The shipping forecast is a radio broadcast by the BBC providing a vital set of data about sea conditions in the waters around the UK. To the non-maritime listener, the language used in it is poetic and obscure, as particular areas of water are named and concise descriptions of conditions issued, often in short, strange sounding but highly structured statements. The broadcasts carry a strong feeling of tradition. They are aired on BBC Radio 4, a conservative radio station, and despite the unfamiliarity of their language, give many listeners a strong sense of nostalgia and continuity in uncertain times.
Unanchored is a web-based software piece and installation that destabilises and highlights the associations and cultural meanings of the shipping forecast. Using the text of the most up-to-date shipping forecast, the piece transcribes the forecast into Morse code, and then using a blinking light, a typical but outmoded means of ship-to-ship communication, transmits the forecast into the land-locked gallery space. The colour of the transmitting lamp (actually a circular projected image from a computer) is averaged from a live webcam aboard the P&O ship Aurora, updated each minute when the ship is in satellite contact.
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