What the cuckoo knows


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Saturday night, as part of my tenure as SOCAN composer in residence at Deep Wireless Festival of Radio and Transmission Art here in Toronto during the month of May, I’ll be doing a live solo show:

May 4, 2013, 8pm

Artscape Wychwood Barns, NAISA Space #252, 601 Christie Street, Toronto.

Toronto-based audio artist D. Burke Mahoney is also on the bill that night.

What the cuckoo knows/collecting clocks and losing time (2013)

In a country with deep forests and high mountains cuckoo clocks make their home, nesting in trees in flocks. Once upon a time, a cuckoo clock flew away on a long and perilous journey across many zones of soft time, until one day it encountered the factory where errant robotniks manufacture atomic time.

This solo performance utilizes recordings from my late father’s collection of antique clocks, with live instrumentation of mbira, sruti box, harmonica, Tetrax, electronics, and shortwave. Originally conceived in the studios of Ö1 ORF Kunstradio, Austria. Thanks to Martin Leitner and Elisabeth Zimmermann. The radio piece will air in 5.1 in summer 2013 on ORF Kunstradio.

Sunday May 19 I’ll be back in Toronto for the Trans-X Symposium to give a keynote talk at 10:00 in the morning (hello early birds!) and perform with Kristen Roos in the evening, a live piece under the rubric of Short Horizon. We’ll have a microwave oven, some FM radios, walkie talkies, and an HF “diviner”. Catch it at 20:00, the Artscape Wychwood Barns, Theatre Direct Space, same address as above.



Going into Deep Space for Deep Wireless


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My little mini-tour of eclectic shows continues…  Arrived in Toronto in time to open the 12th annual Deep Wireless Festival of Radio and Transmission Art, New Adventures in Sound Art‘s yearly exploration of all things wireless.

Tonight: NRRF presents B Radio: Voyage to the Forbidden Planet! B Radio is an ongoing series of radio shows created by the Chicago-based NRRF crew, mashing b-list genres with radio art. Tonight the NRRF cosmo-noise-nauts venture deep into unknown territories: beyond the Van Allen Belt, demoted planetlettes, beyond the heliopause and far away en route to the Forbidden Planet. This translocal performance features yours truly here in Toronto as Ground Control, with Jonny Farrow, Stephen Germana, Jeff Kolar and Peter Speer in the away pods.

NRRF is a collaborative effort to make unlicensed neighbourhood radio. Past incarnations include Radio Free Parkdale in Toronto, NRRF for FTAA in Montreal, and The NRRF Radio Roadshow which traveled from Montreal to New York. The current Chicago-based incarnation consists of Anna Friz, Jonny Farrow, Stephen Germana, Jeff Kolar, and Peter Speer, with occasional guests.

May 1, 2013, 8pm EDST (GMT -5)

Artscape Wychwood Barns, NAISA Space #252, 601 Christie Street, Toronto ON Canada

Tune in for the live stream here.

Documentation from the NRRF B Space Station here.

Audio archive to follow shortly.

 



Heart as Arena–Québec installment


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Heart as Arena created by Dana Gingras/Animals of Distinction, goes to the Centennial Theatre in Sherbrooke and La Rotonde/Centre Méduse in Québec City, April 23 and April 25-27, 2013. I’m the transmission artist/composer for the piece, so I travel with it too to wrangle les ondes radio turbulents.

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Setting up the ring of suspended radios for the April 23, 2013 show at the Centennial Theatre, Lennoxville/Sherbrooke, Québec. Photo by dancer and costume designer Sarah Doucet.



Voyage to the MEGAPOLIS


Heading out east next week to install/talk/perform as the pre-fest-warm-up for MEGAPOLIS, the fabulous audio art and radio event which takes place periodically in the glorious Turnpike Entity… er… NYC-Bos-Wash sprawl. This year hosted by the New School.

Eric Leonardson and I will be performing together inside one of my multi-channel radio rigs, using springboard, cottage-made instruments, free reeds and free radio.

