Ear cleaning is the practice of gaining awareness of the state of a soundscape by temporarily plugging the ears before listening. During these ear cleaning tours, artist Carmen Papalia leads a group of participants who are wearing earplugs to a number of noticeably different acoustic environments. Tour participants only remove their earplugs once they have reached a scheduled destination—at which point they will be lead through focused listening exercises.
The world’s largest photography museum is coming to Marrakesh: the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Art.
Numbers stations are mysterious shortwave radio channels of indiscernible origin that exist in countries all across the world and have been reported since World War 1. They are identifiable by the unusual contents of their broadcasts: seemingly random sequences of numbers, words, letters, tunes, and Morse code, usually spoken by artificially generated voices of women and children.
The most common theory regarding the purpose of these bizarre stations is that they’re used by governments the world over to secretly transmit encrypted commands and messages to spies. That said, even though numbers stations have been discovered all over the globe and in any number of different languages, no government has ever officially acknowledged their existence. While the espionage theory is a logical one, with no official confirmation of their purpose the jury is still out.
One particularly odd station, UVB-76, has existed since the late 1970s and has broadcast a simple, repetitive buzzing tone 24 hours a day ever since. On very rare occasions, however, listeners have reported a Russian voice interrupting the buzz to read out sequences of numbers and words, always in a consistent format — this happened once in 1997, once in 2002, once in 2006, 56 times in 2010, and 14 in 2011. As with all numbers stations, its true purpose is and will probably remain unknown, but the increase in frequency of whatever it’s doing is certainly odd.
You can listen to well over 100 recordings of numbers stations for free on archive.org but be forewarned that they’re all kind of, well, eerie. They feel like something you shouldn’t be listening to, which stands to reason since apparently you’re not supposed to know they exist.
Open Authority Example #10
Rijksstudio, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- Website: Rijksstudio
- Press: “Masterworks for One and All,” New York Times
- Awards: Best of the Web, Museums and the Web
"We’re a public institution, and so the art and objects we have are, in a way, everyone’s property." - Taco Dibbits, Director of Collections
Can you believe I hadn’t posted this as an Open Authority example yet? Better late than never! The fantastic New York Times article linked above prompted me to ensure its inclusion on this list. I also had the opportunity to hear the Rijksmuseum’s presentation on the successes of Rijksstudio at Museums and the Web this spring. While the project certainly is an impressive undertaking, what’s most impressive is the vision behind it—an unapologetic commitment to openness and remix-ability that few museums are bold enough to truly implement. Things are looking up, though; the three Best of the Web wins bode well for future Rijksstudio-esque projects.
Historic homes face unique challenges as compared to art or natural history museums. I enjoyed reading about the ways the Sandy Spring Museum is changing their storytelling to make it more relevant and interesting to today’s visitors.