National Portrait
[the last transmission]

site specific installation for the Bluecoat gallery, Liverpool, Dec 5th 2009 - Jan 17th 2010

In Liverpool, on the 1st December 2009 the analogue TV signal was turned off at midnight.

The installation records the sound of the very last 24hrs of the five analogue terrestrial TV channels as they were broadcast live across the city.  This forms a sound portrait of a day in the life of Britain, and reveals how we define ourselves through our channel hopping mass media. It celebrates the first generation of television history at the switching point between analogue and digital culture.

In the gallery five TV cabinets and the surrounding walls the are boldly painted with vertical test card stripes in red green blue black & white. The cabinets frame a  collection of classic old TV sets with a black & white pulsing screen.. Each TV plays the sound of a whole days broadcast from one of the terrestrial channels, 120 hours of audio in all. This is cut up into 1000 random length clips that are played back in shuffle mode, producing a varied series of sound bites. Across the five sets this produces a cascade of jump cut sound sentences ricocheting around the gallery. News bulletins blend with reality shows, as childrens tv collides with late night programming. An infinite remix of a portrait of the nation . . .





- Edition of 40 artist multiples -

24 hour Audiofile Album housed in TV remote control
1000 x MP3's on an exposed USB circuit board
gift wrapped in a TV listings page

> Play back in shuffle mode on the move <

Released by ::Room40:: [Australia] August 2011

Exclusive distribution by ::Room40:: [Australia] sold out, Boomkat [UK] sold out, Experimedia [US] sold out

An edition of 7 signed copies available from the audiOh! Kiosk - gift wrapped in TV listiings pages.

Boomkat say : "we've had some pretty interesting formats here over the years, but this one is just in a league of its own"



available here


Photo Essay of the Exhibition



Recording the 5 x 24hr audio tracks in the appartments next to the gallery



Making of the installation soundtrack

Each 24hr soundfile was processed by chopping it up into 1000's of small sections by hand by the volunteer Bluecoat team.



Each of the TV's presented in their cabinets

24hrs of BBC1 cut ups

24hrs of BBC2 cut ups

24hrs of ITV cut ups

24 hrs of Channel Four cut ups

24 hrs of Channel 5 cut ups





Download project pages from the catalogue below

National Portrait forms part of the Retrospective exhibition 'Janek Schaefer : Sound Art'
5th Dec 2009 to 17th jan 2010 : More info and catalogue available here