ANDREW O’CONNOR | FREQUENCIES: DAWSON CITY
Outdoor Site-specific Sound Installation
(tune your radio to 107.9FM between Princess & King / 2nd & 3rd)
Artist Talk: Thursday, August 16, 7pm in the KIAC Ballroom
Arts Festival Installation Walk: Sunday, August 19, 2pm
I came to Dawson with a structure for this project in mind, and a vision for how I was going to present it, but I wanted the subject matter and the content of this piece to be dictated entirely by the people who live here, and the way this place sounds. Over the course of my residency I`ve been collecting interviews with people who live here, and recording the changing soundscapes as the city swells up with life, and quiets back down. So what you`ll hear with Frequencies; Dawson City, is entirely rooted in this place, and comes from the sounds, and stories I’ve encountered while here.
One thing about radio waves that’s always fascinated me is that they go on forever, they just keep drifting further and further out into space, they get weaker and change over time as other things start to interfere, but they’re still there. Radio waves are much like memories in that regard, they start in a specific place, at a specific time, but resonate outwards, forever changing over time. I wanted to explore that similarity, in a way that embraces the many narratives one finds in Dawson City. To present these many narratives I wanted to work with chance, and random juxtaposition.
Frequencies; Dawson City is a public installation that comes to you through the magic of radio waves. It’s made for a series of low watt FM transmitters placed around Dawson City. Each transmitter is tuned to the same frequency (107.9FM) and laid out in an array where as you move through the installation, different transmitters will fade in and out of range. The transmitters are each broadcasting a different loop of soundscapes, stories and, reflections about the physical space where they are located. Each loop is of a different length, so as you walk through the installation with your radio tuned you will encounter an ever changing collage of stories, and juxtaposition of opinions. The idea is to create a narrative documentary, but one that’s never the same twice. What each person ends up hearing depends on where you access the piece, the speed you move through it, and the direction you point your antenna, leaving the listener to draw their own meaning from the contrasting ideas they encounter.
This is not a walking tour with a start and a finish, the map is there to indicate the general area you can tune in the piece, there will be certain spots where signals will overlap, and possibly spots where you’ll just get static. Move through the installation however you wish, what you end up hearing all depends on you and your radio.
ANDREW O’CONNOR is a transmission artist based out of Toronto. Active in community radio for over 15 years now at stations like CKMS FM in Waterloo, CKLN in Toronto and Shouting Fire Radio in San Francisco, his work has also been heard on programs across the CBC network including Inside the Music, The Signal, Two New Hours and The Current among others. Andrew O’connor’s radio work has also been featured internationally on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, WGXC in New York State, and Radio Zero in Lisbon. His sound installations, often radio based, have been presented at The Vancouver New Music Festival, The Third Coast Filmless Festival in Chicago, Megapolis in Baltimore, OK Quoi in Sackville, and the Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound in Kitchener.