TRANSMISSION II (55° 20' 34'' North) 2016
Transmission II is a site-specific filmwork reflecting the historically contested territorial waters of the river Foyle, which forms a maritime border crossing between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The project explored the connection of the river to local communities through a collaboration with the Inishowen Maritime Museum and the Inishowen Development Partnership.
The film was produced in collaboration with distinct groups and individuals within this cross-border territory and explores Morse code broadcast and contemporary communication networks. Participants included members of the fishing community, Inishowen Maritime Museum staff, an amateur radio group, a lighthouse keeper, a retired navy captain and Moville Community College’s School Completion Programme.
The film features navigation communication including participants transmitting the word “BORDER” in signal lamp Morse code as part of a cross-border nocturnal event on the River Foyle. In the distance, light flares and ammunition tracers illuminate the sky, and the rapid sound of a nighttime firing drill is audible from an army-training base beside Magilligan Prison. The River Foyle and surrounding area has a strong history of communications. Semaphore, telescope and Morse code were used to maintain communications with ships and the Marconi Wireless Company was formerly located at Malin Head. In 1805 Lloyds Insurance Group of London built the signal tower at Malin, which was used to contact offshore ships during WWI and WWII.
The River Foyle is currently managed by the Loughs Agency, one of the first cross-border agencies establish in 1999, after the Good Friday Agreement. Transmission II was created within the wider context of the Brexit vote for the UK to leave the European Union in 2016. The social, political and economic impacts that may emerge in this border area prompted debate within the project group, in relation to contested waters, custom controls and citizenship.
Transmission II was projected onto the Inishowen Maritime Museums planetarium’s 360-degree dome ceiling and this site-specific screening created an immersive audience experience that was attended by participants and museum visitors. The film now forms part of the museum’s permanent film programme. The filmwork aimed to engage a broad range of publics including local and international art audiences.
Transmission II was also exhibited in (RE) PUBLIC, at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. Organised by Create and funded under Culture Ireland’s 2016 International Programme. The screening of the film in Chicago further developed links to key Chicago-based practitioners and curator Mary Jane Jacob, Department of Sculpture and Exhibition Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Transmission II was curated by Eilís Lavelle.
Inishowen Maritime Museum, Inishowen Development Partnership, Moville Community College, Jenny Brady, Andy Fogarty, Adam Hendershot, Phil Groce, Joshua Slater (Teen Programme Hyde Park Art Center), Create.