21 September 2012

Saturday night in Essex

P.E.A.R. spent last Saturday evening in a field in Essex, perched on a straw bale, sipping red wine and watching as the temporary radio station 'Writtle Calling/2EmmaToc' was transformed into a stage for a varied programme of audio performance.

As dusk fell, Jenny Haxtell (of Writtle Singers) sang Puccini's 'Addio di Mimi', also sung by Dame Nellie Melba during her historic 1920 broadcast from the nearby Marconi Factory at Chelmsford.  The structure of the radio station, otherworldly, like a space ship that had lost its way in Essex, was redolent of history.  It was one of those tingly moments when the world feels wonderful and weird, and the evening continued to be filled with strange moments of beauty intermingled with oddness.  

Kevin Atherton's conversation with his younger self was a highlight; the younger and older self irritated and enlightened by each other in equal measure.  Their conversation was both introspective and universal, a strange kind of performative philosophy.

The live set by Clout! was a fitting finale.  The group danced around the tiny stage, as they each took their turn in the lime light, with a professionalism that belied their youth.  Formed in Southend-on-Sea and utilising a mix of traditional band instruments alongside analogue synthesizers and samplers, the band reinforced both the forward-looking structure and programming of Writtle Calling and its referencing of the past.

all images copyright Nick Cunard

14 September 2012

Writtle Calling / 2EmmaToc

'Writtle Calling / 2EmmaToc' is a temporary radio station by artist Melissa Appleton and architectural practice Post Works broadcasting from the Essex landscape all this week online at writtlecalling.co.uk.  The series of live broadcasts by artists, writers, musicians and scientists culminates with a live event on Saturday 15 September.

The radio structure is located near to the site of the original 2EmmaToc station, which broadcast from Writtle in 1922.  Transmitting under the call sign 2EmmaToc, the 1922 radio station broadcast live performances every Tuesday evening from an ex-army hut in the fields around the village.  2EmmaToc was the first regular UK radio station and is regarded as the birth of British broadcasting.

The 2012 radio structure takes its form from the original hut and agricultural vernaculars sampled from the local area.  Imagined as a ruin, the radio structure acts as a vehicle of content, broadcasting transmissions from the past, present and future.  Through the transmission of live performances, the physical limits of the radio structure are extended through the ephemera of radio waves.


For further information and a full schedule of broadcasts see: writtlecalling.co.uk

6 September 2012


Edwin Burdis’ second solo exhibition at Max Wigram Gallery opens tonight and continues the artist’s exploration into the relationship between sound, image and physical presence.  Inhabiting the gallery space will be a new series of painted works with robustly accentuated figures and heightened symbolic forms.  The poet Heather Phillipson has written a new text in response to these paintings, which has in turn inspired Burdis’ new sound work – available throughout the exhibition on vinyl record.  This creative association links narrative and visual imagery with sound, resulting in an operatic tension through which the paintings are elevated to the role of protagonist and the exhibition becomes a complex orchestration. 

MegaDairyPigFarm continues until the 29 September at
Max Wigram Gallery
106 New Bond Street
London, W1S 1DN