Sunday, 27. March 2011, 23:03 - 23:45, Ö1



“ELECTROMAGNETIC PHENOMENON - Portrait of a Broadcaster – Donal Dineen 2011 - Context Gallery, Derry, Northern Ireland” 

by Garrett Phelan


An Irish radio broadcaster portrayed by an Irish radio artist: for his solo exhibition at the Context Gallery in Derry, Northern Ireland, Garrett Phelan transformed the gallery space into a radio studio. For one week, the popular music program Small Hours on Today FM was transmitted from the Context Gallery, with a live audience and thus rather unusual conditions for the show's host Donal Dineen.

For Kunstradio, Garrett Phelan has produced a radio edit of the broadcasts, a radiophonic hommage to Dineen and his well known voice. We listen to him announcing the upcoming songs, yet we never get to hear them. Hence, a constant tension between expectations, habits of listening and their disappointment is created. You can hear the space and the presence of a live audience, and, even without being a regular listener to Dineen's shows,  you can grasp that there is something unusual going on, contradicting and at the same time analysing the rules of music based radio broadcasts.

Garrett Phelan's statement:
“The origins of the work you will hear, ‘ELECTROMAGNETIC PHENOMENON - Portrait of a Broadcaster – Donal Dineen 2011 - Context Gallery,  Derry, Northern Ireland. ' ,  was based on a two-part radio/video project located at The Context Gallery, Derry, Northern Ireland in association with one of Ireland’s top national broadcasters TODAY FM.

This work was part of an ongoing portrait of an acclaimed broadcaster in Ireland, chosen by Phelan as someone whose iconic voice represents integrity and seriousness to his core audience, many of whom have developed their musical knowledge with him over many years. The project exists as an analogy between Energy, Electricity, Voice, the Power of the Mind and Other Matter.

Whilst acknowledging the importance of the content of Donal Dineen’s radio programme, Phelan focuses this ongoing portrait on the resonance of the broadcaster’s voice, its mediation to the outside world via the microphone, the wires and the transmission of the FM signal into the ether. The aesthetic of this work represents the unknown properties of the electromagnetic signal once it travels beyond human understanding and how it relates back to us throughout its infinite, sublime and mystical journey.

In Part 1 of the project at the Context Gallery Donal Dineen broadcast his ‘SMALL HOURS’ radio show live from the Context Gallery for the nights of Monday 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th November from Midnight – 2.00am. The gallery was open from 11pm each night and visitors were welcome to watch the broadcasts as artworks, Phelan deemed his live broadcasts as part of his artwork also.

In Part 2, a new video work was made by Phelan documenting the live gallery broadcasts which he later edited and was on view in the gallery from 15th November during normal gallery hours.
The portrait you hear for this especially edited sound portrait of Donal Dineen for Kunstradio is based on excerpts taken from the live broadcasts in Derry.  During each of Dineen’s normal national daily broadcasts his programme is advertising/news free and his voice-over presence is rarely experienced by his listeners. Here Garrett Phelan, the artist, re-edits Dineen’s programme by extracting the music and instead creating a continual vocal introduction of music we subsequently do not get to hear.  It is this intensity of this constant introduction that Phelan wishes to focus the listener’s attention on. This for Phelan exists as the grey area between intention and content.  This grey area exists where the broadcaster’s voice becomes mediated through the microphone and the point of reception or listening. Here the Microphone becomes metaphoric as a symbol for spiritual mediation transcending the known and familiar.”