Interference is an installation by Pamela Lee Brenner and Johannes Muljana which was installed at the At The Vanishing Point gallery in Newtown as part of Phone+tics exhibition, which was part of the Head-on Photo Festival in May-June 2012. The exhibition was focused on the use of mobile phones in the creation of art, which was a great fit for the central theme of this installation, which is the role of phones and mobile devices in general in the recent social movement in the Arab countries.
The work was made up of twelve radio receivers installed on the wall of the gallery, on shelves that are similar to mantlepieces. The way the radios and shelves were installed were a reference to a domestic setting where radios might sit in a house. Through the radios, a local transmitter broadcasts a signal containing speeches from deposed leaders of some Arab countries, such as Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt. These speeches are played in a loop.
The installation also had a camera with computer vision software to sense the presence of people and detect their movement. Every time the camera picks up a visual signal it will play a sound reminiscent of when a mobile phone interferes with radio equipment or other electronic audio devices. The sound that plays implies the interference caused by people’s presence and movement to the broadcast of the official speeches by those leaders.
Here’s a video of the work as it was installed at the At The Vanishing Point gallery at 565 King Street, Newtown, NSW, Australia.