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Thursday, January 28, 2016

JOSHUA BONNETTA - Strange Lines and Distances

The award-winning installation 'Strange Lines and Distances' is a quietly compelling A/V invocation and exploration of Guglielmo Marconi's idea that analog sound never fully dies, it just becomes imperceptibly, infinitely fainter. Filmmaker and composer Joshua Bonnetta patiently considers that evocative conceit across a 2-channel film and soundtrack, shot on 16mm colour negative film at the original transmission (Cornwall) and reception (Newfoundland) sites of Marconi's first trans-atlantic radio broadcast, and accompanied by a lushly etheric soundtrack (de)composition created from fragments of site-specific field recordings, shortwave and longwave radio recordings and archival material. Expanding on Marconi's belief that adequately sensitive receivers may be able to pick up the echoes of long-lost transmissions - to the extant he hoped one day to hear the final words of Jesus on the cross - Bonetta's piece creates schisms and correlations between the auditive and visual information from each site with hauntological incision and an ethereal effect reflective of the "medium's potential to conflate and fragment both space and time". In some senses it parallels Konstantin Raudive's EVP experiments and also the emerging practice of Archaeoacoustics - searching in the ether and the mists of time for answers to esoteric and scientific questions concerning the entropic fidelities of place, space and time - and also Thomas K├Âner's glacial 'Nuuk' album, or Gavin Bryars' beautiful 'The Sinking Of The Titanic' piece, which also came to be directly influenced by Marconi's ideas. It's a beautiful, meditative set that comes highly recommended.

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