aisling o'beirn
artist documentation site

installation shot

detail of crystal radio




crystal set 1995

EVA+ limerick city council
open award winner. curated by m de corall

Crystal set is a piece comprising of 10 copper wire ' vests ' made using fisherman's knot. These vests are linked together using copper wire which then links them to a home made crystal radio set. The vests in effect act as an aerial for the radio.

The piece is concerned with the importance of access to information and the nature of communication. The vests behave as almost figurative elements silently and discretely passing information from one to the next. Their co-operation renders the radio signals audible via the ear phone on the radio set. From a side view the vests become almost fence like, defining and outlining a territory. The radio punctuates this line of defense becoming almost a fullstop to the operation. The radio itself looks like some crude devise, whos purpose is initially unclear, in fact it is a very simple piece of technology taken from a children's ' how to make ' book.

The use of such simple strategies in such a technological age points perhaps to a necessity rather than a choice. It highlights the importance of information and its acquisition in times of duress, especially in cases where that information directly relates to the person deprived of it.

Particular examples of this might be the manufacture of such home made radio sets by allied prisoners during WW2, or as more recently in Irish history by prisoners in the late seventies and eighties trying to gain access as to how their actions were being covered by the media outside. This piece presents seemingly random information from local radio stations but in doing so has the possibility of alluding to harder facts.