Allan Hughes: The Listening Station (Counting Backwards)

  • ©, Allan Hughes, The Listening Station (Counting Backwards)

Artist(s):


Title:


    The Listening Station (Counting Backwards)

Symposium:


Venue(s):


Medium:


    Twin monitor, synchronised DVD installation, dimensions variable

Artist Statement:


    The Listening Station explores the partial and ongoing decommissioning of the British army communications post on Black Mountain, Belfast, examining the psychic history of it’s recent past. The listening station was initially put into service during the Cold War and has subsequently figured as a totemic sentinel of Britain’s political and military surveillance of Belfast, being visible from nearly anywhere in the city on it’s strategic vantage point. The facility is currently being dismantled after the land was sold to the National Trust for environmental conservation in 2005. Some features of the installation still remain and function but many have gone. The work explores the site as an active agency and its current, ongoing devolution to a former, ‘neutral’ existence. Specific references to both time and decoding are an aspect of the synchronization that forms a structural crux of the work. This is activated through references to the ‘number stations’, ongoing yet implicitly synonymous with espionage of the Cold War period and standard hypnotic induction for regression through time. The work aims to negotiate the conditions of surveillance, contrasting the exterior panoptic visual profile of the facility against the enclosed and internalised activities of the listener. A dynamic is established between the viewer and the audio elements of each screen whereby listening, as much as looking, is marked as an activity of production and creates an unstable space where the process of synchronization is in continual formation.


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