The Speedie Telstar

TULCA Festival, Galway, Ireland 2013

Inspired by a research trip to the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland, at the Insight (formerly DERI) building at NUI Galway, the artists Tina O’Connell and Neal White used redundant technology parts, traditional painting and 3D printing to make a sculpture of the experimental satellite Telstar 2, launched into space in 1963. The Telstar satellites were the products of a multinational agreement to develop space communications and global television capabilities globally. It was Telstar that was used for the First Global Press Conference by John F Kennedy (Telstar 1 in 1962).

White and O’Connell’s sculpture of the satellite is effectively also a twin of sorts of a replica of the original Telstar at Bell Laboratories, now Alcatel-Lucent, in Blanchardstown, Dublin. The artist are also celebrating the work and enthhusiasm of local Galway hero, Brendan ‘Speedie’, otherwise known as Brendan Smith, co-founder and curator of the Computer and Communications Museumof Ireland, NUI Galway, and support his proposal to create a national communications science and technology museum. The Speedie Teslar was proposed as a future exhibit for this purpose, it has since been donated and will soon take a place in the Museum.

TULCA Curator Val Connor

Installation at Fairgreen, Galway, Ireland.
Speedie Telstar Sculpture; Original Front page of the New York Times following the Speedie Telstar Launch 1962; Assorted informational videos and propoganda on DVD. The Speedie Telster is a sculpture in aluminium and steel with a range of recent technologies and traditional techniques used to finish details, from 3d printing to watercolour for the solar panels. The sculpture is approxiamtely the size of the orginal at 30 inches diameter. The artists would like to thank Simon Butler and Paddy MacDonaghe for their help in the fabrication.

The Telstar Tour – TULCA Festival 2013
The Telstar Tour allows visitors to join an orbital bus tour within Galway city. The tour explores the historical and contemporary developments of information and communications technology in Ireland and globally. Celebrating the role of the enthusiasts who collect, maintain and educate this community about this critical history and its implications for the future, the short orbital tour took visitors offsite to reveal an outstanding local resource hidden inside the business park at the INSIGHT Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway.

The introduction and orientation for the each tour was given by Maeve O’Neill starting at Tulca Festival Gallery. On arrival at the Museum, Brendan Smith delivered the tour.