Retrobroadcasting the Future of Warfare – Julian Oliver’s Crystal Line

Commissioned by UK arts orgs The Cutting Room and Phoenix to mark the centenary of the First World War, The Crystal Line is the latest work by critical engineer and media artist Julian Oliver. Re-creating an authentic (often improvised) crystal radio design that was used widely during WWI, the device broadcasts a transmission of military news and ‘future of warfare’ chatter culled from various defence blogs that is translated from text to speech. Initiating a bit of a temporal loop, an encounter with the radio curiously juxtaposes the crucial moment that the ‘zone of control’ in warfighting extended into the electromagnetic spectrum with military R&D’s ceaseless march forward.

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