Prelude to Nothing

A Tomb in its Silence (made in collaboration with Niamh Moriarty)

Photo by Andreas Kindler von Knobloch

A Tomb in its Silence (text)


Prelude to Nothing
Selected and devised works to mark a moment of finality

Kevin Atherton, Cormac Browne, Ruth Clinton, Brian Conniffe, Kevin A. Freeney, Kevin Kirwan, Andreas Kindler von Knobloch, Niamh Moriarty, Áine Stapleton, Suzanne Walsh, Tom Watt and Lee Welch

With accompanying text by Patricia Garcia and Tracy Hanna

Curated by David Fagan

29th of April 10.30pm – 2.15am
The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1

Spaces for this event are very limited.

****Please RSVP to****

Prelude to Nothing is a live event to mark the final hours before transmission of analogue satellite television channels to Europe will cease. The analogue satellite system is one which connected the planet with real-time audio and video. As time and technology has moved on, analogue satellite television has spent years in a limbo of sorts; a slow atrophic demise with an indefinite endpoint. Finally at 2am, at the end of our event, we will watch it slip away.

All satellite signals were once analogue; FM radio waves carrying audio and video 30,000 miles into space and back to earth. Information was sent, quicker and to more people. The thirst for connection to more of the world, which analogue satellite made possible, is ironically also the reason for the system’s demise. Satellite technology is now digitizing: television is chopped into ones and zeros, sent and reassembled in your home. Digital satellite television hosts more and varied information, is cheaper and ultimately has rendered the use of analogue quaint.

From its inception this technology was linked to a sense of the ‘nation state’, what it stands for and its connection to the international. Its history is punctuated by epic moments which seemingly shrank the globe. Our World in 1967 was the first global live television programme; 14 countries took the opportunity to showcase their cultural and scientific achievements to an unprecedented audience of 700 million viewers. On New Year’s Eve 1984, Nam June Paik created Good morning Mr Orwell, a ‘global variety show’, which saw live collaborations between artists in Seattle, New York and Paris. Events like these showed the awesome power of analogue satellite signals. The abandonment of analogue suggests a certain passivity in our relationship to technology, allowing situations to arise where a system can be simultaneously fully functional yet completely discarded.

When the end of analogue satellite broadcasting comes, the television set is to be the site of its death. Usually the site of content such as film and sport, which evoke a first person experience of narrative or events, the television is anthropomorphised and experienced in the third person. The set and the system become the ill-fated protagonist whose passing is witnessed by those present. For most of us, mortality is an unstable entity; we have little control over how and where we will cease to exist. We have, however, control and power over how we mark the death of others in time. The certainty of rituals such as funerals, wakes and vigils structure and therefore empower our relationship to death. Prelude to Nothing is such an event.

We will listen to music, we will watch dance and we will hear and see performance. We will watch television pictures delivered by analogue satellites signals until, when the time comes at 2AM, an arbitrary event out of our control will end our time together.

‘If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not.’ – Epicurus

This event is generously supported by The LAB and Dublin City Council Arts Office.



~ by Ruth A Clinton on April 26, 2012.

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