22.6.2014
    La Panacée, Centre de culture contemporaine
  49. Oxford 28.2.2014
    Audiograft Festival Brookes University
  50. Danzig 29. 6.2014
    Sound Play Festival Gdansk Laznia Centre for Contemporary Arts
  51. Wien 13.12. 2014
    real deal, festival für postspekulative kultur Kulturzentrum WUK
  52. Hamburg 20.6.2015
    blurred edges, Festival für aktuelle Musik Hamburg Hanseplatte
  53. Reykjavik 27.9.2015
    Cycle Festival Museum Gerdasafn Kópavogur
  54. Wien 13.10.2015
    Transducing the city electromagnetic topographies Ausstellungszentrum Heiligenkreuzerhof / Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien
  55. Aix-en-Provence 21.11.2015
    Mobile Audio Fest Ecole supérieure d’Art
  56. Berlin 29.5.2016
    DEMO:POLIS – Dezentrale Musik Akademie der Künste Berlin
  57. Bangkok 3.9.2016
    BACC — Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
  58. Lagos 24.6.2016
    LAGOS LIVE Festival Goethe Institut Nigeria
  59. Basel ab Sommer 2016 neue Route im Gelände Dreispitz Haus für Elektronische Künste, Basel (permanente Sammlung)
  60. Ystad 13.11.2016
    Trekking in Time Ystads Konstmuseum
  61. Vancouver 9.9. 2016
    Festival Destroy Vancouver VIVO Media Arts
  62. Manchester 11. 3. 2017
    Cut&Splice festival
  63. Athen 26. 5.2017
    documenta 14, listening space
  64. Bordeaux 1.7.2017
    Festival Sound &The City
  65. San Francisco 1.1.2018
    Soundtracks, SFMOMA
  66. Ekaterinburg 12.11.2017
    Ural Industrial Biennal of Contemporary Art
  67. Münster 28. April 2018
  68. Lausanne 2.5.2018
    Vision Creation New Sound ECAL, Renens
  69. Brno 16. Juni 2018
    Festival Exposition of New Music
  70. Berlin 16.9. 2018
    Berlinzulage, Künstlerhaus Bethanien
  71. Rome 15.11.2018
    Mappe sonore, Kunstraum Goethe, Goethe Institut
  72. Shanghai 9.12.2018
    UNArt Center, Pudong
  73. Saarbrücken 12.5.2019
    Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken
  74. Amsterdam 3.3. 2019
    Sonic Arts Festival
  75. Frankfurt 14.7.2019
    Historisches Museum Frankfurt
  76. New York 21. 8.2019
    Time Spans Festival
  77. Oslo 13.9.2019
    Ultima Festival
  78. Paris 12.12.2019
    Gaité lyrique

Guided Walks during Workshops or Special Events:

Zürich, Universität der Künste, university building and surroundings, workshop
Helsinki, Sibelius Hall and City center

Osaka, Grand Front Osaka buildings and central station,
Tokyo, ICC, inside exhibition centre
Stein am Rhein, walk in the city and along the Rhine

Berlin, during Ars Electronica in Berlin, walk in the area of Friedrichstraße

Aschaffenburg, presentation of the CD with Annea Lockwood, organized by “Hörsaal”
Berlin, workshop at “Sound Studies”, University of Arts Berlin Berlin, city centre

Berlin, workshop “Sound Studies”, University of Arts Berlin, area Warschauer Straße

The commission for the Virtual Walks Oslo and the electricalwalks.org website is supported by the Goethe-Institut and the Arts Council Norway