Garden GALWAY by Aerial/Sparks at Ars Electronica 2020

Date 09.09.2020 - 11.09.2020
Venue Online
Organiser Aerial / Sparks
Event Page Click here
Event Website Click here

Aerial/Sparks, created by artist Louise Manifold for Galway’s European Capital of Culture 2020, invites you to connect in person and online with one of the last unknown spaces on earth, the ocean wilderness. Seven artists, writers and composers from across Europe have produced a series of compelling standalone artworks for exhibition and radio broadcast, inspired by their experiences of joining research expeditions onboard the Marine Institute Ireland’s RV Celtic Explorer.

A dedicated virtual programme of events for Ars Electronica 2020, the world-renowned festival for art, technology and society, will accompany the main exhibition from 9 – 13 September. Titled Garden GALWAY by Aerial/Sparks, online events include a series of conversations between artists and marine scientists.

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. Since 2017, artists from Ireland, Germany, England and Slovenia have taken part in 7 ocean surveys and a passage from Galway to Hamburg on the 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 artists work side-by-side with scientists who are monitoring our marine biodiversity and the impact of humans on our ocean environment.

Garden GALWAY presents a ship experience aboard the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer, talks by artists and scientists on their collaborations, and sonic works by participating Aerial/Sparks artists.

Each work explores relations between people and places, including the visible and invisible connectors of ocean and landscape. These sonic presentations ask us how sound and radio communication might trigger a deeper sense of empathy for our environments and ourselves. As we move into a future of uncertain intimacy and how can we grow meaningful connections at a distance?

The Ars Electronica Festival was established in 1979 and has become one of the world’s most important media art festivals. Each year, the festival brings together artists, scientists and researchers from all over the world to a conclave in Linz, Austria, to confront a specific, interdisciplinary theme. Ars Electronica 2020 (9-13 September) is a journey mapping the “new” world amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Audiences are invited to “Kepler’s Gardens” which are located in Linz and at 120 other locations worldwide, and in parallel on the Net. Garden GALWAY at Inis Oírr by Aerial/Sparks forms one of these locations.

Garden GALWAY by Aerial/Sparks makes reference to Scottish engineer John Scott Russell’s famous practical and theoretical investigations on waves and their effects on ship construction. Scott Russell discovered the “wave of translation” (giving birth to the modern study of solitons) which he described in his “Report on Waves” and developed the wave-line system of ship construction. New Reports on Waves by Aerial/Sparks becomes a thematic link to the nature of waves, both watery and sonic, and how they impact on our connections to marine nature, distance, technology and empathy.



Presentation of acoustic artworks
Date: 9-11 September
Time: Unrestricted access
Link: announced on September 5

Aerial /Sparks artists: Ailís Ní Ríain, Carol Anne Connolly, David Stalling, Kennedy Browne, Kevin Barry, Magz Hall and Robertina Šebjanič

Remote Sensing: Panel talks with artists and scientists
A series of 3 recorded conversations with Aerial/Sparks artists and marine scientists about their experiences on the research vessel RV Celtic Explorer. The conversations explore parallels in knowledge production between scientific research and artistic practice, acoustic ecology and the age-old relationship between people and the sea.

Conversation #1:
Remote sensing: Deep-sea observations and the limits of life
Date: 9-11 September
Time: Unrestricted access

Professor Andrew Wheeler (Head of the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University College Cork), Dr Aaron Lim (School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork) and composer Ailís Ní Ríain discuss their experiences of deep-sea observation using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to film deep-sea habitats and its impact on both creative and science practices.

Conversation #2:
Remote sensing: mythologies and sciences
Date: 9-11 September
Time: Unrestricted access

Dr Chris McGonigle (Senior Lecturer in Marine Science, Ulster University), artist Robertina Šebjanič and creator of Aerial/Sparks Louise Manifold discuss the importance of the age-old relationship between people and the sea, and how sonic folklore plays a fundamental role in shaping our connection to ocean space.

Conversation #3:
Research and collaboration
Date: 9-11 September
Time: Unrestricted access

Sound artist David Stalling and Dr Sergei Lebedev (Assistant Professor of Seismology, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) discuss David’s work and his time onboard the RV Celtic Explorer on the SEA-SEIS research survey in 2018. Led by Dr Sergei Lebedev, DIAS scientists have been collect

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