Malose Malahlela, co-director of Keleketla Library, occupies the intangible site of a radio station entitled Dead Air. “People who are aware when they begin to mind wonder score significantly higher on various tests of creativity and divergent thinking” Jonah Lehrer
Dead Air is an experiment of sound in space and as a fictional radio station. The interactive installation explored sound as a means of departure to daydreams or molding of fantasies. It examined how sound generated by the everyday world can in its monotony be a portal to a fantasy world. Complex noises such as densely populated urban spaces where sound is generated by millions of people and objects can still reach a point of monotony, in which all sounds blend into one. Furthermore, Dead Air explored how an external sound that exists in reality can insert itself into a dream/fantasy, thus creating a link between the two worlds. A dream state remains constant until an alien sound disrupts the monotonous sound that comforts/shocks the fantasy world, synonymous to a rude awakening stimulated by a radio alarm.
Dead Air is conceived and produced for, and aired on, a non-existent channel. The sound component is produced from field recordings, found sound, interviews, music, improvised sounds and audio extracts from films. Dead Air evokes a sense of parallel worlds through reference to fantasy products and spaces including but not limited to dice games or storytelling.
In the gallery the radio station was presented as an interactive sound installation where the audience was invited to ponder on and respond to the question ‘What do you daydream about?’ The responses were integrated into the installation, an appropriation of a radio call-in. The responses from the question are fascinating as private and public declarations of goals, love, career aspirations, creation, fantasy spaces and faraway places. I recorded the responses, edited and paired the audio clips with elements from the original sounds prepared for the exhibition. The background rumbles and mumbles references, a live element captured in the recording process, further emphasizing the psyche’s ability to compartmentise sound, only to be used as a portal to other worlds and dreamstates.