If you were to enter into a garden shed – a random garden shed – you might find all sorts of once-useful detritus. Old paint, bits of stuff that has fallen apart, plant-pots, tools of all kinds, boxes of nails and washers, this is a scenario with which most of us are culturally familiar, something which harks back to a mythologized suburban past.
If you were to enter into my garden shed – not such a random shed – you might have a bit of a surprise. My garden shed is a small portable broadcast centre for both mini-FM radio and guerrilla television.
The exhibition Shooting The Light Fantastic examined the relationships between military vision, desire and possibility by presenting three works that operate simultaneously as scopic regimes and devices for warfare. Using home-made transmitters, giant burning glasses, eye-motion capture hardware and a rocket fuelled with champagne, I explored the use of real and imaginary technologies in the service of unknown narratives, and offered a critique of ‘precision’ ballistics. The exhibition comprised three works:
Shooting The Light Fantastic (top) which grew out of experiments with micro-radio during the Radio Craft Lab of AV08. I worked collaboratively to produce a variety of transmitters, receivers and improvised circuits for both sound and video. I built a home-made rocket, and inserted a video transmitter and miniature camera into the nose cone. Using champagne as a fuel, the DIY ballistic was fired over the military ranges at Otterburn, Northumberland. The rocket’s transmission was simultaneously captured in a mobile ‘command centre’. For this exhibition, the rocket and other artefacts were shown in a shed with the captured rocket flight broadcast to the television sets shown.
The Delayed Rays Of A Star (both centre) used sand-blasted glass to create hundreds of thousands of miniature collimations of light, simultaneously referencing the birth of photography and mythic attempts to destroy classical navies.
You Never See Me From The Place At Which I See You (bottom) was a collaboration with Dr Patrick Olivier and Daniel Jackson of the Informatics Research Unit at Newcastle University, and Culture Lab. Using eye-motion tracking technology initially designed for military simulators, we created a software iWitness, which enabled the movement of the eye to be visibly tracked on a screen. Combining this with a dual-channel digital video enabled an experience in which frustration of the viewer’s vision was paramount. As the viewer looked at the video, iWitness registered the contact and created a burn- through from one layer of imagery to another.
Shooting The Light Fantastic 2008: Size in cm 212 x 121 x 182/ duration 01:57m (looped)
Installation (wood, electronic components, lights, home-made rocket, champagne, transmitters, television, hackjob dvd, digital video, live transmission)
The Delayed Rays of A Star 2008: Size in cm 239 x 335 x 132
Sculpture (powder coated steel, light, kiln formed glass, beech)
You Never See Me From The Place At Which I See You 2008: Size in cm 239 x 244 x 132/ duration 05:19m (looped)
Installation (powder coated steel, beech, infra-red retina scanner, digital video, iWitness software)
with thanks to Creative Partnerships Northumberland, and to the Informatics Research Unit, Newcastle University.