Camera: Ben Glazebrook. (5mins. 22secs.) Music: a concert on Radio 3.
1999. "Aeriel-Wind , Sun and Radio," was a cable car system that carried bird boxes with radios inside from one side of the park to the other. I originally approached the commission as a site specific project for the park but didn't find anything that particularly excited me. Then I took my inspirartion from things that were in the park but also everwhere else 'stuff that came into the park from out of the ether'- the wind, the sun and radio waves.
The cable was moved by a 30 foot high windmill at one end of the line. The bird boxes had solar panels on their roofs to power the radios which were all tuned to 'Radio 3' so they played classical music all day long. I felt this type of music would naturally resonate with the landscape. I was thinking 'Elgar', 'Beethoven's pastoral symphony' but really anything that wasn't pop music or chat show's seemed to work. The cable was also connected up as the actual aerial to the radios. 12 foot up in the air, just out of reach it travelled a couple of hundred yards across the park through trees above several paths and a park bench.
Commissioned by Rebecca Weaver at Christchurch Mansion for Ipswich museums and galleries. (Click button for publication)
Photo from half way up the windmill whilst doing maintenance. You could see the Orwell bridge from the top.
Detail from maquette
The maquette for 'Aerial- wind sun and radio'. I approached the project from the beginning as a landscape art piece and began by making one of my box landscape paintings.
Detail from maquette, the return wheel attached to a model tree.
Radio boxes pass each other as the line goes through the trees.
Sketch for 'Aeriel' wind sun and radio.
The test model built from 'Meccano'
Windmill detail from the maquette
The telegraph pole was about 25 foot high, the sails were another 5 or 6 foot each. Photo: Doug Atfield
This wheel acted as a point of slip in case the rope got stuck for some reason. On the real thing it was an inflated bicycle wheel.
The bicycle wheel can be seen below the sails here. Photo: Doug Atfield
Radio passes over my head Photo: Jill Townsley
Me sitting in a sling being taken up with the sails to bolt them on. Not a good idea but I had a friend with his own crane at the time so we were able to cut a few corners. Photo: Mark Colyer
By coincidence there was a solar eclipse during the time 'Aeriel' was on show. I'm not sure what amazing spectical I was expecting from this phenomenon but obviously the radios stopped playing for short while.