Wave Farm Artist-in-Residence: Kate Donovan
"The Bespoke Headpiece" is a radio myth; one that is imagined to date back millennia. The story has travelled orally through generations of those who have lived in locations where the Aurora Borealis reveals itself, and where some women could not only see the illuminated sky, but could also hear the phenomenon. As part of a coming of age ritual girls would spend three nights alone with the Aurora night sky, wearing custom headdresses fashioned as receiving antennas, constructed of natural materials and designed to amplify the reception of sound. Folklore tells of this rite of passage, where reception was so acutely tuned that the young women alone in the night could hear voices of the deceased and the unborn. It is said that these voices provided guidance and support as the girls began their journey into adulthood.
Kate Donovan is a radio artist/practitioner, facilitator and researcher based in Berlin. Her artistic practice deals with radio in an elemental sense, in terms of frequency, transmission and interconnectedness. Her editorial and organizational work in free and community radio fosters inclusion, diversity, and experimentation. With questions of science-fact, the imagined, physical immersion and the “environment” in mind, her research (and in turn, her practice) is an exploration of radio as a natural phenomenon, an artistic medium, and a site for resistance.