Time is Away (Jack Rollo & Elaine Tierney) (UK/IE)
Residency period: May-July 2024
Based in London, Time is Away are a duo made up of British artist Jack Rollo (b. 1978) and Irish historian Elaine Tierney (b. 1983). Together, they explore artistic practices such as radio, research, sound art, and DJing. Resident on UK web radio NTS since 2013, their monthly show combines music with spoken word and field recordings to create a format that is part soundscape, part essay for the radio. Recognized for programming that defies categorization, their work is part of an ongoing reflection on the fragmentary, contingent, and slippery relationships between time, place, and power.
Their recent projects have explored disputed histories of urban and rural development, the “obsessive fear” of mass media, alternative models for arts and family education, the poetics of place, and the creation of radical institutions. Recent initiatives include their Arts Council England-supported solo exhibition Fable of the Bees at London’s Black Tower (2020), their sound piece Derek Jarman: Prospect Cottage 1989/90 which was broadcast at La Becque for the second Modern Nature program (2020), their episode Countercultural Bohemia as Prefiguration commissioned by London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA, 2021), and their mixtape A Voice Through a Cloud, which was created to resonate with an exhibition in the Parisian venue Lafayette Anticipations (2022).
For their project at La Becque, Rollo and Tierney will develop their Crystal Radio project, featuring a series of crystal receivers installed in the garden at La Becque. Operating without any external power source, crystal receivers were invented and popularized in the early 20th century to enable reception of radio waves from radio bands, notably for broadcasting messages during the First and Second World Wars. Very simple to build, crystal receivers have also enabled thousands of hobbyists to learn about electronics. Drawing on the technological properties of crystal receivers, Time is Away hope to create new sound works during their residency, based on the many invisible signals and telecommunication networks that saturate the Lake Geneva region. Between the intimacy of listening and low-tech, fragile, and obsolete technology, Time is Away’s Crystal Radio project will encourage users to listen carefully to the invisible, often inaudible relationships between landscape and technology, and to make connections that underline our social and environmental interdependence.
Time is Away (Jack Rollo & Elaine Tierney), photo Robin Silas Christian