Wendy Angel

Concept Code / Communication Technology / Audio Code / Visual Code / Cultural Code

Code as military communication system. Code as cultural communication system. Music as code. Art as code. Language as code.


I read it was like reading but with your ears instead of your eyes.


No. Not like reading. With reading you see the whole page.


But you hear whole words not separate letters -- right?



Yes but there's a time element. There's a rhythm to it. You have to get the rhythm.

< < < < < < Have you seen my Bug?

Machine to machine was much faster maybe 100 words a minute. People can't do much more Than 40 words a minute. I could type 35.

When I finally figured out what was wrong with my home computer's sound software, I was so excited to fix the problem that I put on a music CD that happened to be around, called my mother and held the phone up to the computer speakers.

As it turned out the sound that reached her was the first segment of Beethoven's "Victory" symphony. This triggered her memories and she explained that the notes were broadcast continuously at the end of the war. This led to a conversation with my father in relation to his experience as a radio officer. And, it led me to look into the history of Morse/Vale code and Beethoven's composition. The superimposition of the audio code for "V" and the four notes of this music represent a significant example of how separate developments integrate in cultural consciousness.

Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

Even among people who have never listed to a concert, the opening phrase can conjure up the very idea of Symphony. Inevitably, with so popular a work, the question is asked, What does it mean: Beethoven's own answer, to one of many curious persons who asked him, over the years, what his music was all about, was "Thus Fate knocks at the door."

The notion of Fate, and the self-evident struggle that takes place in the four movements of this powerful score have resulted in a century's overlay of other notions, too - most widespread during World War II, when the coincidence of the opening four notes of the symphony corresponding rhythmically to the Morse code for "V", and the ubiquitous "V for Victory" gesture of Winston Churchill turned Beethoven's Fifth almost overnight into the "Victory Symphony."

I constructed an interactive project with this material. However, it is not formatted for the web.