A man sits in his car and stays on his phone, using one of the only open wifi connections outside the town.

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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 photographic 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.

A square dance event at Dunmore Community Centre. Community events occur on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

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“I don’t feel there are really any advantages (of not being constantly connected)... We have our technology but as it is it’s more of our choice how we use it right now, rather than it being jammed down our throats... I (even) feel that traditional millenials raised with social media and texting find it more difficult to interact sometimes and have face to face conversations. In Pocahontas I feel this change is coming, but it has been much slower than in more urban areas.” - Rachel Tayor (second from left).

The Green Bank space telescope.

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Chuck sits in the Observatory’s truck which is equipped with technology able to track down the location and strengths of radiowave frequencies around the town

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Jennifer Wood has been moving from one place to another trying to escape electromagnetic waves caused by excessive digital devices. In 2019 she finally bought her own house in Green Bank. 

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Jennifer Wood.

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“I didnt know it at that time but it was also the time where analogue telephones went digital in that year. The sales skyrocketed..it wasnt till many years later that I saw a film about epidemeology, and the rise of all these illnesses rose in 1996 following the amount of exposure to magnetic radiation. I had never used a cellphone, so it was kind of like getting sick from second hand smoke. One night I got so sick, I thought I had heavy metal poisoning, I was so ill. I went to the emergency ward and started losing weight really rapidly. From 120 pounds to 77 pounds. I had horrific symptoms and it was 24/7, the symptoms were so bad I could only sleep for twenty minutes a night for an entire year and a half, it was absolute torture… I beat death three times since then. Now I worry about these satellites around the globe offering the service of free wifi, itwould be a total nightmare for people like me. It is a nightmare for the earth, but people dont know it yet.” - Jennifer Wood

Green Bank senior centre organises daily lunches and other activities. Green Bank is by far and large an ageing population. Youth leave as not many businesses open up in the area, one reason being the lack of connection.

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Justice takes a photo of Tina Taylor exhaling smoke from her vape. Tina uses social media to campaign for vaping as an alternative to smoking.

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I do get nervous about not having a connection. A lot. I have had Internet my whole life… I lived in St Albans for ten years before I moved here, it’s more of a city and has Internet and service, it is a lot more difficult, especially when you worry about your friends. One time my Internet went out and when I put it back on I had messages from my sister and a call telling my that my grandma was in the hospital. Any time my phone is off I worry that there’s something wrong with my grandma or something.” - Justice Wolfe

Green Bank main street at night.

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