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Imaginary Radio: Counter Loops
Presented at Catalyst Arts, Belfast. Belfast offers a curious mix of contrast and contradictions, where people who are proud to consider themselves English, often dislike and treat with suspicion someone who is actually British and where others rightly proud of their history have, in a sense, become trapped by that history. It is a place where the richness of irish culture, rubs shoulder with the chintzy mutterings of another country. To be english here is to speak with a voice which represents fear, hate, oppression and betrayal. The voice in Northern Ireland is a symbol of authority in ways not imagined at home.
For this project, I found myself in a land I did not recognise and where the voice could be a dangerous instrument. I felt a need to communicate something of this 'other-ness' and I became intrigued that these recorded post office counter announcements had a built in regional variation as a form of political correctness, hers with a touch of the south, his most definitely from the north.
The use of the circular arrangement was to infer the symbolic nature of the voice, as the syllables of each word rolled across themselves endlessly in a cycle of disintegrating narrative. Referencing John Cage in the title, I wanted to '...let the sounds be themselves', using the radios to present an 'other' and where a voice is something more than its words.