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Interference as Foil to the System

Nothing is impervious to externalities, so nothing is impervious to you. A YouTube playlist

  • Aug 07 2020
  • Peter Basma-Lord
    Working across a variety of mediums including video, audio, electronic interactive works and found objects, Peter Basma-Lord creates immersive installations both physical and virtual. Their work examines the relationship between the self and the mass, the real and the fake, loss and longing; combining the incongruous and the everyday as a means of uprooting the viewer from normality, who becomes an integral part of the work themselves. Action begets action begets action and, in a system made up of systems, who, what, and why we value are up for question. Alongside a solo practice, Peter Basma-Lord also frequently works collaboratively and has been a part of ACHE, 25% Extra, Career Services, and Hill52 amongst others.

    Image: Peter Basma-Lord

I adore trash, cheap plastic objects, cracktros, single-purpose workarounds, fakes, forgeries, bump keys, and slim-jims. (1) Things either made as interference themselves or the symptoms of an imperfect world. Evidence of chaos and our humanity. We have the capacity to vibrate our way through the world, just as the world vibrates through us.

When sending an electro-magnetic wave broadcast, or any signal for that matter, the intention is to provide a clean image, sound, or data. The signal can be protected, boosted and sheltered to ensure as little outside world affects it as possible. But still, the outside world gets in. 

Parts of other signals, random noise, interference from the transmitting or receiving equipment, or other disruptive sources can come together with the original signal and combine to create the received signal. Even all the power and will in the world, the desire or intention to communicate X or enforce Y is always vulnerable to interference. However thick the shielding, some frequencies can still pass through. Nothing is impervious to externalities, so nothing is impervious to you.

The Max Headroom broadcast interrupts an episode of Doctor Who on Chicago television in the late 80s. (2)

"Drones are remote controlled. The pilots operating the drone can be thousands of kilometers away at ground control stations. The control link is the satellite transmitted datalink by which the pilot controls the plane. By jamming or intercepting the datalink, one can interfere with the drones controls. The data link is sometimes encrypted but not always." (3)

Mass-protests shutdown the streets worldwide in defiance of a policed existence and the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

A received signal contains a record of the world as it actually is.

"Whereas the export of military equipment from the US is a matter of public record, the sale and export of tear gas is not. As a result, it is only when images of tear gas canisters appear online that monitoring organizations and the public can know where they have been sold, and who is using them." (4)

Evidenced in the fuzz of a weak signal are the beginnings of the universe, along with the occasional double cheeseburger order from the unshielded wireless mic on the nearby McDonalds drive-thru.


    (1) Deviant Ollam, Elevator Hacking: From the Pit to the Penthouse (Hope X, 2014).

    (2) Max Headroom WTTW Pirating Incident - 11/22/87 (Subtitled).

    (3) Gonçalo F Cardoso & Ruben Pater, A Study Into 21st Century Drone Acoustics, (Discrepant, 2015).

    (4) Forensic Architecture, TRIPLE-CHASER, 2019.



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