HAPPIDROME ONE showcased the work of Sara Bowler, Elizabeth Masterton, Steven Paige, Paul Ridout and Alison Sharkey in a disused WW2 radar station located on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall.
The building and its environs were major catalysts in the development of their ideas. The raw nature of the place provided an ideal environment to present experimental work, providing a platform for the artists to actively engage with their audience both critically and physically.
Delivered with the support of Natural England (who manage the site as part of the national nature reserve at Goonhilly Downs), the exhibition temporarily animated the redundant building over two weekends in July. For more images from this event, see our Flickr site
Elizabeth Masterton’s ‘Radar Ramble’ took place at 4pm on Sunday 8 July and Sunday 15 July. Participants met at the Receiver Block (the main indoor exhibition space) for some radar themed talking and walking.
Sara Bowler has based much of her work since 2003 on the archaeological record of the British Isles. Her interest was in the indigenous plants of Cornwall, now often regarded as weeds in stark contrast to the more vibrant exotics that flourish in the county. These small, often unremarkable plants, have informed her work for Happidrome One took the form of a short DV animation and large scale drawings complemented by an audio tour along the tracks and paths surrounding the building.
Elizabeth Masterton presented a participatory installation, relating to aspects of the WW2 incarnation of the site as an RAF radar station. Visitors were responsible for powering the artwork. She also led a ‘Radar Ramble’ around parts of the site detailing some of her research into its WW2 history. Both works were part of wider, ongoing research into fallible systems.
Project supported by Robotmother Ltd.
Steven Paige’s current preoccupation is in exploring the notion of the specialist, hobbyist, the authorial or misinformed and how practical everyday notions of expert are precarious.
For Happidrome One, Steven explores the amateur nature of the radio hobbyist, forming a radio club for the duration of the exhibition, setting out and demonstrating how an individual can create their own radio set and explore the immediate environs of Building 51 to find transmissions emanating from strategic positions on site.
A WINDOW IN HISTORY AND LANDSCAPE
Site 16, the remaining walls of a former radar building, will be transformed with reference to the Cornwall Archaeology Unit’s recommendations and made the container for a sound and light installation. The work will rely upon the elements for its effect. Reflective objects, termed ‘window’ in radar circles, are used as an interference inducing mechanism. Quantities of aluminium shard, when dropped from a single decoy plane, would show up as many planes and confuse the radar operators. In this instance all the confusion will be contained and ordered within a building that may once have received it.
Alison Sharkey’s work for the past three years has been preoccupied with the ‘redundant’ landscape, how remnants of past occupation can be read, interpreted and re-imagined. This has developed from using large-scale painting into creating playful and disruptive interventions in the sites themselves.
For more images from this event, see our Flickr site