The Little People in the Radio present….

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Ràdio Web MACBA project | INTERRUPTIONS #20
Curated by Anna Friz
The Little People In The Radio present…

Listen or download here:

A podcast from the “Interruptions” series, riffing on the anachronistic childhood fantasy of the little people who live inside the radio and perform all the voices and sounds heard. Turn on the radio, the little people begin to talk; change the station, and they change their voices. Most basically an exploration of the uses and misuses of the trope of the radio host, taken from archival material, scans of the dial and excerpts of works by radio artists, mixed into a landscape of radiophonic interceptions and interfrequency radio sounds. The result is an investigative bricolage that considers the environment, morphology and taxonomy of the little people inside the radio.

Read more:

Many thanks to Radio Web MACBA and all the artists for making this podcast possible!

The end is just pretend

PublicStudio_ZeroHour_2015When my long-time Toronto collaborators Public Studio (Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky) approached me to compose sound for their latest video installation entitled Zero Hour, I was completely prepared for the task, having worked on several audio and radio art pieces around the atomic clock with several working titles including The Zero Hour. I also had a recording of the atomic clock (as broadcast internationally on shortwave frequencies) intoning the so-called zero hour, or 0:00:00 – 0:59:59 Coordinated Universal Time. So it’s a pleasure to be taking this sound work into new audiovisual territories!

The new work was commissioned for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in Toronto, coming up this weekend from sundown on October 3 to sunrise on October 4, 2015. The installation will be set up at 90 Queen’s Park in front of the Planetarium, and features a 360 degree dome projection with surround sound. Here’s what it’s all about:

ZERO HOUR: Public Studio with Etel Adnan, Carol Weinbaum, Josh Schonblum, Han Yang, Anna Friz, Lili Huston-Herterich

Apocalyptic prophecies reflect a coming to an end but are also revelatory, disclosing a kind of truth. While modernity gave rise to a new cluster of apocalyptic narratives, our post 9/11 world faces anxieties that have generated new utopian and dystopian accounts looking for answers.

While tales of the apocalypse clutter and disorder all histories from the Americas through the Arab world, each have their distinct voice – all of them can be reconnected to struggles against an outside force – a state terror that has had disastrous effects on lands and lives – from economic ruin to climactic devastation.

Zero Hour gathers the cosmos and reflects not the stars of the northern hemisphere, but rather the weather it has disrupted and the words that come back in protest.

In Zero Hour, Public Studio invites renowned artist Etel Adnan – Lebanese essayist, painter, poet and philosopher, whose works include The Arab Apocalypse, Premonition and Sea and Fog – to work in collaboration creating a newly commissioned poem set to a video projection on a dome, of current weather patterns and climactic disturbances taking place in the southern hemisphere.

Ascend into air, fall into water


Last spring I made a radio art piece for Radio Arts UK entitled Two Sleeps, which was an oneiric journey through imagined landscapes, and the tendency in my dreams of ascending and descending through air and water. This time around it was much more basic: the plane takes off from the fog and murk of East Iceland, soars over the pack ice around Labrador and descends into another fog bank near Santa Cruz, California.  From air to earth, but actually to water–though there’s drought here, the ocean is the nearest and most impressive body around.

My new appointment here at UC Santa Cruz is keeping me busy, but some additional shows are coming up fast: even as we speak I’m madly finishing the audio for Public Studio‘s new 360 degree video installation entitled Zero Hour, to be presented at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche on October 3-4, 2015; and a brand new audio-visual performance Fjarðarheiði created with Konrad Korabiewski and presented by Skálar | Sound Art | Experimental Music at the Festival de nouveau cinéma in Montréal, October 10, 2015.

Look out for misc. colloquia in the central California area to be announced shortly as well… and when not teaching students about the glories of listening and making noise, I’ll be out and about, loitering about the waterfront…





The Icelandic Space Program


From our travels around the northeast corner of planet Iceland…

….back in East Iceland, doing some photography/sound recording/materials gathering together with Konrad Korabiewski during the foggy days and the all-night twilight. Moonscapes: check. Half expecting other planets to rise over the mountains. Contrary to the calendar, summer seems to be giving Iceland a miss, so it’s all wet wool all the time around here. We’re heading up to the Langanes Peninsula for a work period later this month, once the mechanics have finished sprucing up Konrad’s mighty Volvo Laplander.

