BLACK BRAIN RADIO
Black Brain Radio was an unconventional and innovative radio artwork created by Irish artist Garrett Phelan with Temple Bar Gallery and Studios and in partnership with the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). The transmission was broadcast around the clock over a thirty-day period from 19 January 2006 to listeners within the greater County Dublin area on a frequency of 89.9fm to February 17. In addition, Black Brain Radio had the capacity to reach a wider global audience through its dedicated on-line presence, located at http://www.garrettphelan.com/now.htm from January 19th 2006. This service was available to 100 users at any one time and used Windows Media Player.
The project was further extended by two gallery installations at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). Phelan's Black Brain Radio was a continuation of his most recent large scale drawing projects, which explore the processes through which ideas or values enter into society. In a similar manner to the drawing projects, the listener was presented with an onslaught of regurgitated information, in this instance, reprocessed through the artist's voice presented as a series of confusing, disjointed, sound works. Black Brain Radio provided the listener with the opportunity to access through their own radio the core of Phelan's current practice, which is an exploration into the 'formation of opinion'.
In both Temple Bar Gallery and Studios and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) Phelan broadened the scope of understanding for his ideas through on-site installations that marketed the frequency for the station. Black Brain Radio was public art in the true sense of the phrase, yet the experience was accessible to people on an intimate and private scale. The radio represented a metaphysical gallery within peoples' own homes, their cars and their offices. Wherever there was access to a radio or the internet, it was possible to tune in and engage with Phelan's artistic practice on a personal level.
Garrett Phelan, a Dublin-based artist, has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally and has been involved in a number of groundbreaking projects that explore the relationship between radio and art. Phelan's most recent projects, NOW:HERE 2003, LUNGLOVE 2004 and GOD ONLY KNOWS 2005 were large-scale drawing installations presented through site-specific projects in non-gallery spaces including the Dublin Civic Offices as well as Manifesta 5, European Biennial in San Sebastian, Spain. The drawings are part of an extensive exploration into the formation of opinion, the first phase, including this radio project, focuses directly on 'reception of information'.
An in-depth forum discussion on alternative ways of considering radio and art happened over the morning of Friday 17 February 2006. The key speakers were Anna Colin from Resonance 104.4fm, London's first radio art station, Heidi Grundman from Kunstradio, Austria, Lorelei Harris, Features, Arts & Drama Editor with RTÉ Radio 1 and artist Garrett Phelan. The venue for this discussion was the Iirsh Museum of Modern art.
Black Brain Radio represented the first partnership between Temple Bar Gallery & Studios and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and was co-curated by Noel Kelly (TBG&S) and Seán Kissane (IMMA).