1997 | 17:19

In Buddhist architecture, the pagoda symbolizes Nirvana, the state of enlightenment. In Radio Island, this metaphor is expanded to include the entire built environment and the whole of ordinary consciousness. Mutating images of ancient and modern Japanese structures develop within a complex electronic score of radio signals and data transmission. Unusual editing techniques weave these images and sounds into a dense field of improvisation. The resulting texture becomes the raw material for totally new forms. Through a sea of noise, Radio Island charts a course from architecture to music; from the referential to the absolute.

“Radio Island takes the architecture of pagodas and broadcast towers, drawing staccato analogies between these transmitters of enlightenment.” – Steve Seid, Curator, University Art Museum, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley California

“In Radio Island, McElwee enlightens while he tightens.” – Marieke Van Hal, The Worldwide Video Festival, Amsterdam

“Power lines become like organic branches and pagodas pulsate with an inner life.” – TL Reid, Afterimage