“Spectral ecology”continues the theme of “waves” iniciated by the previous festival. This year the focus is on electromagnetic pollution – the dense electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in the environment and its effect on human and living nature today and in years to come.

Humanity has known electromagnetic waves for a century and for more than half a century the communication technologies have developed rapidly and people have been breaking into the radio spectrum..The total density of radio frequency waves penetrating every corner of the planet (and every person on it) is now hundreds of millions of times the level reaching us naturally from the Sun. Electro-magnetic fields are biologically active which means that living beings react to them. All though researches have been conducted for many years, there is still much unknown about the effects of electromagnetic fields on human and environment.

The research on electromagnetic field has been an object of interest not only in the world of science but for the artworld too. An international artists group (Spectral Investigations Collective, RIXC, and others) in co-operation with scientists are now conducting research in this field.

In the framework of “Spectral ecology” events, “propaganda” newspaper (language – latvian) will be published, giving an insight on the research results: the data collected on electromagnetic field effect, a specific investigation on Skrunda radar (as well as Audrini radar and a NATO radar planned in area of Venspils, and others) as well as publications of most powerful EMS zone (mobile network, high voltage lines, wi-fi, militar radars, etc.) maps in Latvia.

All together “Spectral ecology” tends to “get outside the magic circle traced by science and technology” (Bureau d'études) in order to start solving the quesions in a wider tecological and sociopolitical context of technology culture.



“Half of humanity has never made a telephone call.”
Thabo Mbeki, President of the South African Republic

Artists group Bureau d'études (France) research “Electromagnetic propaganda, the statement of industrial dogma” (“Waves”, exhibition, Riga, 2006) provides the conceptual basis for “Spectral ecology”:

In the course of the 19th century, the development of the chemical industry and agrochemistry led to the understanding of living organisms as chemical machines. In the 20th century, the development of the electrical industry, then of electronics and cybernetics, is now compelling us to understand the organism as a self-regulating system of electronic control. Industry, with its technoscientific basis, appears as the legitimate expression of the way that humanity comprehends itself, and must comprehend itself, in the industrialized countries. To put that another way, industrial organization continually produces the cosmology that justifies its universal diffusion.

After the chemical (or atomic) theory of the universe, the Electric Universe Theory now reduces the totality of physical reality - galaxies, stars, planets, atoms - to electrical or electromagnetic configurations.

At the same time as they produce the world, the chemical and electrical industries have provoked the invention of ecological or health problems corresponding to their comprehension of reality. These problems exist within the (chemical or electrical) schemata that have been invented to represent them. The capacity to effectively solve the problems invented by these schemata, as explanations of the world, marks the moment in which they become absolute.

Following the incredible development of the chemical industry from the 19th to the 20th century, which gave rise to the vast parade of catastrophes whose consequences are still gradually being announced to us, the electromagnetic industry issuing from the development of electricity and telecommunications is now deeply transforming human, plant and animal societies, as well as the planet that lodges them.

Humanity has known electromagnetic waves for a century, but their massive use for technical applications only began with the Second World War. Since then, the density of electromagnetic radiation has doubled every four years, and electromagnetic pollution has been multiplied a hundredfold over the past thirty years (1). Medical and epidemiological research has accumulated over the past few decades showing the destructive effects of these fields on our organisms, affecting our health or even modifying our ways of apprehending the world (2).

These rays do not only affect humans, but also plants and animals. Today, trees and other biological systems, subjected to microwave radiation at levels hundreds of millions of times higher than those of an environment free of any technical device, have been stricken with disease.

After having been biochemical ingredients, trees have now become receiving antennas. Their roots, penetrating the earth, set off a kind of electrolysis that acidifies the soil and inhibits the activity of micro-organisms. The human body has also become an antenna: the waves spreading through the atmosphere are captured by radio and television antennas, but also by the nervous system. A radio antenna continually captures all the broadcasting stations whose radio waves cover its geographic location. The adjustable electric circuits within the device filter out all the frequencies captured by the antenna except one, which the listener hears. The nervous system captures millions of broadcasts - public, commercial and private stations, military and police communications, air traffic control, fire brigades, ham radio operators, CBs, etc. - without us being aware of it. What is more, each electrical installation or device emits waves that are captured by our brain and central nervous system.

There exists no definite border between the electromagnetic fields maintained by the body’s metabolism and those that exist in the environment. Cells are electrical systems sensitive to their electromagnetic milieus, cell membranes are capacitors. Cell tissues are traversed by alternating and direct currents... In short, in the world constituted by electromagnetic cosmology (and industry), understanding the electromagnetic field is the only way to understand ourselves and our surroundings.

Despite the efficiency and productivity of the chemical, electrical and electromagnetic explanations (like the religious explanations of an earlier era), can we really be reduced to them? In other words, what kind of subjectivity exists outside the magic circle traced by science and technology?

1. - VOLKRODT, W. 1991. Are Microwaves faced with a Fiasco similar to that experienced by Nuclear Energy? Wetter-Boden- Mensch 4/1991. Dr. Robert Becker has written that the total density of radio frequency waves penetrating every corner of the planet (and every person on it) is now 100 to 200 million times the level reaching us naturally from the Sun (Becker, R.O. & Selden, G., The Body Electric; Wm. Morrow, 1985, p.275).
2. - For example, Nancy Wertheimer, looking for possible causes of childhood leukemia in Denver, accidentally discovered that children living in houses nearest to 13kV (kilo-volt) power lines had a two or three times greater chance of contracting the disease. It eventually emerged that the key was to be found not in the voltage but rather in the current and the resultant magnetic fields (Wertheimer, N., "Electrical Wiring Configurations and Childhood Cancer": American Journal of Epidemiology, March 1979). Perry found a significant correlation between suicides and attempted suicides in his locality and the proximity of patients' homes to the underground high-tension power distribution lines (Perry, S. &, Pearly, L., "Power frequency magnetic fields and illness in multistorey blocks": Public Health, 1988, p. 102, 1 1-8). Drs. Dowson & Lewith have also showed that headaches and depression could be linked to power lines (Dowson, D, et al, "Overhead high voltage cables and recurrent headaches and depression": Practitioner, April 1988, pp. 435-6).