NXT creatives

Sinead Conlon

Ulster University

re:REM

Sinead Conlon's installation re:REM recontextualises a version of the REM Island broadcasting platform, built by a private Dutch company, Reclame Exploitatie Maatschappij company (R.E.M.), in Cork in Ireland. In 1964 the artificial island was erected in the North Sea off the coast of Noordwijk, Holland. Built specifically for broadcasting, the platform structure was supported by legs cemented to the seabed and was situated just beyond the three-mile limit of Dutch territorial waters. The platform's initial location allowed R.E.M. to escape the control of the Dutch state and to broadcast the pirate stations Radio and TV Noordzee for four months. re:REM reframes this narrative under a new guise. However, rather than occupying a fixed extra-territorial position, re:REM holds an intra-territorial position within the public gallery. Dominating the space is a large-scale, red and white, timber structure immediately recognisable as a version of the R.E.M. platform. Here the presence of a microphone, transmitter and a neon 'On The Air' sign signifies that a live broadcast is transmitting, inextricably involving its audience in what is essentially an illegal broadcast. In this way the audience assumes a double position, becoming both listener and broadcaster. A Dutch video translated to English plays on a loop on a television screen, giving a factual account of the original REM Island's popularity by providing statistical accounts of low share prices, by framing its historical context, and by outlining the narrative of its exploits as a capitalist venture.