Dan interviews Ash

From Fine Art Wiki

Tell me about the work you’re making for the show

The work I’m making for NCAC is going to be a radio show that is broadcast live from the Project Space for the entirety of the exhibition period. It’s a short project, it’s only two weeks, and I proposed I would do a radio show. I’ll be in the gallery for the duration.

Have you worked with radio before as a medium?

I have worked with recorded sound before, but not in the radio format.

What led you to using radio?

It’s the ability of the medium to reach a broad but very particular audience that appeals to me. The broadcast will only reach a short distance around the city centre, so it’s made for a very specific geographically-defined audience. I like that radio transmissions can be experienced by a community in different situations: in a group or alone, or perhaps you tune in when you’re driving, or you listen in intentionally from home, or you just hear it by chance when you’re in the corner store. In all of these situations you are hearing the same thing as others in the area, so it’s a kind of communal experience of time. I really like that it allows people to encounter different types of work in different scenarios. To be surprised by the work.

So can you tell us about what you will be broadcasting?

At the moment it’s very open, because as well as scheduling my own material I want to leave space for listeners and visitors to be able to contribute – to make requests! I’m seeking contributions from the community, it’s important that it’s familiar and relevant to the local audience. There will be a range of ‘shows’ like in a conventional radio programme: there’ll be some live interviews and readings, some mixes put together by invited artists, maybe there will even be a regular karaoke hour hosted in the gallery.

This is something that will be open to the community – our readers for instance will be able to participate if they wish?

Certainly, and I really hope they will, a really important aspect is that they are welcome to come into the space and enjoy witnessing the process of the broadcast but really, they can contribute on the spot. Of course it’s in the gallery, it’s live – so anyone who comes to see the exhibitions, or is meeting for coffee at the cafe or going to the bookshop or the cinema...if the building is open, we’re on air and ready to speak to them. Everyone’s welcome – the lines are open for a chat! When you were approached to do something in the gallery did you know straight away how you would use it or has the work developed in response to the space?

More than the particulars of this space in itself, what was important was that it’s a location where there are other shows, other cultural spaces in the building. I didn’t want to do this project somewhere hidden or isolated, then it could just be a podcast, I really wanted it to be part of a destination. And it did come together quite quickly, it wasn’t conceived specifically for this location but the timing was really perfect. Anne suggested we do something responsive to a short duration, and I’ve had this idea in mind for a while, simmering away without a home.

You’ve alluded to this already, but as you know we have a cinema and a bookshop here at NCAC . If there was an opportunity to choose a film and a book to complement your exhibition, how would you like to frame it, or counter it or contextualise it?

Actually it would be great to bring those existing programmes into the space, and have readings or film screenings in the ‘radio studio’ – we could broadcast the sound. Like a drive-in scenario where we broadcast the sound of the room, with people moving around and talking and introducing the film, and those tuning in at home could watch the film or just listen to our new soundtrack, hear the audience rustling around. But perhaps to contextualise the project itself, I would choose a short scene from Louis Malle’s 1975 film Black Moon, where the young protagonist is operating a strange radio communication machine that seems to be a channel to the world outside – or, deeper into – the surreal world she is inhabiting. I think that’s a nice image to evoke the possibilities of what we can do with live radio in the gallery situation.