Marshland Radio Plumbing Project Sackville, NB, Canada 2009 - ongoing
/ in progress
Site Specific Radio Sculpture Performance
Inspired by a local phenomenon related to the RCI radio towers on the Tantramar marshes. Many Sackville residents report stories of strange household devices picking up and playing radio signals from the international radio towers; telephones, televisions, light fixtures, refrigerators, toasters, sinks, and bathtubs. Apparently, older houses with copper piping sometimes catch the radio waves in the sink, as the copper piping acts as an antenna and the sink itself acts as a loud speaker. In this project, I have attempted to recreate such a situation through building my own free-standing sink structure out of copper piping and metal plumbing components. I will be taking her radio sink on location to various outdoor locations in view of the radio towers in an attempt to hear the radio from her sink. The public is invited to come out to see and hopefully hear the radio sink in the marshes. I will be photographing the sink in each location with the marshland landscape and the radio towers in the background, as well as recording video and audio at each location.
Documentation video of a presentation of the radio-sink (Radio Lavabo)
at the Je'st Festival of Performance and Intervention Art.
I am attempting to build a functioning foxhole radio circuit using only plumbing parts. Copper pipe instead of copper wire, and a kitchen sink acts like a gramaphone speaker.
Audio: Electroacoustic Soundscape
I am also interviewing local Sackville residents about their experiences with radio waves, the radio towers, and the rusty bolt effect. These interviews will be edited into a 45 minute electroacoustic soundscape that integrates local sounds of wildlife, the nearby TransCanada Highway, and shortwave radio static. This audio work will stand alone as a form of radio documentary and historical archive, as well as a sound component of the sink when it is exhibited as a sculpture in galleries (with an audio placed in the drainpipe of the sink so that voices emanate from the pipes).
When I set up the sink on the marsh, I perform in character with a labcoat, clipboard, calculator, maps, and field charts. When I give artist talks I perform in the character of a scientist (a Radio-Plumbing Technician to be exact) and structure the talk according to the scientific method.
I have made a series of low res digital studies of the sink in the marsh. The next step will be a series of highly formal large format photographs made with a 4x5 view camera and photochemically printed on 30x40 colour paper. Click here to see the low res digital studies.
This work can also be installed in a gallery with the radio sink as a sculpture with sound emanating from the drain pipe and photos on the walls accompanied by field charts, topographical maps, and international shortwave schedules. To date it has been set up once as a work in progress test, as the photos and the audio component have yet to be completed.