The Green Bank space telescope. Its presence has created an environment where radio transmissions are restricted by law to facilitate scientific research.

info
×

2.4 GHz

2018 - ongoing


2.4 GHz is the frequency at which both our wifi connection and radio-waves emitted from space, travel.


In May 2019, thousands of satellites were launched into space as part of long-term plans to create a fleet that could provide connectivity to antenna receivers all over Earth, which could conceivably provide Wi-Fi to the entirety of the planet. In the Western world in 2019, few spaces remain without constant Internet access, one of them being Green Bank – a town in America with a population of 200 people, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia. It is home to the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope and lies in the heart of America’s National Quiet Zone, a large area of land in which radio transmissions are restricted by law to facilitate scientific research carried out by the telescope and its associated observatory. 


Inhabitants of Green Bank are expected to live as radio-silently as possible, avoiding operating devices that use transmissions which could cause interference with the space exploratory work; such as mobile phones, wireless headphones and microwaves. The context of Green Bank is unique – scientists travel to its remote location to partake in the quest to connect to the universe; others have moved there to escape the bombardment of technology, and the youth population is consistently thinning out; with limited connectivity making the launch of business difficult. Yet, the distinct sense of community is strong, extending to the entire county – an attribute that may be considered rare. 


The project is a case study of life in Green Bank and its neighbouring towns, exploring polarities between connection & disconnection, aloneness & togetherness. By observing the lives and experiences of individuals who live in a space without a constant Internet connection, I hope to create a platform that engenders reflection on humanity’s use of communication technologies. It also begins to question what price we pay for constant connection, and what is at stake for communities such as that of Pocahontas when it becomes their reality too.


Research for this project was partly supported by The Malta Arts Fund - Research Support Grant 2018.


Words by Ann Dingli.

Community members of Pocahontas meet to socialise and participate in a square dance at Dunmore community centre. Such activities are organised frequently throughout the month.

info
×

Chuck, an employee at the observatory, in his vehicle which monitors the strength of radiowaves in surrounding areas.

info
×

A man sits in his car and uses his phone in a carpark in Cass, Pocahontas County. A nearby restaurant is one of the only points that offers an open wifi connection.

info
×

Jennifer standing on her new front lawn. Jennifer suffers from Electromagnetic hypersensitivty and after much travelling around the US trying to escape the abundance of radiowaves from digital devices, finally settled in Green Bank, where she finds a minimal impact of such waves on her health.

info
×

Jennifer's living room windows are covered to not allow excessive light to enter the room. Light sensitivity is one of the alleged symptoms of the condition.

info
×

The Senior Centre at Green Bank is bustling on a daily basis. Due to the isolation of the place, both geographically and digitally, it is difficult for businesses to start up, and many youth to leave, causing the town to become an aging population.

info
×

Justice and Zen wait in their car. Due to the lack of technology allowing instant communication, colour and type of car become determining factors to identify the location of someone at a meeting point.

info
×

*Mark at the only bar for miles in the vicinity of Green Bank. Mark moved from citylife to the area after being inspired by 'Walden' by Henry David Thoreau, however quickly became disenchanted by the extent of the feeling of isolation of the place. He feels that the connection which technology brings, as minimal as it in the county, is not substitute for real life interaction.

info
×

The main road of Green Bank at night.

info
×
Using Format