…and here it is. The Immaculate Telegraph! This crude little beast is a powered electrical momentary switch, or telegraph key. It was built with no modern tools or materials, effectively proving the premise I believed all along: that electric communication could have been built at any point in history- if the information, desire, and free time to build it was available. I’m terribly proud of this thing. As I flew back to New York, I felt that I was carrying a miraculous object, an electrical object unlike anything else in the world, because the entire lineage of tools that led to it is preserved and recorded. Of course, as I looked through the massive heat ripples of the idling jet engine exhaust, I saw the smallness of my little charcoal furnace, and was truly amazed again at the energy scale of our society. So many engines, so much utilized power roaring smoothly and continuously.
Immaculate Telegraphy was an experiment to build electronic communication from scratch in the wilderness. In summer of 2009, I set out in the mountains of western Montana without any modern tools or materials except information, and constructed a working electric telegraph from materials found on the ground. The experiment showed that electronic communication could have been constructed at any point in history given the right information.
This project was supported by the Eyebeam Honorary Residency, and hosted by the Johnson creek ranch.