Background noise

This exhibition, installed at The Return at the Goethe Institute in Dublin, was comprised of three main elements: The first was a large drawing Totem that had been generated by the superimposition of
a series of symmetrical images, each formed by numerous coloured dots connected by lines. The ‘images’ were distilled from various biological forms (both flora and fauna) and I liked the connection this drawing had with the idea of evolution, particularly in relation to Goethe’s influence on Darwin.

The second element was a small series of three B+W photographs. The first of these shows a dog genealogy chart in a Berlin window. The second shows a series of birds on an electricity line, seen from behind glass with random dirt-marks and an out-of-focus fly. The third was a difficult-to-read shot of painted stars on a circus roof tent. Together these works alluded to tensions between fate and accident, order and entropy, between the teleological and the merely random.

The third element was a series of six sound pieces that were scientifically collected samples of
radio waves from a variety of astronomical sources including remnant blackbody radiation from the
Big Bang (though this is contested) radio waves from a collapsed star and cosmic debris from our own atmosphere. These radio waves are converted to sound waves to make them audible and the results feel strangely like a hybrid of composed electronic music and sounds from nature (waves crashing, wind, birdsong) The similarity of these truly alien sounds to more familiar earthly forms highlights the possibility of generative structures which underscore everything in the universe, or then again maybe the fact that they have been ‘mediated’ to make them audible simply makes them seem to appear in recognisable forms; an apparition of meaning.