Twined applications in 1804 and 1809 by Campillo and Sömmering gave us the first long-distance electrical telegraph. These electrochemical contraptions comprised simple on/off switching at the transmission end, coupled to wires immersed in tubes of acid at the receiving station. The tubes were labeled with a unique alpha-numeric character, and hydrogen bubbles resulting from electrolysis of the acid would convey both message and meaning.
Data Calorimetry is an interactive installation comprised of two computers serving up digital documents to one another. These documents detail the natural history of electrical telecommunications development. The data cable connecting the two servers has been spliced, and placed in a tube containing a strong acid. As data is transmitted through this acid, glitches appear on screen, hydrogen bubbles are produced, and a metered temperature rise give a sense of the material energy and power of digital information.
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