Technology anthropologist and sound artist team up for major digital festival commission

Sound artist Wesley Goatley (left) and technology anthropologist Georgina Voss brought planes, trains and cargo ships to a Brighton gallery as part of the Brighton Digital Festival.

A technology anthropologist and a sound artist from the University of Sussex have collaborated on a ‘major commission’ for the UK’s biggest digital festival.

Georgina Voss and Wesley Goatley will be bringing planes, trains and cargo ships to a Brighton gallery after receiving an £8,000 commission from the Brighton Digital Festival.

Familiars’, an exhibition running at Brighton’s Lighthouse gallery from 7-20 September, will use information from the harbours, airport control towers and railway hubs around Brighton to expose the hidden logistics infrastructure that surrounds us.

A large-scale projected map on the gallery floor will display the movements of nearby ships, trains and planes in real time, while sounds of shipping and air traffic control will follow these movements through the gallery.

Goatley, a practicing artist and recent MA student in Music and Sonic Media at Sussex, explains: “The vessels that make up this system often operate at great distance from us. It’s a system that is constantly in motion yet somewhat hidden, with a very material impact on our lives.

“Familiars appeals to anyone interested in experiencing these huge and hidden networks surrounding us.”

Voss, a graduate and Fellow of SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit - whose work explores technology, politics, and culture, adds: “We were keen to explore ways to materialise and make familiar these enormous and complex systems for both traditional arts audiences, and wider communities, particularly around technology, engineering, and infrastructures”.

The pair were awarded one of Brighton Digital Festival’s major Arts & Technology Commissions, earmarked for “ambitious interdisciplinary work that explores the intersection of arts, technology, and society”.

Goatley explains: “we both have individual interdisciplinary practices that critically examine technology, culture, and society, so this collaboration has been very rewarding.”

Goatley and Voss will be joined by writer Alice Bell and artist Ingrid Burrington for an evening of talks and films at Lighthouse on 12 September, ‘Unfamiliar Matter’, which will reflect on the politics, power, visibility, and familiarity of infrastructures and systems.

Lighthouse is a digital culture agency and gallery in Brighton’s North Laine that supports, commissions and exhibits work by artists and filmmakers.

Goatley has been awarded a scholarship to become one of the Sussex Humanities Lab’s first PhD students.

The Sussex Humanities Lab is a new interdisciplinary research programme at the University that explores what it means to study the humanities in the digital age.

Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2018