I was using six watts when you Received me, this weekly Radia Show comes from Radio One 91 FM , Dunedin, New Zealand and it is a short edit of a project commissioned by the SCAPE7 Public Art Biennial in Christchurch (27 September – 9 November 2013).
From a small Nissan Civilian bus in the wide open fields of Christchurch's Hagley Park, at scheduled but irregular times, ham radio operators from the Christchurch Amateur Radio Club attempted to contact the International Space Station as it orbited above the city. I was using six watts when you Received me had the radio call sign ZL3ISS, its own QSL card, and transmitted on 107.1 FM for local ground-based audiences.
Leach and Noble worked with material held by the National Sound Archive Ng? Taonga K?rero to assemble thirty-four audio tracks sourced from historical recordings made in buildings and public spaces now lost or transformed in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes. Each track is framed with their own distinctive interval signal composed from recordings of the Christchurch Cathedral bells.
I was using six watts when you Received me operated as a searching attempt to recall a sense of place and to connect to an "elsewhere" beyond the current geographic and social conditions of the post-quake city. The ISS contact sessions and local broadcasts were overlaid to produce intriguing new sonic artefacts that were subsequently acquisitioned to the Sound Archives collection. The project traversed aspects of the everyday and the extraordinary to include recordings of dog walkers, street kids, local police, port workers and community events to the opening ceremony of the 1974 Commonwealth Games, the Queen’s visit in 1953 and a live recording of the February 22 earthquake in 2011.
From the Biennial catalogue:
Largely immaterial, the work is held together by a sculptural logic which relies on displacement: the tenuous possibility of making a real connection to somewhere else - somewhere as distant as the past, or outer space - and the currency of sound as a vehicle for collective recall, and anticipation. It is both preposterously expectant and resolutely conceptual. Maybe, maybe there will be an affirmative reply to one of the call signs issued. A small community of believers arrive intermittently at the van in time for scheduled passes, but it’s not a response they come for. Rather it’s to listen to the still-present voices of a Christchurch that was, and to be part of a transaction with the farthest reach of inhabited space. They come to listen to the radio. They come to remember what it’s like to get lost.