I Wish to Communicate With You 2017
HD film (20'00"); slideshow (50 images); signal flag installations at FACT, Bidston Lighthouse; pencil on paper (1450x2700mm)
I Wish to Communicate With You maps the different sites and technologies relating to the old Liverpool and Bidston Observatories, linking them to their current legacies such as the National Oceanographic Centre at Liverpool University. Yu-Chen Wang’s unique style of drawing renders a network of places, communities, and instruments as a vast evolving assemblage. Flags, installed by the artist at FACT and atop the Bidston Lighthouse and Bidston Observatory, depict her own designs for reworking traditional semaphore signals for the 21st century.
Wang’s flags echo the 18th century merchant’s signalling system used to mark the arrival of their vessels, reawakening Bidston’s 200 year history as a site of flag-based communication. Local lore tells of sailors’ wives watching for the hoisting of flags, to mark when their loved ones might return safely home.
Wang had been in residency at Metal, Edge Hill, for two months during the exhibition, developing an accompanying film project which was screened at FACT, and delivering observational drawing workshops at FACT.
22 Jun - 01 Oct 2017
3 Jul - 29 Sep 2017
Future Station: Yu-Chen Wang Talk
8 Aug 2017
I Wish to Communicate With You film premiere
27 Sep 2017
Commissioned by FACT, I Wish to Communicate With You was first presented as part of The New Observatory, a collaborative exhibition co-produced by FACT and the Open Data Institute (ODI) brings together an international group of artists whose work explores new and alternative modes of measuring, predicting, and sensing the world today through data, imagination and other observational methods.
Liverpool has its own unique history of observatories with the Liverpool and Bidston Observatories, which began observations in 1845 and 1867, monitoring natural phenomena from the stars to the sea, creating and using bespoke scientific instruments. Taking this as a key reference point, artists in The New Observatory ingeniously explore how data, devices, and networks once exclusive to scientists are now part of our everyday lives.
The New Observatory responds to the challenges of standardisation in an increasingly technologically-mediated world. It offers a space where the predictability of things is challenged, where logic may fail, and where that failure can create space for new possibilities.
By conjuring new and untold stories, from the personal to the political, micro to macro, abstract numbers are transformed into tactile and immersive artworks: personal health records are metamorphosed into digitally printed seashells, the data of divorce is reassessed, soft robotics visualise the social structures of micro-chipped naked mole rats, open source ground stations trace the constellations of satellites that circle the earth, and animatronic face masks replay covert recordings of NSA employees.
It invites visitors to consider how everyday life is a subject of observation in which we all perform as our own micro-observatories, or ‘observatories of ourselves’. It asks us to reassess our roles as active citizens within a ‘surveillance’ culture, where the infrastructure that surrounds and enables our lives is both physical and digital, and to forge more meaningful, critical or intimate relationships with the data landscapes we inhabit.
Curated by Hannah Redler Hawes (ODI) and Sam Skinner, the exhibition includes interactive works, installations, sound, film, photography, critical design projects, drawing and mixed media by Burak Arikan, Wafaa Bilal, Natasha Caruana, James Coupe, Phil Coy, Thomson & Craighead, Julie Freeman, Citizen Sense, David Gauthier, Interaction Research Studio, Rachel Jacobs, Jackie Karuti, Kei Kreutler, Libre Space Foundation, Stanza, Liz Orton, Proboscis (Giles Lane and Stefan Kueppers), Jeronimo Voss, and Yu-Chen Wang.
Supported by Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, Department of Culture Affairs, Taipei City Government and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Film co-scriptwriter: Nathan Jones, actor: Stephen Pickles, Billy, voiceover: Bethany Mullen, Christopher Dukes, camera: Nicholas Farrimond, editor: Pierre Vella, sound design: Capitol K, research assistant: Christina Brennan. With thanks to Mike Stubbs (FACT), Stephen and Mandy Pickles (Bidston Lighthouse), Bidston Observatory, Valerie Doodson and Sylvia Asquith (former tide predicting machine operator), Judith Wolf, John Huthnance, Philip Woodworth, Elizabeth Bradshaw and Craig Corbett (National Oceanography Centre) and Andy Newsam (National Schools' Observatory). Archive courtesy of National Oceanography Centre Liverpool, Bidston Lighthouse, Bidston Observatory, Liverpool Central Library, Merseyside Maritime Museum, the World Museum.