Radio Ga Ga. A celebration of wireless communication
Before the days of Skpe, t'internet or even mobile phones (yes there was such a time) there were a few hardy souls who still managed to communicate across great distances and foreign lands, without a broadband connection.
Amateur or ‘Ham’ radio as we know it has been knocking about for quite a while, in fact it can be traced back to the early 20th century. It remains a staunch hobby for millions worldwide though, with an estimated 58,000 strong user base in the UK alone. It's refreshing to see that amongst the constantly shifting world of tech and communications, amateur wireless radio still holds a place close to the heart of many on this planet.
To celebrate the noble heritage of amateur radio, A Sheffield Hallam student and artist has curated a new exhibition called ‘Wireless Worlds’ which will focus on the birth and growth of wireless radio, showcasing some interesting bits and bobs from Sheffield’s Amateur Radio Club – also scheduled is the showing of Esther Johnson’s thought provoking documentary on Gerald Wells, the man who founded the British Vintage Wireless Musesum. The film portrait focuses on detailing the love and awe Wells felt for the power of wireless communication – something we arguably take for granted in this I-dominated world. So, the next time you pick up your I-pad/pod/phone/dog – have a little think for blokes such as Gerald who once could only dream of such gadgetry.
The British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum celebrates the rich history of wireless communication, way back when communicating over the waves with somebody in a distant place was something of awe and stature, not something we did whilst having our tea. Gerald Wells was a lifelong wireless enthusiast, who nicked his first radio in 1943, not to sell for a profit, but because he was fascinated by the world of the wireless. Consequent to this act he was branded as a right little tinker and sent to a home for unruly lads. It was realised later that Gerald was not a thief but a young man with a huge passion and talent for anything electronic, he went in to the wireless trade and the rest and all of the above will be covered in detail by Esther Johnson's loving constructed film portrait 'Analogue Kingdom'.
So, regardless of whether you are a wireless whiz or think that bandwidth is something that measures pop groups. Make sure you pop down to the Sheffield Institute of Arts between Friday Mar 8 – Saturday Apr 20. It is based in the cantor building on the SHU city campus or Arundel Street for those of you unaquainted with familiar student haunts.
For more info on the Sheffield Institute of Arts gallery you can drop Tim Machin a line here.