The Jersey Amateur Radio Society spend an evening sending morse code messages from farmers to fishermen and sailors out at sea. Meetings with pigeon fanciers, telecommunication experts, farmers and historians lead to experiments with potatoes. A radio lab takes place during the Jersey Boat Show.

What is the connection between farming and the electromagnetic spectrum?

Propagating, creating new plants from seeds, cuttings, bulbs, etc, is also a term used to describe how radio waves travel from one point to another, while broadcasting refers etymologically to a sowing technique, to scatter the seeds. Marthe van Dessel, an artist from Belgium who came to Jersey in April with the Futurefermers and the Seed Journey, draws parallels between radio and agriculture.

Marthe describes seeds and radio/electromagnetic frequencies as natural resources that have, over time, been privatised and regulated by commercial and political interests to become a manufactured commodity (and even scarcity). Just as nature produces seeds, birds and other animals use electromagnetic fields to navigate, while the human brain, acting as an antenna, transmits electromagnetic radiation.

While in Jersey Marthe met a range of local specialists and enthusiasts with an interest in telecommunication networks, radio technologies and analogue forms of communication, to chart technological, social and political changes in the way we are able to share information. As the waves took Marthe and the Futurefarmers on to their next destination, we look forward to some of the things that may emerge from this research; open source earthy frequencies and potato powered radio networks.

Marthe van Dessel

Marthe employs a range of tools and techniques to “develop tactics and strategies to commonise the electromagnetic spectrum and decolonise our technologies”, while conducting research into different forms of electromagnetic communication and navigation.

The commons of communication

Propogating the mind

Exploring the electromagnetic spectrum as a critical natural resource.