Later this month, more than 25 artists will bring new, experimental work to a 24 hour event in a remote, beautiful landscape in South West Scotland. Sanctuary 2017 is a free public art event that explores darkness and our ever changing relationship with technology. It takes place in the
Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park, a dark site with no Internet connection and no phone signal, offering a rare escape from communication technology.

One of the Sanctuary artists, Tim Shaw, is inviting contributions from the public to enable him to create new visual and sonic installations and performances specifically for the event. Tim is the first artist to use new online portal, REACH, which has been developedspecifically to enable art audiences to contribute online to pieces of work that are then installed or shown at the Sanctuary site. Contributions may arrive from all over the world via REACH, but people must travel to the Galloway site in order to witness them.

The material sent via REACH will create an archive of material which will be used by Tim Shaw in his artwork for Sanctuary 2017. He is interested in people’s experiences and definitions of darkness and is inviting the public to respond to questions about remoteness, darkness and quietness. People can send their images, audio files and video clips in response to the challenges posed on the REACH portal at reach.sanctuarylab.org

The three challenges:  ‘Document darkness’  ‘Record remoteness’  ‘Send silence

The REACH portal has been created and is supported thanks to funding from The Space, a digital commissioning and development organisation founded by the BBC and Arts Council England, and Creative Scotland. Responses may also be sent via Twitter, using #ReachDarkness #ReachRemoteness or #ReachSilence

For his new piece, Radio Television, Tim will set up two short-range radio masts with screens attached and transmit images via radio waves across the Dark Skies Park. People’s submitted images of darkness will be transmitted from tower to tower, across the site, turning into sound as they leave the first tower and becoming images once again as they reach the other tower. As they make the journey from tower to tower, the images are affected and distorted by all kinds of natural interference – the temperature and humidity at the site, the chosen broadcasting frequency and the ambient sound of the Park. These effects become clear as the image appears on the receiving radio tower screen.

Jo Hodges, co-curator of Sanctuary, said, “We are excited at the prospect of putting REACH into action and seeing material coming in from all over the world. The idea is very much about moving online to offline and that chimes particularly well with the ethos of Sanctuary. Contributing to the art works is easy, via the REACH portal, but to witness all of the varied online contributions and the ways in which Tim Shaw has worked with them, audiences need to make the decision to travel to the remote site.”

Tim Shaw said, “I am interested in experimenting with communication and connectivity, in order to
explore darkness and the idea that a break from technology is one way of ‘going dark’. Sanctuary is firmly off-grid. Some of us rely heavily on infrastructures like the internet; this work is a little glimpse into other forms of communication technologies. I am interested in natural distortion, relying on the precarious nature of radio as a creative medium for affecting and altering all sorts of material. While I have an idea in my head of how things will turn out, the final piece of artwork is completely reliant on the different types of material that I am sent between now and the start of the event. So, please, send me your responses!”

Taking place at the Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park, Sanctuary 2017 is a genuinely unique 24-hour public event. A free art laboratory, with installations, talks and workshops, the event began in 2013 as a place for off-grid experimentation in sound, radio, video and performance.

Among the highlights is the Dark Outside FM, a temporary, hyper-local radio station, transmitting sound across the site for 24 hours. There is no sound system at Sanctuary Lab; instead, visitors bring hand-held radios in order to tune into the broadcast, creating a diffused sound-space and a dynamic like no other. The artists involved will contribute never-before-heard sounds to the radio station. They will be broadcast at the site, for the first and last time, then destroyed and never heard again.

The Galloway Dark Skies Park is a specially designated area that is low in light pollution. Remote, beautiful and ‘electronically dark’, It is a sanctuary from both light pollution and world-wide connectedness. Sanctuary explores darkness and light with installations and performance, using both visible and nonvisible elements of the light spectrum. Sanctuary Lab is an experimental space to investigate ideas about our relationship with technology, amid a landscape beyond the networks’ reach.

Venue: Sanctuary 2017, Murrays Monument, Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries and Galloway DG8 7BL Dates: 12 noon Saturday 23 – 12 noon Sunday 24 September 2017
More information: sanctuarylab.org or [email protected]

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