Domestic Weather

“Can this cold weather possibly be caused by the wireless waves which, I understand, travel at 186,000 miles per second? You see, if the ether waves travel at such a prodigious speed through the air, they surely must create quite a stir and a draught, especially as I understand that they pass through, and not round the house.”

(from Technical Talks To ‘Listeners’, Popular Wireless, Jan 5th, 1924)

Domestic Weather is a parallel exploration of radio transmissions as carriers of meteorological data and the effects of weather on the propagation of radio signals.

Through a series of interviews ham radio operators describe the positive and negative effects that atmospheric conditions have on their broadcasts. Their voices are interwoven with examples of meteorological information conveyed through radio such as weather, shipping and aviation forecasts and transmissions intercepted from Radiosondes – small weather probes that are sent into the atmosphere by balloon. Interspersed throughout the programme are a number of ‘Domestic Weather’ experiments that recreate classic Foley sound effects for weather using only household items. Further to this, taking household appliances as an analogy for a variety of weather conditions, real audio recordings of weather were micro-broadcast to small radios inside or in the vicinity of these devices with the resulting duet recorded – for example, the sound of a tornado coming from inside a tumble dryer, heavy rain in the shower or howling winds alongside a hairdryer – thus drawing attention to the micro-climate of our own domestic environment.

‘Domestic Weather’ was commissioned as part of Wave Farm’s Climactic Climate series produced in association with Kunstradio and was premiered on ORF1 (Austria) on 31st May, 2015. It has since been aired on Wave Farm WGXC (USA), Resonance 104.4FM (London) and Radiophrenia 87.9FM (Glasgow).