Anna Friz is a Canadian sound and radio artist and media studies scholar. Since 1998 Anna has predominantly created self-reflexive radio for broadcast, installation or performance, where radio is the source, subject, and medium of the work. She also creates dynamic, atmospheric sound works for theatre, dance, film, and solo performance that are equally able to reflect upon public media culture or to reveal interior landscapes.
In the autumn of 2015 she joined the Film and Digital Media department at University of California Santa Cruz as Assistant Professor of Sound. She recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the department of Sound (2011-2013), funded by the Fonds de recherche Québec – société et culture (FRQ). She earned her Ph.D. in the Joint Graduate Program in Communication and Culture from York University, Toronto in 2011; her dissertation is entitled “The Radio of the Future Redux: Rethinking Transmission Through Experiments in Radio Art.”
Her radio art/works have been commissioned by national public radio in Canada, Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Danmark, Spain, and Mexico, and heard on the airwaves of more than 25 countries. In 2011 she was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award (Toronto) and the Betty Mitchell award (Calgary) for excellence in composition and sound design for theatre, and received 2nd place in the Prix Palma Ars Acoustica 2014. Anna is an itinerant member of the Toronto-based Public Studio collective, which together won the 2014 competition to create a new permanent sound installation in the Lee Lifeson Arts Park in North York, Toronto.
Anna has performed and exhibited widely across Canada, and at international venues and festivals such as Third Coast Audio Festival (Chicago, IL), Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago), PS 122 (New York, NY), AS220 (Providence, RI), Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA), the Fifth International Biennial of Radio (Mexico City), Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music (Belfast, IE), Club Transmediale/ Bootlab (Berlin, DE), Tesla (Berlin, DE), TONSPUR (Vienna, AT), Art+Communication (Riga, LV), Von Krahl (Tallinn, EE), Ars Electronica (Linz, AT), Digitales (Brussels, BE), Radiophonic 07 (Brussels, BE), Observatori (Valencia, ES), RadiaLX (Lisbon, PT), Tsonami Festival de Arte Sonoro (Valparaiso, Chile), radioCONA (Ljubljana, Slovenia), and many others. Her work has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Fonds de recherche Québec – société et culture, York University (Toronto), Concordia University (Montréal), Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Québec Delegation in Mexico, and the SOCAN Foundation.
Artist residencies in 2013-2014 include Deep Wireless Festival for Radio and Transmission Art, Toronto, Canada; Skaftfell Center for Visual Art, Seydisfjördur, Iceland; MGML Gallery Tobačna 001, Ljubljana Slovenia; Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art in cooperation with the Hel Marine Station, Gdansk, Poland; Liebig12 project space, Berlin, Germany; and quartier21 together with TONSPUR, Vienna, Austria.
Anna was a founding member of the research collective L.O.T.: Experiments in Urban Research at York University, Toronto. She is currently a core curatorial and steering member of Skálar | Sound Art | Experimental Music, based in east Iceland, run by a collective of practicing professional artists.
FJARÐARHEIÐI (2015-2016): audiovisual performance for 2 projection screens and 4-channel audio, created with Konrad Korabiewski. Features photomontage and field recordings from a remote mountain pass and coastal areas in East Iceland, together with cottage-built instruments, feedback systems, and tape.
Sound, Signal, Conductor (2014-2017): work in progress beginning in Iceland, extending approaches to recording, re-playing and filtering sounds through the landscape and built environment, then re-recording and re-playing, etc. Also using pinhole and digital photography using windows as filters. Yielding weathered copper artifacts. suitcase instruments. and undertaking performative actions which sonify structures and electro-magnetic space in situ. Funded by Canada Council for the Arts.
Endless Love: All Transistor Model (2015): 12-hour durational overnight performance, created with Dana Gingras/ Animals of Distinction contemporary dance.
Submergence (2014-): research into underwater sound and communication between sea mammals. Beginning in June 2014 through a residency with Łaznia CCA and the Hel Marine Biology Station in Gdańsk, Poland.
Telefunken Twins (2014): live performance created with Konrad Korabiewski for multi-channel radio, featuring two vintage Telefunken Bajazzo radio/cassette decks, multiple micro-FM transmitters, and a chorus of supporting radio receivers. We employ lo-fi instruments, spectral monitoring, and intricate feedback systems to craft an expressive and intimate world from the sensuality of signal and noise. Commissioned as live in-studio performance for ORF Kunstradio, Austrian national public radio in April 2015.
The Joy Channel: Emmanuel Madan and I are recording the radio art/radio play version of our science fiction piece about the state of radio in North America 150 years in the future. The final work is scheduled to be released in 2017 by /Undefine, Montréal.
