drawing the invisible

Richard Vijgen’s work explores visualising the invisible world of data. He uses accurate raw data and produces arresting images that bring the science of radio waves to life and provoke questions about the data-saturated world we inhabit.

The “WIFI Impressionist” project was inspired by the paintings of William Turner. See <http://www.wifiimpressionist.com/&gt; for a movie of the drawing machine in action.

Technical Description: A 2.4 GHz Yagi Antenna is mounted on a 360° pan tilt mechanism controlled by a Raspberry Pi. The controller scans the WiFi spectrum in “observer mode”, capturing all packages it can receive regardless of the network they are on. Each device that it picks up is given a position in three dimensional space based on the horizontal and vertical angle of the antenna and the signal strength. Every packet it receives is then positioned and drawn at a position relative to its emitting source. A mobile plotter that is connected to the controller then draws the landscape in front of it based on the three dimensional model. The longer the plotter is allowed to run, to denser the image becomes.

Above: Images of the three-dimensional model

Below: Drawings

Screenshot 2020-01-28 at 09.02.39

Screenshot 2020-01-28 at 09.32.01

Rotterdam 06-01-2019

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