Invisible Airs, Database Security Access, Council Building, Bristol, UK

bnr#44 => Invisible Airs, Database Security Access, Council Building, Bristol, UK

Invisible Airs, Database, Expenditure, Power


It is possible too that the technological has its own set of imaginings. And I want to introduce three of them here, that of databases, pneumatics or compressed air, and the idea of the contraption, the unruly exuberant machine of experiment. Databases move through us, allowing new forms of power to emerge from the machine’s ability to push and process large sets of information into the gaps between knowledge and power. As databases order, compare and sort they create new views of the information they contain. New perspectives amplify, speed-up and restructure particular forms of power as they supersede others. A database is however, not a single machine, but one that carries within its genes the echoes and residues of its former selves.

Invisible Airs


"Power, Governance and Data has been conducting a naked love dance on this island since before the Doomsday book, it's rhythms have quickened of late, multiplied and become amplified through database machines. New abstractions that order and compare the world are spawning new technologies of power out of the orgiastic revelry of a bookkeeping gone mad" YoHa


Invisible Airs is an art project by YoHa assisted by Stephen Fortune. Our work has been examining the changes in conduct bought about through the relational machine. Invisible Airs is an investigation of Power, Governance and Data informed by the expenditure database of Bristol City Council.

Requiem for Cod

Requiem for Cod:
A short film by Matthew Fuller & Graham Harwood in which a 1971 sound recording from the UK National Sound Archive of Cod breeding is played under water to young codlings entering the Thames Estuary to over winter.

see interview with Yvonne Volkart.


“Lungs” is a memorial to the 4,500 slave labourers that worked in Hall A of the former Deutschen Waffen und Munitionsfabriken A.G. during the Second World War (now the main exhibition hall of ZKM). By computing the vital lung capacity of these forced workers, the program emits their last breath of air.

Social Telephony

Social Telephony

Over the last twenty years the role of the telephone has been steadily reduced to that of an “interface” – for taking photos, bluetoothing business cards or connecting to an online service to find the nearest late night chemist. Sometimes people make phone calls. It is this rush to keep up with the latest augmentations of the mobile that has obscured the fact that the basic principle of person-to-person calling has still not reached its full potential after over 100 years. So in the first instance, social telephony is a historical project, returning to the handset, the voice, dialling and dialogue to re-imagine the phone call, to see where else it can go now that open source telephony allows us to build our own phone services.

Tantalum Memorial

Tantalum Memorial

Harwood, Wright, Yokokoji, 2008

Electromagnetic telephone exchange connected to contemporary telephony network

Tantalum Memorial is a series of telephony-based memorials to the more than 4 million people who have perished in the complex wars that have gone on in the Congo since 1998, often referred to as the ‘Coltan Wars’. Coltan ore is mined for the metal tantalum, an essential component of mobile phones and similar devices.




Aluminium,Beauty, incorruptibility, lightness and abundance, the metal of the future

“We have been up all night, my mates and I, beneath the hum of the microwave transmitter, electricity piped in through high-voltage aluminium conductors. Transported here by motors, alloy rims with deep polished lips, fat pipes and chrome spinners, bright as our souls. Like our machines, we are ruled by the internal glow of electric hearts. Trampling underfoot, the earth, we wear down the heels of violent Chinese pirates: Nike-faking factories slaving along the Cambodian border, we have been discussing right up to the limits of our programming and scrawling across filthy keyboards to create these demented writings.”

Coal Fired Computers

coal fired computers lungs
Showman's Engine,AV Festival, YoHa 2010

A one-hundred year old, 18-ton showman's steam engine powers a computer with 2.5 tons of coal. Black lungs inflate every time a database record of miners' lung disease is shown on the computer monitors. It feels like you've been invited into a fun fair, but one where the rides log their own accidents – a fun fair run by people who long ago became indistinct from the machines they maintain.

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