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….


friz_radios_tsonami2012

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.

audience_tsonami2012

 

anna_setup

blue_harmonica_tsonami

radios_at_night



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.



Heart as Arena: Love and radio


photo: Yannick Grandmot

I’ve had the great pleasure to be working with Dana Gingras and her dance company Animals of Distinction on a new piece called Heart as Arena.

Here’s a little teaser of what we’re up to:

How far is far away? Wireless transmission is a paradox of intimacy and distance. In “Out of the Dark: Notes on the Nobodies of Radio Art” (1992), Gregory Whitehead writes that radio involves “staging an intricate game of position, a game that unfolds among far-flung bodies, for the most part unknown to each other”. For Heart as Arena, this game of position involves bodies and radios playing on stage, bodies in the audience, signals passing through the theatre from local or distant stations as well as mobile phones and wireless systems on all bands, the built environment of the city and its electrical currents. Using a multi-channel micro-watt radio system, radio becomes a frame for a series of relationships, near and far, where visible gestures meet invisible electro-magnetic interactions;  a circuit built, played with, and played within.

We are immersed daily in a welter of signal, so tonight our interest centers on resonant bodies traversing the volatile nocturnal radio landscape in search of elusive union, tuning in to songs full of desire for love and comfort, the most mortal dreams of all. Bodies serve as antennas, and receivers become transmitters. What we find is that there is no such thing as dead air: the radio landscape is alive though connections are fragile and prone to interference, urgently vibrating with activity, temporary but resonantly human.

The work is conceived and choreographed by Dana Gingras, and features performers Sarah Doucet (Toronto), Shay Kuebler (Vancouver), Amber Funk Barton (Vancouver), Masaharu Imazu (Montreal/Japan) and Dana Gingras (Vancouver/Montreal). Creative collaborators include radio artist Anna Friz (Montreal/Chicago), sound and lighting artist Mikko Hynninen (Finland), dramaturge Ruth Little (England).

Now Showing: Oct 4,5,6,7,8  2011  Buy Tickets @ The Cultch, 1895 Venables Street Vancouver, BC  Box Office: 604-251-1363

As you may guess, there are lots of radios in this show, beautiful transistors from the mid-’60s to the late-’70s. A veritable landscape of radios, as well as a landscape of radio sound. I’ll post more photos once we arrive in Vancouver. For me this is a wonderful opportunity to extend the work with multi-channel radio sculpture into a theatre setting, so radios act as environment, sculpture, and scenography; while the material conditions of radiophonic communication have been physicalized in the choreography.

For those not in Vancouver, fear not! Heart as Arena will be touring to many Canadian cities in the next year, including Ottawa (National Arts Centre), Montréal (L’Agora de la danse), Edmonton, Lennoxville, Quebec City, and hopefully points beyond.

Check out some press: preview here, and review here.



“For the time being” goes to Kunstradio, and does some blowing in the wind


I am super pleased to join in the stream from cOL-mE (co-located media expedition), Bratislava, who are part of a group of artist collectives working on the Time Inventors’ Kabinet. By the time you read this, the stream will already have played my piece For the time being and moved on to other interesting works, but do tune in from September 6-11, 2011 for daily casts, including people like my good friend and collaborator Peter Courtemanche in Vancouver. The TIK art-radio is streaming an art-radio program scheduled according to wind time, that is to say, according to the behaviour of the wind rather than the rotation of the earth in relationship to the sun or the moon:

 TIK is a project, an interest into ecology and media art, a collaborative experiment with time …
taking an ecological approach to observing patterns in time and time control systems…
the creative tools we build to generate new audio and visual artworks and mediate a creative discourse on ecological time …
an ‘horloge a vent'(wind clock), an imaginary time keeping device regulated by the irregular movement of the wind …
workshops, art radio sessions, public access digital media archive, public presentations, conferences and exhibitions, a critical publication … ‘re-inventing ecological time’… 

In addition to wind time being a wonderfully irregular and changeable measurement of time, the TIK project makes some really poetic proposals, such as the possibility that people thousands of kilometres apart geographically might share the same wind time zone, or the idea that when the wind is still, time stops. 

I was really excited to discover this project, as it fits so nicely with the research I’ve undertaken since last year on radio and timekeeping. I’m interested to understand the role radio played in the atomization of time, and wonder how the same medium can be implicated in forms of micro-local time. For the time being was the first piece from what promises to be a series of works for broadcast, narrowcast, live performance, and installation.

Meanwhile, For the time being aired on a recent Kunstradio show on August 28 (but remains online, so you can still check it out). Also included: a mix of Respire for broadcast, and two pieces from the Short Horizon series. I’ll be heading over to Vienna to do a live show in December this year, so stay tuned for that too.



