A meditation on Japan.
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 is also designed as an installation for a single monitor or as a pagoda of vertically stacked monitors, each displaying the same source (premiered at The Kitchen in 1998). An exhibit of video stills from Radio Island is also available for exhibition.
Direction, production and primary postproduction by Van McElwee on all works.
These animations describe a set of monitor installations that were shown variously in the US and Europe in the 1990’s and 2000. Venues include: The Kitchen in New York, Gallery Trabant in Vienna, Argos Gallery in Brussels, Art Amsterdam, Art Brussels, Scope London, Art Frankfurt, The International short Film Festival in Lille, France, KunstZurich, Switzerland, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and St. Louis University Museum of Art.