‘The Earth is Our Radio’ brings together seven international artists whose works are informed and inspired by peripheral urban environments, transmitting a gritty sense of what it means to live in neglected or overlooked areas. Narratives such as regeneration, territory and displacement are explored through diverse artistic practices. By re-appropriating the aesthetics, materials and culture associated with these settings, the artists are investigating new ways of representing place, or more fittingly ‘non-place’.
Mike Ballard’s work explores thresholds that define public/private space ,where hoardings and manhole covers provide the framework for sculptures and formalist paintings. Atelier Pica Pica are a collective who often use found or industrial materials to create paintings and constructions of outwardly simple design. Fredeeric Plateus’ sculptures appear to fuse the vernacular of sign writing with scifi space travel using highly finished synthetic materials such as PVC and car paint. EB Itso is known for his documentation and social commentary on living outside social conventions in neglected or hidden underworlds. Ziggy Grudzinskas’ compositions combine drawing with materials used in graffiti, transforming the vernacular of tagging into an abstract language of painterly gestures. Marcin Dudek’s installations and performances combine autobiographical elements with the architecture of mass spectacle, mundane spaces with gaffer tape tunnels and other radical architectural interventions. Rob Chavasse poetically explores notions of urbanisation from unusual and lateral perspectives, where a remote control car becomes both explorer and performer.
The exhibition bares an anti-landscape or anti-picturesque approach, where urban concerns are not ossified and romanticised but revealed through visual codes and transmissions, reflecting the perpetual transformations of the environments they speak of. The themes resonate with KARST’s industrial and ‘re-claimed’ heritage. The building is sited among now encroaching development and so-called regeneration, playing an involuntary role in this process. Thus, the exhibition presents a utopia which defies social conventions; impoverished and dysfunctional, yet defiant and critical. Presented here are the artists as receivers, deciphering and recoding their respective environments, transmitting it back to the viewer through new modes for reception and consideration.