|'Frequency' was a sited audio installation accompanied by a set of drawings, made for 'Air Matters' at Watermans Arts Centre. Voice and field recordings were combined to explore the affective and 'felt' experience of air travel. Verbal accounts from passengers describing their memory of take off and landing were undercut with a layer of airport location recordings. These soft, whispered voices were suggestive of recordings made in an ASMR ('autonomous sensory meridian response') register, typically created with the intention of stimulating a 'tingling' and relaxing sensation. They were amplified with the use of resonance devices that turned the skylight windows themselves into speakers, broadcasting the voices both downwards into the atrium space and outwards into the ether. Elsewhere, recordings of the 'sonic fallout' collected from the Airport provided a 'darker' background for the presence and effect of aviation. The material for the accompanying postcard drawings was sourced from photographs distributed on social media showing passengers' window views of cloudscapes. Frequency alluded to a set of contradictory positions implicating anxiety and desire within the context of air travel.
"Air Matters: Learning from Heathrow is an exhibition and programme of events that explores the politics of air. Focusing on the neighbourhood of Heathrow, it seeks to engage with the air's materiality, occupation, and contestation, as well as with the potential and limitations of representing these themes by means of art.
For some, the air is a hyper-modern space of networks and travel. For others, it is what they must breathe. Such diverse requirements within a single neighbourhood creates a significant societal challenge that has implications for sustainable development, well-being, and human dignity. Air Matters responds to this challenge with newly-commissioned artworks, walking tours, workshops and a symposium. It brings together artists, community groups, environmental scientists, industry professionals and scholars in order to connect diverse approaches and produce fresh thought. It is aimed at all those who have a stake in the neighbourhood's environment and for whom art is a gateway to its discovery and transformation.
Air Matters is curated by Dr Nicholas Ferguson in partnership with Kingston School of Art and Richmond University."
Air Matters ran from October 3, 2019 - January 5, 2020.