By the way


Site-specific intervention with live audio and video feeds, FM radio transmission

Site-specific intervention for La Torre de los Vientos, Mexico City. A live audio feed monitoring cars, was processed in real time to resemble gusts of wind, and this transformed sound simultaneously retransmitted as a localized FM radio broadcast using an existing station's frequency, as an alternate traffic/weather report.

La Torre de los Vientos (Tower of the Winds), a 15-metre-high conical structure by Gonzalo Fonseca, is one of a series of monumental concrete sculptures erected in Mexico City on the occasion of the 1968 Olympiad. Bounded by a major highway and on- and off-ramps, its site is marked by the rumble of passing traffic. Within the structure, which is enclosed but for small apertures in its walls and an overhead oculus, there is a certain sensory disorientation due to its blindness to the outside and its prominent echo. Inside there are five fixed concrete elements that suggest a spectatorial situation.

The project By the way recognized that the commuters passing by the structure are the most regular users of the site. Within the structure a live audio-video feed monitored the passing traffic. The audio feed was processed by an effects unit to resemble gusts of wind corresponding, in real time, to each passing car. This transformed sound was simultaneously retransmitted as a localized FM radio broadcast borrowing the frequency of an existing radio station known for its frequent traffic reports. The character of the By the way transmission varied throughout the day, as a real-time measure of the flow of vehicles. In this alternative mode of monitoring traffic, drivers passing through the area could listen to their own passage, as transformed into wind. In this city marked by congestion and pollution, the project might provide a quiet opportunity to imagine a more open space and condition for passage.

Produced with the support of the Canada-Mexico Creative Artists Exchange Program, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada and el Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes in Mexico. Special thanks to Juan Switalski, Manuel Rocha Iturbide, Cristian Manzutto, Pedro Reyes, Antonio Outón, and to the Walter Phillips Gallery (Jon Tupper and Mimmo Maiolo) and the Music and Sound Department (Rob Rapley and Mike Meurin) at the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Solo Exhibitions: Latitude 53, Journal, Sep-Oct 2000.
Solo Exhibitions: Arte in Situ / La Torre de los Vientos, by the way, Jun 2000.
Catalogues & Books: Melanie O'Brian, Germaine Koh, 2002. Read
Catalogues & Books: Laura U Marks, Germaine Koh, 2001. PDF
Reviews, Articles & Essays: Mathew Kabatoff,, 30 Jan 2001. Read
Reviews, Articles & Essays: Cuauhtémoc Medina, Reforma, 21 Jun 2000.
Reviews, Articles & Essays: Laura U Marks, Tout le temps / Every Time: Biennale de Montréal 2000, 2000. Read

Germaine Koh, By the way, 2000, site-specific intervention with live audio and video feeds, FM radio transmission. Map of transmission area.