Author: Waring, Richard (25 November 2019)


Transmission was a live contemporary artwork commissioned by Arts Council England to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of 'Sea Music’, an immense multi-platform sculpture by Anthony Caro, which has stood on Poole Quay, Dorset since 1991 and is renowned as the artist’s only site-specific artwork.

Working with invited sonic artist Sian Hutchings, Waring conducted extensive research into the material, weight, mass, volume, colour and locational positioning of the sculpture, so as to help
identify methods for making an interpretive and performative artwork comprising simultaneous light projection, sound and moving human bodies. Working within the context of contemporary research into visual and sonic perception, they re-interpreted ‘Sea Music’ as a dynamic catalyst to inspire Transmission, with the performance taking place in the dark and within the actual large-scale structure of Sea Music.

Contemporary dancers improvised to the amplified noise of steel, hearing this for the first time live on the night. This gave the performance a vulnerability, echoing that of the location of the sculpture itself which is perched precariously on the edge of the quayside. Drawing on Steyerl’s treatise on the dramatic impact of new technologies of surveillance, tracking and targeting our spatial and temporal orientation, the performance required that dancers respond to the sound, whilst a horizon of white light swept up and down, simulating the smooth progression of a scanner as it collects data.

Transmission had an active engagement programme, with full video documentation for Poole Museum, including two public lectures by the director of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Peter Murray, and by Alistair Sooke, art critic and TV presenter. Waring’s subsequent research projects for ITV and the 2019 exhibition commission for Dazzle: Disguise and Disruption owed much to the collaborative learning from Transmission.

Transmission (8.5 mins)

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