Through commissioning artists of exceptional nature to create compelling standalone art works for radio broadcast in Ireland and Europe, Aerial/Sparks aims to open up the dreams of radio connectivity as a means to foster a deeper consideration of ocean spaces both empathically to offer a perspective of the ocean that rests on the very edge of our perceived limits of understanding.
Aerial/Sparks has taken shape through a long-term collaboration with the Marine Institute, the national agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland.
Participating artists have been inspired by their experience of joining research expeditions on board the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer, one of the few marine research vessels with sonic capabilities. These expeditions have opened up unique opportunities to foster connections between art and science as the artists work side-by-side with scientists who are monitoring our marine biodiversity and the impact of humans on our ocean environment. The evocation of the utopian potential of radio by the Russian Futurist poet Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922) belongs to a genre of speculative writing about radio that was quite common in the early days of that technology. The universal communicative power of the medium resonated with the ambitious social projects and artistic visions that sprouted across the globe in the wake of the First World War. Significantly, Khlebnikov’s vision encompasses both the educational and aesthetic domains: radio is imagined as a medium both for the universal edification of mankind and for its musical delectation.
On September 11th 2020, Aerial/Sparks created a physical, architectural space for the public on the island of Inis Oírr utilising the transformative aesthetics of radio production and performance both as a personal and intimate collective experience as a backdrop for something else/other and as an interruption into the everyday, opening up a call to reimagine our relationship to the ocean wilderness.
Each of the artist’s work invited audiences to connect and consider if it is possible to develop empathy for deep sea spaces with respect to ideas of resonance, distance and connectivity.