Schön Gebaut (2017): a new work created with Roger Döring and Konrad Korabiewski, utilizing old German language tapes, multi-channel radio, saxophone and clarinet. Recorded, mixed, and to be released on cassette. Skálar editions 003.
Zero Hour (2015): A new work for 360-degree projection dome and surround sound, created together with Public Studio, and featuring renowned artist Etel Adnan – Lebanese essayist, painter, poet and philosopher. The work was commissioned for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Toronto, consisting of a newly commissioned poem by Adnan within a signal-industrial sonic landscape, set to a video projection on a dome, of current weather patterns and climactic disturbances taking place in the southern hemisphere.
under lines (2015): commissioned audio/visual work for CONA Contemporary Arts Processing (Ljubljana, Slovenia) as part of their Duos series. under lines is a series of sonic observations, dreams, and nightmares of urban infrastructures gathered from temporary living in multiple cities.
Two Sleeps (2015): commissioned radio art piece for UK-based Radio Arts, departing from the topic of Dreamlands. A piece concerned with rising and falling; a dream about air and a dream about water.
Trilogy for Night and Radio: Radiotelegraph, Night Fall, Relay (2013-2014): a meditation on shifts in time, the materiality of signals, and the affectiveness of space, understood between remote locations and the collaborative exchange between myself and multimedia artist Konrad Korabiewski. Commissioned by Radio National/ Australian public radio to air November 2014. Produced by Skálar FM.
Breakwater (2014): Breakwater considers the meeting of the sea-air surface along with the added dimension of electro-magnetic activity, particularly radio waves, at the point where signals cross, mingle, and agitate one another. It is a four or eight-channel composition consisting of a series of boundary interactions between sound and signal, transposing between fluid and electro-magnetic media, mechanical and radio waves, featuring field recordings from underwater, from an old navy breakwater, and from shortwave and middlewave radio. Created for TONSPUR, Vienna, Austria.
White Night (2014): multi-channel radio and sound installation with image projection, considering the infrastructure of the electrical grid in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Created while in residence with KC Tobačna 001 and the City Museums of Slovenia, 2013-2014.
Is there life on mars, redux (2014): remix track for Love + Radio‘s Kickstarter compilation, using samples from their 2014 episode “Hostile Planet”.
What Isn’t There (2014): composition and sound design for multi-screen film installation by Toronto-based Public Studio. The work returns to the sites of former Palestinian villages that were abandoned after 1948.
Short Horizon: Compositions made from the imagined and actual intercepted fields of electro-magnetic and acoustic signals in and around Toronto, Canada. I am particularly interested in the relative flatness and depth perceivable in both acoustic and Hertzian space, and in the diminishing horizon in the city as a result of urban design and an exponential increase in wireless infrastructure (or EM clutter). Expanded into a performance collaboration with Vancouver-based audio artist Kristen Roos in 2013.
Collecting clocks and losing time/Uncoordinated Universal Time (2012-2013): compositions for performance and radio broadcast featuring analogue striking clocks and UTC as broadcast on shortwave. Awarded second place in the Prix Ars Acustica, 2014.
Somewhere a voice is calling: a performance for 2-channel radio array, VLF antennas, and live video manipulation, performed with Absolute Value of Noise and Glenn Gear. CD version of the piece, released in autumn 2014.
Heart as Arena: a new dance performance by Dana Gingras/ Animals of Distinction, crafted around ideas of distance and intimacy, and the mortal desires to communicate. Featuring a multi-channel array of vintage radio receivers arranged as the arena in which the dance takes place, and a soundscape crafted from the sounds of tuning across the radio landscape seeking songs of love.
Respire: a performance piece that has grown out of “You are far from us”, focussing on breath, static, and transduced radio transmission interference patterns, narrowcast through a multi-channel transmitter and receiver array. First performed at RadiaLX 2008 in Lisbon, and currently booked for the Surrey Arts Centre, Stanford University, and Nuit Blanche, Toronto, in 2009.
300 Tapes: Sound design/sonic choreography for new piece by Public Recordings, directed by Ame Henderson and Bobby Theodore. Premiered in Toronto at the Theatre Centre, December 2010, and Alberta PlayRites Festival, Calgary, February 2011. Nominated for Dora Mavor Moore award (Toronto) and Betty Mitchell award (Calgary) for oustanding sound design.
Spin: Sound design for a new work of spoken word/theatrical/musical work by Evalyn Parry. Premiered at Hysteria! festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto, Canada in October, 2009, with performances at the Sound Symposium, St. John’s Newfoundland in July 2010, and a full run at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in March 2011.