beacon.black is an acoustic experience designed to transport its audience through the desolate but striking landscape of Orford Ness and its history of listening to and transmitting sound.
Conceived by DJ and sound artist Brian d’Souza, this 24-hour radio station revives Orford Ness’s history of spying and signal jamming as well as capturing its current transmissions from migratory birds and the ever-present wind. beacon.black is home to an audio stream of augmented field recordings made on Orford Ness alongside a second stream exploring the history of surveillance and broadcast of the ‘island of secrets’.
This work is part of the exhibition Afterness, which can be visited on Orford Ness in the UK from 1 July until 30 October 2021 and online worldwide for much longer. Afterness is commissioned and produced by Artangel. Presented in partnership with the National Trust, Orford Ness.
- Beacon.black is conceived by Brian d’Souza, designed by Futurimpose and built by Phil Gyford.
- Audio streams powered by Open Ear Music.
- All stills photography by Johny Pitts. All moving image photography by Sam Cooper.
Audio stream 1
All audio composed by Brian d’Souza in Flo Studios, London.
Field Recording equipment used: 2x JrF C-Series contact microphones, 1 x Sennheiser MKH60 Microphone, 1x Zoom H6 Recorder. Studio equipment used: Yamaha CS-60, Theremin, Eventide H9, Hologram Microcosm, Roland RE-201 Space Echo, Novation Bass Station, Logic X.
- Lab 1: contact and shotgun microphones, rusty vent, paint flaking
- Beach: H6, waves
- Armoury Door: contact microphones on iron door
- Bomb Ballistics: contact and shotgun microphones, wind rushing through metal railings
- Shelter: shotgun microphone, wind
Audio stream 2
Field recordings made on Orford Ness by Chris Watson and Iain Chambers and recordings from The Conet Project archive, a compilation of shortwave radio transmissions used by the World’s intelligence agencies transmitted by hundreds of ‘Numbers Stations’ across Europe through the Cold War era.