siren


installation view

Meteorologists forecast weather events by monitoring water vapor in certain atmospheric spectra bands. In the global climate crisis, forecasting extreme weather has become a matter of life and death.

In March 2019, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctioned off the 24 GHz spectrum band for 5G telecommunications. The auction process, called "Spectrum Frontiers," collected nearly $2 billion in bids.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) warn that use of the 24GHz spectrum for 5G will significantly reduce the quality of the water vapor monitoring transmissions used for hurricane track forecasts. Acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs testified before congress that the 5G usage limits set around the 24 GHz spectrum “would degrade the forecast skill by up to 30%…This would result in the reduction of hurricane track forecasts’ lead time by roughly two to three days.”

siren (2020) mixes radio frequencies from spectra sold in "Spectrum Frontiers" with historical recordings of hurricane sirens from the Civil Defense Museum audio archives and projects them through a hurricane siren.

Made possible with support from the Boston Center for the Arts.


chart: National Communication and Information Administration