Inspired by the aeolian harp—a “nature instrument” once thought to give voice to the metaphysical aether—Aeolian WiFi is another experiment that sonifies the electromagnetic weather propagating within the built environment. It consists of two tuned antennas and an “all-band receiver” that feed signal into a Max patch, which performs three separate filtering operations, isolating very narrow bands that correspond to different frequencies and devices. The amplitudes of these are measured within the patch and sent to an Arduino, which uses them to toggle the gates of three hardware square-wave generators. These generators drive the coils beneath the three strings of the harp, producing sustained or rhythmic tones depending on the nature of the electromagnetic activity in the air.
Aeolian WiFi is still a working prototype. Eventually, it will be refined and expanded to comprise multiple instruments installed within an architectural space, thus creating a dispersed and immersive sound environment.