Saturday April 13, 7:30pm at Union Docs, 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn NY.

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In the Radio Funkhaus


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Currently working in Vienna at Kunstradio, at the ORF Funkhaus, aka at the studios of the Austrian national public radio’s cultural channel. I’ve been composing a 5.1 piece for broadcast on Kunstradio later this spring, made with the best-of radio+timekeeping material that I’ve generated through various longer form radio shows (shout out to Mobile Radio BSP, Second Site, and last year’s live show for Kunstradio for giving me some opportunities to produce the raw materials!) The new piece still lacks a title, but it’s 44 minutes of cuckoo clocks, time transformed by a drone dune, and robotniks misbehaving in the time factory. More info soon.

Upcoming shows:

quota; unquota 1, Salon Bruit, Berlin: Friday Feb 15, 20h, Kino @ K77, Kastanienallee 77 10435 Berlin (also on the bill: Audrey Chen and JD Zazie)

Megapolis NYC: Saturaday April 13, 20h. Union Docs, Brooklyn NYC (performing with Eric Leonardson)

Heart as Arena, Québec tour: remounting the dance performance by choreographer Dana Gingras/Animals of Distinction, with original radiophonic sound design and composition April 23, Centennial Theatre, Sherbrooke; April 25, 26, 27, La Rotonde, centre chorégraphique contemporain de Québec, Québec).

Deep Wireless, Toronto: SOCAN composer in residence at the Deep Wireless Festival– Translocal performance with NRRF and guests, May 1; solo performance at the NAISA space May 4; then giving a keynote talk at the TransX Transmission Art Symposium and performance with Kristen Roos on May 19.

Sounds Like Audio Art Festival 3, Saskatoon:  July 25-27, Paved Arts, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

More dates in the hopper and awaiting cofirmation or funding: a performed installation in Chicago in May at Tri-Triangle/Your Unpleasant Friend, some Australian shows in June with Eric Leonardson and Jay Needham, and ongoing pirate mayhem with the NRRF collective (look for B-Radio info to come).



If not winter…. then birthday!


hotr2photo by Julie Shapiro

Who’s Art? Oh, THAT art.

Art’s Birthday” is an annual event first proposed in 1963 by French artist Robert Filliou. One million and fifty years ago today, someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. And so, art was born. Filliou proposed a public holiday to celebrate the presence of art in our lives. In recent years, the idea has been taken up by a loose network of artists and friends around the world. Each year the Eternal Network evolves to include new partners – working with the ideas of exchange and telecommunications-art.

This year it’s the 1,000,050th birthday of art, and I’m getting back into party mode here in Chicago.

First off, running a stream together with absolute value of noise of our newly recomposed generative piece Somewhere a voice is calling. We have rethought the piece as a composition and stream, now made with new material, though the concept remains the same: an exploration of the first broadcasts of the human voice into the transmission ecology over radio by Reginald Fessenden and others beginning in 1906.

Stream runs January 16-18, 2013, and you can listen in here.

Meanwhile, live and fueled by too much sugar, I’ll be hanging out today at the Experimental Sound Studio, which hosts the radio collaboration NRRF Radio in the Audible Gallery from 2pm to 8pm, January 17 (GMT -6).  5925 N. Ravenswood, Chicago.

Transmitting to the neighbourhood and the world via FM and stream LISTEN LIVE HERE.

We’ll be listening and exchanging with any and all birthday streams circulating internationally, and do our best to infiltrate available bands with tenacious earworms and parasitic refrains, powered of course by lurid birthday cake. Glue Banta, Jonny Farrow, Anna Friz, Stephen Germana, Jeff Kolar, Peter Speer, and guests bring the noise.

Drop in, tune in, eat cake. Happy Art’s Birthday! The End is just pretend!



A few more photos post-Tsonami….


