License article

The boat that rocks

There's a new radio station in town and it's offering something more unique than mystery sounds and non-stop blocks of rock. As part of the Museum of Contemporary Art's reopening this Thursday, Celestial Radio will broadcast a psychedelic soundscape of music and experts discussing Sydney's aquatic life from a mirror-covered yacht floating on the harbour. Visitors can pick up a portable radio from the MCA or tune in with their own to 95.4FM.

''We were really inspired by the offshore pirate radio in the UK in the mid-'60s,'' says English artist Neil Bromwich, who, along with partner Zoe Walker, launched their first glittering boat off the English coast eight years ago. ''We like the idea of something being outside of society and the ability to be independent and free-spirited.''

Celestial Radio serves as the literal flagship for the MCA's spectacular new art program, which coincides with the site's $53 million, 19-month renovation and the addition of a dramatic black-and-white wing. It also represents a new focus on interactive performance art.

In coming months, visitors can experience artists posing around the gallery in live art ''scenes'' (Julie-Ann Long's Val, The Invisible, April 7-23), undertake nude gallery tours after hours (led by artist Stuart Ringholt, April 27-29) or witness the United Nations assembly recreated with 47 live dachshund dogs (Bennett Miller's Dachshund U.N., June 2).

The MCA's launch this Thursday will be celebrated by a four-day program that includes talks with international artists, speed debating, family art workshops and the southern hemisphere premiere of Christian Marclay's The Clock, a 24-hour video collage pieced together from thousands of film excerpts.


Opens Thursday 10am-9pm, Friday-Wednesday 10am-5pm, 140 George Street, The Rocks, mca.com.au, free, some ticketed events - check website.