Anguilla Anguilla- Broadcast 18th Nov 2020 The Buffer Zone 2.30pm (Repeat via Resonance Extra)
Another year, another Radiophrenia- it’s a relief that even 2020 can’t hold this strange and wonderful collection of sound and broadcast art down.
Broadcasting from the Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow (97.8FM), Radiophrenia is an annual project pulling together composers, sound artists, and those interested in transmission arts. The result is a temporary radio station (FM & Streamed) broadcasting ‘a two-week exploration into current trends in sound and transmission arts.’
The piece I submitted this year is a weird one…to match a weird year. Here’s how I described it on the listing;
Anguilla Anguilla evolved from an anecdote my father-in-law used to tell about catching eels in Ireland during his boyhood. Since developing Alzheimer’s Disease, he’s returned frequently to this story- with the narrative becoming progressively fractured, interrupted and detuned; its reality becoming as slippery and hard to grasp as the eels themselves.
Somewhere there seemed to be a metaphorical synergy between his story, his illness and the mysterious cyclical end of life journey of the European Eel (Anguilla Anguilla), which travels the width of the Atlantic guided by a force little understood, to return to the place of its birth.
The piece is probably best described as a sketch or assembly of ideas, to be continued someday..
And that’s about the size of the piece. The journey of the eel’s from their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea into our UK waterways at the beginning of their lives is still little understood; how do know where to go? through what mechanism do they navigate?
Nor is it abundantly clear how, why, or exactly where they return to on their end of life migration.
If this kind of natural mystery tweaks a nerdy sensation in you, perhaps the book Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World’s Most Mysterious Fish, by artist and author James Prosek might be of interest.
Back to the piece…. it didn’t really turn out like I’d originally intended, and became more of an excuse to tinker and explore. Can’t help thinking that it was overegged in the end, as I kept coming back to it at odd times throughout the year. But anyhow, it was at least something productive in a year where I’ve been mostly; working a manual job, growing a baby and trying to avoid succumbing to the horrors of a global pandemic.
Next steps, I’d like to explore these themes of narrative, remembering, and regression more and differently…in my mind’s eye this maybe involves an installation where one or many tape loops are being physically degraded live…
To be continued…
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