SPIN in Toronto


photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

I’m performing in the first full run of Evalyn Parry’s SPIN, a show about bicycles, early feminism, consumerism, and collisions in traffic and of heart. Written and performed by Evalyn Parry, with Brad Hart on the bicycle, and me on a variety of instruments, from accordion to mbirra to bike lights. Thanks to contact mics, the table is all mic-ed up too, and I play that with a leatherman tool. I’m especially pleased to play one of Iner Souster‘s junkstruments, which we have dubbed the Time Machine.

Show runs until March 27, 2011, at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, Wed-Sun nights at 8PM. Reserve tickets!

“Through a series of songs played live on a vintage bicycle, SPIN recounts a theatrical cycle of stories about bikes, women and liberation. Inspired by the incredible true tale of Annie Londonderry, the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle in 1894, SPIN blends theatre, music and technology in a unique tribute to the bicycle as muse, musical instrument and agent of social change.”

Here’s a shot of the Time Machine:



Going out west with a suitcase full of tapes…


photo: Gavin Young, Calgary Herald

I’m currently in ice cold Calgary with the rest of the 300 Tapes gang for the double premiere of 300 Tapes at Alberta Theatre Projects’ playRites Festival. We run from Feb 17-March 6, 2011. In case you’re wondering, there really are 300 tapes in this show. My sound design is predictably all on tape too… and I brought some nice Califone decks to play them back on (thank you Florida public school board).

Here’s what it’s all about:

“Imagine recording your memories on 300 analog tapes. Record. Rewind. Play. Listen. Stop. This intimate mash-up of fact and fiction explores how our memories and identity are shaped (and warped) by time, our own ideas of ourselves and the eyes and ears of others. Featuring a ground-breaking sound design and the curious choreography of our everyday twitches, this bold experiment in storytelling playfully provokes questions about authenticity.”

Developed in residency at The Theatre Centre, Toronto, and co-produced by Public Recordings, with The Theatre Centre and Alberta Theatre Projects.



“For the time being” premieres at Äänen Lumo


linnunlaulu_bridgephoto courtesy of Tuuli Kyttälä

I was commissioned by curator Kimmo Modig of the Äänen Lumo: Festival of New Sounds in Helsinki to create a new piece for radio and performance about Helsinki, without visiting the city. You’ve never been here? Oh good, he said, please don’t come. But we have some keen sound design students from the Theatre Academy who will be your agents in this enterprise, who will record what you ask, and perform what your score.

For the time being is the result–the first in what will eventually be a series of works about transmission and timekeeping. Five people live here. One person lives seven timezones away and has never been here. How can time and place be heard and shared across blind distance? For the time being explores the subjective rhythms of micro-local time and experience against the standardization of ‘universal time’ in broadcast media. This piece records time passing in Helsinki, measured in both the regulated time that otherwise rules our lives through mediated timekeeping via watches, mobile phones, radio, television, train schedules, and in the polyrhythms of the city at dawn and dusk.

I sent my five agents (Ina Aaltojarvi, Roy Boswell, Ilpo Heikkinen, Tuuli Kyttälä, and Johannes Vartolaout) once a month for four months (beginning June 21, 2010) to a location of their choosing in Helsinki at either sunset or sunrise to record the ambience. They were also asked to count passing moments aloud, based on the rhythm of some characteristic element of their chosen site. Finally, they recorded some incidences of time-keeping from broadcast media heard in Helsinki. Once I received their recordings and sound journals from each recording session, I crafted a score, with some rules attached to it, which the five agents (under the name Suomen Teatteriorkesteri) will be performing for the opening of Äänen Lumo in Helsinki on Monday, November 8, 2010. Meanwhile, I’m making a composed piece called For the time being (clock radio mix) to air on the Finnish national radio station YLE.

The Suomen Teatteriorkesteri will be performing in a darkened cinema, with a mix of raw and modulated field recordings and auxilliary electronics. The score does not dictate treatment or duration of each section, and performers may make choices as to whether or not they will overlap sections.

For the time being, performance score (2010)

time (media, solo)
mic handling
time (media, duet)
clear sky
multitudes of birds
time (chorus)
rhythm (small droplets of water)
everybody’s just passing me by
sneaky listening of people talking
talk to someone
wind, water
time (solo)
time (chorus)
train
all the people are missing
animals
rhythm (tiny insects are flying in the air)
the place seems even a bit more familiar this time, as though it was expecting me
time (solo or chorus)

For those of you in Finland, you can tune in to the broadcast of live and taped pieces on Mon 15 Nov, 10:05-11:05pm on Ääniversumi radio show, Yle Radio 1. It will remain online for Finnish listeners only for some time afterward, so look for a podcast or audio file.