“Ping” is an interactive installation that reveals invisible conversations that are happening in our physical space. We do not hear these messages and they remain imperceptible to us, because our mobile devices generate them. Our smart phones, by design continuously send out Wi-Fi beacons to our surroundings as way to automatically connect to Internet routers. That is why when you enter your home; your smart phone automatically connects to your home network without the need for putting your Wi-Fi password every time. But when you are away from your home, your smartphone continues to search for your home network by sending out Wi-Fi beacons. These signals contain within them not only the name of our devices, but also the names all the Wi-Fi networks our phones have connected to in the past.
This installation captures these signals and rings a bell every time a smart phone in the vicinity sends out a Wi-Fi beacon. These messages are also decoded and the names of previously used Wi-Fi networks are displayed on a wall projection. Arguably, one can connect the dots and speculate what spaces, cities, cafes, airports etc. these cellphones and their users have been. As the day goes on, the bell rings constantly vying for the visitor’s attention and directing them to this hidden conversation. The scrolling text records the location histories of our devices and us by projecting them on the wall.