While in Montréal last month, Emmanuel Madan and I finished the stereo mix of The Joy Channel version 3, our radio art play exploring the future of radio where the airwaves are used to transmit emotions. We mastered at Oboro, with the good ears of Stéphane Claude to weigh in, and the work will be released as part of a new transmission art series on the strange and wonderful west coast label IO. sound later this year.

Currently working on an episode for Radio MACBA Interruptions on the ‘little people’ who live inside the radio (not to be confused with Icelandic faeries, but perhaps they are relatives…), and a composition for 10″ vinyl release through Skálar | Sound Art | Experimental Music entitled The Eternal Cuckoo.


My travel to undertake artistic research in Iceland this summer is generously supported by a grant from Canada Council for the Arts, Media Arts Division.


Endless Love: All Transistor Model

Endless Love: All Transistor Model
is a 12-hour durational performance/sound installation conceived by Karine Denault, Anna Friz, and Dana Gingras. We had a red-lit love-soaked premiere of the work overnight on June 20-21, 2015 from 20:30-8:30, at Stable, Montréal, during the 24-hour art event Endless Love. Two dancers, 30 transistor radios, 3 frequencies, 4 auxiliary audio channels and a giant disco ball, for that immersive full-body love effect.

The performers (Karine Denault and Dana Gingras) move through an installation of mid-century AM/FM transistor radio receivers set upon the floor, with four open cone speakers attached to radiators on the surrounding walls. They tune, re-tune, and de-tune across the nighttime landscape and the radio dial, searching for songs of love. They slow dance together, and with others in the audience; they sleep in the radio city troubled by fitful dreams and nightmares; they seek resuscitation and connection through minimal gestures and concrete interaction with the radios and each other. Time lurches unevenly through the night. The heart in crisis requires action, even if union is temporary, fragile, or only glimpsed but never realized.


The radio landscape is responsive to the bodies of performers and visitors alike: several micro-watt FM transmitters narrowcast a drunken, time-stretched version of a love ballad, as well as static, textures, heterodyne hums and signals, creating a physical soundscape that is constantly acted on and disrupted by the slipping frequencies and electrical interference between devices and the dancers’ moving bodies. Bodies serve as antennas, and receivers become transmitters.

Sound artist and designer Anna Friz further engages the radiophonic field, by changing the scenography of radios and lights periodically from one sculptural ‘set’ to another, as well as modulating and manipulating the incoming and outgoing signals, with a focus on feedback and making the circumstances of transmission audible. In this way the radios act as the sound system, as the moveable scenography, and as collaborating performers, as the devices themselves produce unexpected sounds.


the all transistor model

Home Radiation

Live set by Anna Friz, Jeff Kolar and Eric Leonardson, from the Defibrillator Gallery, Chicago IL May 15, 2015.

Home Radiation in Chicago


Jeff Kolar, Eric Leonardson and I are playing Friday May 15, 2015 in Chicago, at the Defibrillator Gallery
1463 West Chicago Ave,  Chicago IL 60642  19:00

Two of my favourite people to play with and collaborate with! Here’s what we’re up to:

Home Radiation
Performing with radiophonic instruments, unique homemade electronics, micro-watt transmitters, and re-purposed objects, Anna Friz, Jeff Kolar and Eric Leonardson create intimate atmospheres traversing acoustic and electrode-magnetic space. Together their work can be characterized as a mindful collaboration with vibrational surfaces and unstable circuits; and with subtle treatments of potentially noisy, often lo-fi materials from which highly detailed landscapes emerge. Though all three artists have worked with one another in various constellations in Chicago and internationally, this concert is their premiere outing as a trio.

In addition to Eric’s Springboard instrument, Jeff’s panoply of open circuit micro-transmitters, and my little table full of feedback oddities, I’ll be bringing along an old friend to make some noise:


Telefunken Twins Redux


Telefunken Twins by Anna Friz and Konrad Korabiewski

April 12th, 2015, 23:03 CET (GMT +2)
Kunstradio LIVE on air and on line — podcast of the program continues to be available here at lower resolution

on air: Ö1 Kunstradio in Austria,
on line:

Telefunken Twins is a suite of pieces departing from a duet between two vintage Telefunken Bajazzo radio/cassette decks. Using radio as instrument and as system exciter, the pieces also utilize micro-FM transmission, low fidelity electronic instruments, analogue tape, dictaphones, walkie talkies, spectral monitoring, and intricate feedback systems to craft and expressive and intimate world from the sensuality of signal and noise. By working with small circuits of transmission live in the radio studio of Ö1 Kunstradio, Telefunken Twins seeks to transform radio away from its everyday role as an apparatus of entertainment or information diffusion, instead proposing radio as instrument, as landscape, and as a poetic space of reverie.
Telefunken Twins is commissioned by Kunstradio and supported by Danish Arts Foundation.

