- Josh Bonnetta
Strange Lines and Distances is a two-channel audiovisual installation focusing on Guglielmo Marconi's first transatlantic radio broadcast. The work is inspired by Marconi's belief that sound never diminishes, but rather grows incrementally fainter and fainter. He believed that with an adequately sensitive receiver, one could amplify the echoes of history. Strange Lines and Distances looks at and listens to the past, revisiting Marconi's original transmission sites in order to explore the hauntological aspects of radio and landscape. The installation invites a consideration of the monumental impact of the first wireless transmission, and explores the medium's potential to conflate and fragment both space and time. Strange Lines and Distances takes its title from a passage in Francis Bacon's utopian text New Atlantis, in which Bacon imagines a futuristic society's culture, politics, history and media. In contradistinction, Strange Lines and Distances moves backwards, retrospectively exploring the invention of radio while looking for echoes and historical intimations of the past within the present.
Strange Lines and Distances'
dual channels represent the transmission site in Poldhu Cove, U.K. and
the receiving site at Fever Hospital, St. John's, NL. Each historical
site is documented using 16mm colour negative film. The sonic
composition was created from site-specific field recordings, shortwave
and longwave radio recordings and archival material. Mired in static
and atmospheric interference, the recordings exist as fragmentary
spectres of outport beacons, noise, musical passages and human voice.
Visually, each channel contains imagery that resonates and rhymes with
the opposing channel in terms of shape, line, colour, light and optical
geometry. Through a visual examination of the sites' topographical
similarities, the work plays with the juxtaposition of landscape,
architectural ruins, flora, and geological and meteorological
phenomena. The images unfold as a series of long shots, and this play
with duration creates a montage that asks the spectator to consider
distance and the poetics of form.
Shown with Bonnetta's American Colour (2011, 24 mins). "Joshua Bonnetta's American Colour (note the bi-national spelling), was shot on old rolls of 16mm Kodachrome during a pilgrimage from the stock's birthplace in upstate New York to Kansas, where its final rolls were processed earlier this year. Like a postscript to [Tacita] Dean's Kodak, American Colour explores Kodachrome's historic use and singular hues, doing so with digital means in the wake of its obsolescence." (Andréa Picard, Toronto International Film Festival)
Bonnetta is an artist working with film, video and sound in various modes of theatrical exhibition, performance and installation. His work has shown at the Berlinale, Toronto International Film Festival, European Media Arts Festival, Images Festival, Mutek International Festival of Electronic Music, Rotterdam International Film Festival and at various other festivals and venues through out Europe, U.K., Russia, North & South America. He is the two-time winner of the Deluxe Cinematic Vision Award for excellence and visual innovation (2010, 2012) and the 2009 winner of the National Film Board of Canada Award to the Best Emerging or Mid-career Canadian Film or Video Maker from the Images Festival. His soundtracks have been released by the Milan based Senufo Editions and forthcoming on U.S. label Experimedia. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Arts, Studies and Sciences at Ithaca College.