LAB: Maxwell City

Led by Martin Howse and Erich Berger. Artelier Nord, Oslo, NO. 2007

An artistic investigation into electromagnetic substance in Oslo and its surroundings. Based on the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell mathematical theory of oscillating electric and magnetic fields – Electromagnetism, the ‘Maxwell City’ lab investigated these EM fields as a major substrate of society through lectures, presentations, field trips and discussions whilst also directly engaging with electromagnetic waves as artistic material. We utilised ready-mades, hand-made, experimental objects and appropriated hardware to scan space for electro-magneticism in all its forms.


During the week the participants of the lab led an explorative approach to the EM environment of Oslo, from seeking in the dense city to remote and direct HF (high frequency) signals from the Tyrvaan TV Tower then sliding down the spectrum to the EL (extremely low) frequency band, connecting with Ibsen and Munch at the Memorial Cemetery. Maxwell City collated the spectral range of signals and frequencies from the EL to VH (very high) from the public domain and from private economies as the sublime, invisible and material form. To support the economies of ownership, a guest lecture by Armin Medosch also presented both the political and capital economy of the electro-magnetic as a contextual and historical time-line, embedded the talk with points on materiality, double mystifications and utopianism in the wireless era.

– Martin Howse –
– Erich Berger-
– Artelier Nord / Maxwell City-
– Armin Medosch-