Tuesday April 14, Anna Friz and Konrad Korabiewski at brutto, Vienna.

BRUTTO meets Ö1 Kunstradio
Featuring live sets by Anna Friz & Konrad Korabiewski + Broken Heart Collector
on site: Brut Künstlerhaus, Vienna, Austria.  Entrance 3.-/5.- Euro





Wednesday April 8, 2015: performing a new work with Maja Osojnik at Kino Šiška in Ljubljana, Slovenia, as part of a short residency with CONA Institute for Contemporary Arts Processing as part of their ZVO.ČI.TI Duo series.

We were initially planning to each perform a solo, then a new duo, but we so love playing together that we combined our concepts into a single full set with accompanying slideshow/video by yours truly. So the piece moves from whiteout to blackout, with field recordings, electronics, and instruments, to explore the landscape of built infrastructure (“under lines”) and eventually plunge into the dark for some “Cinema for the Ears”.

Sunday April 12 11pm brings me to Vienna, Austria and ORF Kunstradio, to do a live in-studio radio art piece with Konrad Korabiewski based on our performance Telefunken Twins for the Austrian national radio, followed by a live show with projection on Tuesday April 14 at Brutto Vienna, sharing the bill with Maja Osojnik‘s excellent band broken.heart.collector.

And what exactly is the aftergrain? If the afterglow is the light or luminance left in the sky after sundown, the aftergrain is the sonic and visual grit that remains after most other frequencies are subtracted. For these two live performances with Maja and Konrad, I’ve developed accompanying slideshow/videos based on my photography in Iceland, Chile, and Slovenia, where many of the images eventually decompose from blown-out white to black with just some distorted visual morsels left behind. Aftergrain in sound and signal.


Funding for my travel and artistic research in Iceland generously supplied by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, Media Arts Div.


Winter at 65.25° North


Winter returns, which was a bit of a shock when I encountered it in the Toronto airport, traveling from midsummer in Chile to land in -22 celcius in Toronto. Now a month later, my tan is pretty much gone, and wearing long johns every day just seems normal again. The winter gusts blew me further north, even, to a work/retreat period back in Iceland, in Seydisfjördur, on the far east coast. Here I’m back at Skálar | Sound Art | Experimental Music HQ, to develop some exciting new work which involves field recording, pinhole cameras, turning a small empty house into a sound sculpture and/or radio station, and (tangentially) knitting a lot. Many thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts for sending me here and funding the research and preliminary production!

It may be dark and cold, but radio continues. ZimaFM/radioCONA Ljubljana broadcast my five-hour Uncoordinated Universal Time (2014) piece, an exercise in suspending time by manipulating the zero hour of the atomic clock, designed for overnight listening; Radiophrenia will be broadcasting the piece as well in April 2015 from the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow. Mobile Radio did a retrospective of their Mobile Radio Bienniale Sao Paulo programming as part of the 12 Days of Radio Art on London’s Resonance FM, which included some back episodes of my M.O.L.E.C.A.S.T. BSP series.

framework radio episode 496 incorporated a number of tracks from Somewhere a Voice is Calling — a piece about early radio and the first transAtlantic broadcast of the human voice by Reginald Fessenden in 1906, by myself, Absolute Value of Noise, and Glenn Gear. Listen to the whole show and also catch some other choice bits of phonography and experimental music, mixed by host Patrick McGinley.
You can also listen to (and buy your very own copy!) of Somewhere a Voice is Calling online here.

Coming up you can catch me and Konrad Korabiewski performing Telefunken Twins live in the ORF Kunstradio studios on April 12, 2015, featuring, among many other sounds and instruments, two particularly stylish Telefunken Bajazzo transistor radio/cassette machines.

Finally, I’ve just completed a new commissioned work for Radio Arts on the topic Dreamlands. My piece is called Two Sleepsa work about dreams of air and water, rising and falling. It premieres on Resonance FM in London on April 15, 2015, 9pm GMT. It will stream from the Radio Arts website after that.

Happy winter from the slopes of the morse mountain!