Helloland! Art, War and the Wireless Imagination
Jackson 2bears + Janet Rogers, Amanda Dawn Christie, Alan Collier, Brian Groombridge, Maureen Gruben, Marc Losier, Qavavau Manumie, Margo Pfeiff, Christopher Pratt, Reginald Shepherd, Charles Stankievech, Michael Waterman and Andrew Wright
Curated by Darryn Doull and Melony Ward
There are few better places to tell a story about wireless communications and radio infrastructure than St. John’s, NL. Famously the site of Marconi’s first trans-Atlantic wireless communication on December 12, 1901, radio has long found a home here. Indeed, the story of radio in this place is one of community, survival, education, religion and confederation. It is a story that is indivisible from the social, political, economic and military developments of a small independent country, which became the tenth province in Canada.
Marconi’s early experiments ushered in an age of wireless technology that has changed human relationships and our relationships with the land. From Morse Code to commercial radio, to radar and mobile phones, wireless infrastructure has been employed in war and colonization from the beginning. It has been a conduit for anxiety as well as scientific and artistic exploration. Wireless imagination is so fundamental to contemporary life that it is easy to forget how these invisible radio waves continue to change the world.
Helloland! brings together artifacts, archival documents, historical paintings and the work of contemporary artists. Each uniquely reflects upon the complicated legacies of wireless communication in Canada. Their diverse nodes of exploration include communal aspects of radio broadcast, sovereignty issues, economic self-determination, environmental stewardship and geographic militarization during the Cold War.
Tune in to voices and sounds as they echo from the past, greet us in the present and carry their waves into the future.
Image: Charles Stankievech, The DEW Project (installation view), Confluence of Klondike + Yukon Rivers, Yukon Territory, Canada. 64o03’ N, 139o27’ W, 2009. Courtesy of the artist.