Exhibited in the Network Architecture Lab’s Detachment Show at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania. Perkūnas [the Lithuanian name for (the God of) Thunder] is a large structure built of ventilation ducts. A ventilation fan, installed outside the room, passes air through the duct, producing noise.
A microprocessor monitors the space for active Wifi-enabled electronic gadgets and controls the amount of air and noise produced by the duct. If there are no gadgets present, the duct makes little or no sound. With a couple of gadgets, it will make a louder sound. The more gadgets, the more sound. A ten minute video showing Perkūnas in operation can be found on Vimeo.
Our ability to communicate verbally is directly affected by our need to communicate with our gadgets. If we leave our gadgets behind or turn them off, Perkūnas will stay quiet, although it also reacts to the electromagnetic weather produced by stray signals in other parts of the museum and the street outside.
No matter that this exhibit is entirely about technology, this is not a work of new media. There are no screens to look at, there is no interface to play with. Invoking the name of the Perkūnas suggests an affinity with magic; in a world of technology, we once again believe things have spirits.