Mixed media installation QSL, made in collaboration with sound-artist Jason E Geistweidt, addresses issues of climate change and local weather patterns. Building on current radio-art and telematic-media practices, QSL utilises automated photography, analog-data transmission protocols and radio-marine faxes to look at localised climate conditions. Seasonal and site-specific, the installation conducted a time-based performance that oscillated between live and archival images of ice formations to discuss our planet’s past, present and future.
The installation consisted of eight remote cameras with small single-board computers staged within Buffalo’s Lighthouse on the edge of Lake Erie. Positioned a week before the Buffalo Blizzard in December 2022 which made international news, the cameras captured, encoded, and transmitted environmental data driven by the lake effect process – which produces more than half the region’s annual snowfall and lake ice.
QSL mimics the function of a lighthouse as a point of alert by emitting dots of flashing light into the ether, while simultaneously transforming this beacon into a camera. Over the course the winter the lighthouse received and transmitted lake-drive data to Rivalry Projects in an effort to map and understand systems of accumulation and depletion tied to this region’s environment. Images from the cameras were converted and dispatched via slow-scan analog signal (WEFAX) and broadcast into the gallery. These transmissions materialised as panoramic images printed by two radio-fax machines placed within the Project Space.
Mounted on the wall and slowly printing line by line, the WEFAX will continuously unfurl the accumulated landscapes in an evolving legacy of image-based climate data. Erratic image transmissions, as they seesaw between historic storm images, weather maps and immediate landscape captures, produced a live performance that creatively explores the significance of our current climate as well as our unpredictable future. Reminders of automation, intention and distance are constant as the photograph (as signal) is converted into a real-time RF transmission and subject to radio-frequency interference.
As a radio shorthand “QSL” is a call and response confirmation of signal reception. As an inquiry QSL asks "Have you received the transmission?" while as a statement QSL verifies “Transmission received.”
The Buffalo Lighthouse, a sloping conical tower constructed from limestone and cast iron, was erected in a mere 221 days with a project completion date of 1833. The lighthouse was active from 1833-1914, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. By utilizing this site as a point of transmission and reception, QSL reifies the function of lighthouses as a point alert, emitting dots of flashing light into the ether.
made with support from Wavefarm’s 2022 Media Arts Assistance Fund for Artists