Call and Response

In 2009, telegraph operators Steve and Richard opened the closed doors of the historic Marconi transmitting station in Point Reyes, California, ten years after the last commercial Morse signal was sent out. They began transmitting into the ether, this time with the knowledge that probably no one would be out there listening and writing back. When asked over breakfast why they continued, even when no ships were calling in, Richard observed, “Even if there were no ships out there, we’d be keeping the faith."

Call and Response (2011) documents Johnson's performance of sending fifty Morse Code messages. On one channel, her hands feed the messages (created using a Teletype machine that punches Morse code into strips of paper) through a transmitting machine. The second channel follows with the sea in its unending response.

 
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 Installation view, Worth Ryder Gallery, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Installation view, Worth Ryder Gallery, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA