ON AIR was commissioned by the Open University to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Harold Wilson’s University of the Air speech. Four artists were commissioned, one in each of the UK’s component nations, each with a different remit in terms of the academic knowledge to be represented. I was selected to make the work for the English commission, the theme of which was Design and Technology.
I conceived ON AIR as a multi-channel sound installation that would form an acoustic layer throughout the campus. I wanted to present fragments of the knowledge, ideas and voices of the Open University floating throughout the campus – as though vestiges of the output of the OU are always present on the air currents throughout the site and are made temporarily audible by the work. By using a large number of hidden sound sources, the work would completely transform the experience of the space without visual trace.