Model 17 Audible Detector

Completed September 1997

This is the second WPS product. Initially considered a failed project, it seems to have warmed with time's passing. It has a funerary feel to me; the cast stainless steel ear, lined with dog's hair, painted with Glyptal, faint ivy patterning in corroded copper and tin, emanates sounds at once organic and mechanical issuing from it's hairy ear/throat.

A single large, unmarked knob hopefully invites you to turn it, which tunes across a brief portion of a commercial/military short wave band. During daylight hours, essentially nothing will be heard but weak static. Bored, ignored and abandoned, when the sun goes down, affecting upper-atmospheric radio conditions, a disturbing mixture of radioteletype, weather station images, and international proselytizers blur into an auditory hallucination.

Within an old oak instrument box (a Hewlett-Packard Attenuator) is a small regenerative radio receiver. On the rear are controls for radio sensitivity, a combination volume/power switch, and the antenna jack. No real skill is needed to operate; the rear controls are adjusted for a compelling but not-too-loud sound. The provided antenna, a dozen feet of old-fashioned rubber test lead, can be simply tucked under a rug or along a wall. It consumes nearly no (5 watts) power.

The Model 17 is best left turned on and tucked into a corner; it will come alive at night, audible when passed by in a darkened room.

Mixed media (wood, copper-clad fiberglass, cast stainless steel, dog's hair, electronic components), 10"h x 6"w x 10"d, approx. 6 lb.

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