Photo Credit: Sachiko Saeki
(walking) On Air was a live transmission via a mobile phone of a 400mile walk from my home in Northampton to the Fabrica Gallery in Brighton. This two-person show which I entitled Journey took place over six weeks. My walk was devised to occupy this time taking me through the South Midlands, the Cotswolds, Wiltshire, Hampshire and upon reaching the coast at Havant I headed east towards Fabrica. The sounds from my phone were transmitted continuously to the gallery whilst it was open, and was channelled down a series of six metre long pipes suspended from the ceiling. Fabrica being a church space is architecturally influenced by sound so it felt right to have my presence felt through this medium. No sounds were recorded.
The original impulse for the work began whilst on a Fellowship in India and witnessing pilgrims undertaking pilgrimages. I saw (walking) On Air as a pilgrimage of sorts in the sense that in my journey through the landscape I was being led by an ethereal force the signal from my mobile phone had to be maintained, where black spots were encountered a new signal had to be physically sought in order for the work to continue. To an extent my self was partly relinquished, I was a slave to the signal. The religious notion of having to expend physical effort prior to a meeting with the gods, alongside the Hindu phrase Ram Barose (in the hands of God) were sentiments I carried with me throughout the journey.
Thoughts were spoken, observations relayed, feelings were communicated to the gallery during the walk against the backdrop of the everyday sounds I encountered. Sounds were apprehended the shrieks and chatter from an aviary, a church organist practicing, a conversation about jazz, the fast approach and recede of a high-speed train. At places where no signal was found I picked up objects that perhaps spoke about the immediate landscape that I was in and sent them back to the gallery in order to visualise those disconnections, those silences, to make the picture more complete.
a walk over six weeks
Mobile phone, plastic/aluminium pipes, sound