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Radios set up for my performance at the opening at the Tsonami Festival de Arte Sonoro, Valparaiso Chile, November 27, 2012.  The venue was an old prison transformed into a cultural centre; here the steep hills of Valpo are visible in the background. I had simply the most wonderful time at this festival of any event in recent memory–the organization really emphasized the social side of holding a festival in addition to top-notch works being presented. And I love love love Valparaiso! You can’t tell from these photos, but it was glorious summer weather, and that Pacific breeze blowing up the hills every day was nothing short of intoxicating.

This and all following photos credited to Nelson Campos.

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Gone south, with radios


I’ve packed up my radios, and taken them on the road to Valparaiso Chile, for installation and performance at the Tsonami Festival de Arte Sonoro 2012. Many thanks to the whole Tsonami team here, for putting on a really generous event with a great community spirit!

Respire is remounted here as a 3-frequency piece, located in the corridor of the lower access to Ascensor El Peral (there are many ascensors here, which are a kind of outdoor elevator that make it easier to scale the steep hills of Valpo). The radios sway in the Pacific breeze, and chuff and stutter at one another as the fog rolls in to town in the evening. More photos to come soon, but here are a couple from the install, where I had help from an excellent group of installers, including Claudia, Paula (a bit blurry in action in the bottom photo) and head tech for the festival Rodrigo Ríos Zunino:

The piece is open daily November 26 – December 2, 2012, 10h-14h, 16h-22h.

I played the opening night of the festival at the Parque Cultural Valparaiso on Tuesday November 27, 20h. In addition to two stereo pairs of speakers, I also fired up the big transmitter to send to 20 radios suspended over the audience. Two more techie Rodrigos hung them all with the help of a shopping cart…. not pictured is the imperious little black and white feral cat who also followed them around.

Also this week, a new radio piece (50 minutes) unifying some of all the radio and timekeeping projects I’ve been working on for the past two years. It’s called Collecting clocks and losing time, and aired on Monday November 26 at 23h on Radio Valentín Letelier here in Valparaiso on 97.3FM/ 940AM. Here’s a little description:

Once upon a time there was a house on the countryside which housed a hundred clocks. Once upon a time the clocks in every house ran on their own time, and all the trains and hotels and shops had their own time. Once upon a time the time was made universal, divided into zones, and propagated around the globe: it was known as Mean Time. Once upon a time there were microwaves fired at a cesium-12 isotope, and the rate of electron loss dictated the most standardized time of all. Still there were digital devices that did not understand which time zone they lived in. Still everyone was late. Still the clocks began to slowly drag the seconds and minutes and hours behind them. Once upon a time the clocks burned in a fire. Now there are only five that remain.

Finally, I’m joining 3 other artists from the festival to give a short talk on Thursday, November 29, 17h, also at the Parque Cultural Valparaiso; mine perhaps predictably about radio, radio art, and everyday practice.

 



Guest artist this week on Mobile Radio BSP


October 30-November 4, 2012, I’m here on-site at the radio art radio station set up by Mobile Radio at the 30th São Paulo Bienal. Mobile Radio, aka Knut Aufermann and Sarah Washington, are here for 14 weeks bringing the radio art to the people, and opening the airwaves for an international exchange of radio art, featuring lots of local talent from here in Brasil.

I’m reviving Filibuster, an old show title from back in the day at CiTR Vancouver (in celebration of CiTR‘s 75th anniversary!) which will be a free-form live show full of new stuff, old tales, various collaborations, and generally friendly noise. Also getting up to some new shenanigans modulating and manipulating coordinated universal time under the title Zero Hour. Atomic time will be overcome!

Tune in to my shows (all times São Paulo time, GMT -3)

October 30: 15h – 16h30

First installment of Filibuster— a retrospective of older pieces, including Vacant City Radio (2005) and Silence Descends (1999, works by yours truly, Joelle Ciona, Peter Courtemanche, Sean Chappelle, Eileen Kage and Bill Mullan).

October 31: 13h – 14h

The first installment of Zero Hour:

November 1: 16h – 18h

Today was cuckoo clocks a-go-go on Zero Hour, followed by Filibuster, which included rebroadcast of Dancing Walls Stir the Prairie, created together with Eric Leonardson in 2007. Also, a new installment of the M.O.L.E.C.A.S.T., BSP edition…. Uncover at the Exhibition, Level 1.

