Radio.Garden lets you tune into the globe

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Some of the most beautiful products are the simplest. Take Radio.Garden, for example. This project by Golo Föllmer at Martin-Luther University Halle displays a photorealistic globe full of green dots. Swing your mouse over one of the dots – in Iran, Estonia, or the Faroe Islands – and you can hear a local radio station.

The interface itself is surprisingly calming. You’re immediately drawn to the farthest corners of the Earth. Rolling over the Iceland brings up some Spice Girls and some local talk radio. Visiting Tehran calls a swirl of disco out of the ambient hisses and pops that Radio.Garden adds to the experience. It’s a beautiful reminder that wherever you go you can probably hear Eric Clapton or Jamiroquai clamoring out of a tinny speaker in some back alley cafe or a dark taxi.

“By bringing distant voices close, radio connects people and places,” writes Föllmer. “Radio Garden allows listeners to explore processes of broadcasting and hearing identities across the entire globe. From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders. Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away – or using local community radio to make and enrich new homes.”

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