Mobile installation. 2005.

The Warbike turns WiFi networks into music as you ride through them on the streets.

In 2003, when this project was conceived, WiFi was new. It wasn’t ubiquitous, like right now you’re probably occupying several networks owned by different people. Back then, it was an invisible punctuation and activity to city streets. Little beacons of identity.

In 2003, WiFi hardware was sold unlocked by default. Setting up a network didn’t mean that it stopped at your front door or your front lawn, but all of your information spilled into the streets in a strange blending of public and private space. If you didn’t know to lock the network, you were sharing with your neighbourhood: your e-mail, bank passwords, credit card numbers, love letters, and bizarre surfing habits. These things are still passing through your body, though now we know to protect our information.

The Warbike turned this wireless network activity into sound. As the rider cycled the streets, they would hear the activity of this invisible communications layer that permeated our public spaces. Who knew that so much was going on?

Interview with Nora Young on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Spark, aired  October 10, 2007. It’s the first piece of the programme.