November 2: 15h – 15h30, 15h30 – 18h with Tonic Train live in studio

First, another installment of the Zero Hour–30 minutes of manipulated clock time.

Then another episdoe of Filibuster, beginning with several pieces by Central Dispatch (2002), all recorded on the day that Brazil won the World Cup Football, final score 2-0; followed by speculative conversation regarding Atlantis, ley lines, the 13th Node, Tesla, the coming Armageddon, the quickening of time, the reversal of the Earth’s rotation, and whale radio; followed by a live set of yours truly and Tonic Train.

The Zero Hour runs overnight, 19h Nov 2 until 12h Nov 3.

November 3: 13h – 14h

Filibuster features the M.O.L.E.C.A.S.T BSP.: Undercover at the Exhibition, Level 2.

November 4: 12h – 12h30

Filibuster features the final M.O.L.E.C.A.S.T. BSP: Uncover at the Exhibition, Level 3.

Tune in at mobile-radio.net

Shows archived here

Mobile Radio BSP runs 24/7 until December 9, so keep your browser locked to the signal!



Tuner, live on Kunstradio


Sunday, December 4, 2011, 23h (GMT+1)

I’ll be performing live in the studios of ORF Kunstradio, the long-running radio art program heard weekly on Ö1, the cultural channel of Austria’s national public radio. The live stream will connect from the home page here, and the show will be documented and streamable afterwards from the show page here.

It’s a brand new series of studies on radio and timekeeping, called Tuner:

A radio receiver, designed for mass production and consumption, invites a small narrative reflecting some aspect of radio’s changing cultural reference over the past century: I am the future, I am mobile, I am young, I am a connection with the world, I am a safety precaution, I am cheap, I am common, I am invisible, I am obsolete. Likewise, the graphic design of each dial represents an ideology of the radio spectrum, proposing time in frequency, and space in territory. Some dials are linear, filled with the names of cities, while other dials are perfectly round, referencing radar and precisely regulated atomic time.

Tuner is a suite of short pieces, performed live, which uses the graphical design of radio dials as music and event scores. Radios have been used as instruments and played in works such as George Brecht’s “Candle Piece for Radios” (1959), and offer a strong element of indeterminacy to brief performative moments. What will a radio reveal when used to generate the score itself?

Acting as frame and theme for this round of Tuner pieces is a sample from WWV,  a station devoted to broadcasting time signals since 1923, and Coordinated Universal Time (Greenwich Mean) since 1967. Based in Fort Collins Colorado, near the laboratories that maintain the U.S. national standards of time and frequencies, WWV currently broadcasts time according to a cesium atomic clock, or time as dictated by the regular decay of the isotope cesium-133.

This time around I have chosen to interpret the dials or tuner plates of one vacuum tube radio (1953) and two transistor radios (mid 1960s) as scores. Not accidentally, these radios are products of the post-war economy, whose design promises precision, safety, and a little technical sophistication for the domestic sphere. The pieces I will perform based on these dials are improvised studies contributing to a larger body of work on radio and timekeeping, so for this set of works I read and interpret the radio dials as referring to frequency, or, the rate of something happening.

But even against the precision of atomic time, events wander away from regularity, and musicality is hiding both in the accompanying tones and in the landscape of static which threaten to consume all sonic details at any time. How to read the radio dial? Someone is counting, someone is keeping score: something happens, and then something happens.

I won’t be using the beautiful Hallicrafters radio dial (shown above) in this set of pieces–but it’s my next project in the series. I love the shortwave radios with the names of cities and countries; I especially love the incongruence of “USSR” and “Edmonton” placed cheek to cheek on the dial. That dial is a symphony of craziness to decode, though, and I’m maybe not up for doing that one live yet. I’ve opted instead for simpler numeric dials for the first time out, but chosen ones which are still demonstrative of Cold War/atomic era wireless architecture.

This work supported by a post-doctoral fellowship from Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture Québec.