Frequency and Volume

Relational Architecture 9

“Frequency and Volume” (Relational Architecture 9) enables participants to tune into and listen to different radio frequencies by using their own bodies. A computerized tracking system detects participants' shadows, which are projected on a wall of the exhibition space. The shadows scan the radio waves with their presence and position, while their size controls the volume of the signal. The piece can tune into any frequency between 150 kHz and 1.5 GHz, including air traffic control, FM, AM, short wave, cellular, CB, satellite, wireless telecommunication systems and radio navigation. Up to forty-eight frequencies can be tuned simultaneously and the resulting sound environment forms a composition controlled by people's movements. This piece visualizes the radioelectric spectrum and turns the human body into an antenna. All the receiver equipment used and antennae are exhibited in an adjacent room.

The project was developed at a time when the Mexican Government was very active in shutting down informal or "pirate" radio stations in indigenous communities in the states of Chiapas and Guerrero. The question "who has access to the public space that is the radioelectric spectrum" is one that deserves attention and visualization tools not just in Mexico but also here in the developed world, where there is a remarkable assymmetry in the assignation of frequencies only to government or corporate interests to the detriment of community-building, experimental or artistic uses of the spectrum. This project was inspired by the "Manifesto for Antenna-Man" and the radio poetry experiments by the Mexican estridentista artists in the 1920s.

General info

Spanish name:
Frecuencia y Volumen
Year of creation:
Projectors, cameras, computers, radioelectric scanners, antennae, radios and 48 channel sound system
3 Editions, 1 AP
Fundació Sorigué, Singapore Art Museum and private collector



  • Direction: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
  • Programming: Conroy Badger
  • Production Assistance: Andrew Welburn, Matthew Biederman, Natalie Bouchard, Emily Bates, David Lemieux, Stephan Schulz
  • Frequency Scanning Support: Helmut Riexinger, Winradio
  • Originally commissioned by: Laboratorio Arte Alameda and curator Priamo Lozada in Mexico City in 2003