Spring 2006

Electrical Walks: Samples of Raw Sounds

Christina Kubisch

In 2003, Berlin-based sound artist Christina Kubisch began an ongoing project called Electrical Walks. This project employs specially built headphones that receive electromagnetic signals from the environment and convert them into sound. Kubisch maps a given territory, noting hot spots (ATM machines, security systems, electronic cash registers, subway systems, etc.) where the signals are particularly strong or interesting. She then loans the headphones to the public, allowing participants to undertake an auditory dérive through the invisible network of electromagnetic information. To date, Kubisch has undertaken her own personal walks in Germany, England, France, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan, and the United States, and has held public walks in Berlin, Cologne, Karlsruhe, Bremen, Oxford, and London. To accompany the interview with Kubisch in Cabinet no. 21, she has provided us with thirty sound samples gathered by her while walking through various cities.


1. Light advertisement in Sendai, Japan

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2. Post office in Bremen, Germany; source unknown

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3. Subway in Taiwan, China

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4. Between two security gates at the entrance of a shop; location unknown

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5. Minicomputer at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM), Karlsruhe, Germany

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6. Bavaria, Germany; source unknown

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7. Tram in Bratislava, Slovakia

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8. Electrical transformer at a farm in Bavaria, Germany

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9. Tram in Karlsruhe, Germany

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10. Thunderstorm in Bavaria, Germany

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11. Object (magnetic field) in the Science Museum, London, England

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12. Sounds in an underground passage, London, England

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13. Security system in Oxford, England

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14. Heathrow airport, London, England

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15. Light systems in Paris, France

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16. Subway in Taipei, China

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17. Security gate in Bremen, Germany

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18. Religious service heard through an induction system in a small church in Lucerne, Switzerland

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19. Security gate, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

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20. Induction system in a church in London, England

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21. Signals at a subway station in Taipei, China

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22. Sounds in the exhibition room at the ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany

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23. Security gate; location unknown

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24. Tram in Bratislava, Slovakia

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25. Electrical flame (decorative object); location unknown

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26. Gare de l'Est, Paris, France

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27. Paris, France; source unknown

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28. WLAN, London, England

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29. Security gate in the Musée de la science, Paris, France

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30. Tower, Heathrow Airport, London, England

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(All tracks copyright Christina Kubisch)

Christina Kubisch is a Berlin-based sound artist. A pioneer of sound art installation, she is one of the most prominent European sound artists working today. Trained as a visual artist, musician, and composer, she studied painting, flute, and piano before turning to electronic music in the mid-1970s. Since 1980, she has focused on sound sculpture and sound installations that often involve ultraviolet light, solar energy, and electromagnetic induction.

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