Clock Tower, Radio Towers, Signal Structures


Friz_Halle_RT_bwThe clock tower in the Rote Turm, Halle (Saale), Germany.
Site of my upcoming installation “The Envelope of the Hour”, Radio Revolten, October 2016.

The summer solstice has just passed here in the northern hemisphere, so pale evenings abound. This year I’ll be sticking close to the west coast, and preparing for autumn transmissions.

First up, I’m finishing a little piece for the Radio Studies conference Transnational Radio Encounters, in Utrecht, Netherlands from July 5-7, 2016. I’m not able to attend in person, so I’ve sent a little Nocturne in my stead, a short podcost for the late night listening comfort (or dis-ease) of conference attendees, about signal infrastructures and experiencing distance. Featuring distant listening outpost XRRB.

Together with Toronto-based collective Public Studio we are finishing up our commissioned public art work 120 Mirrors, to be unveiled this summer in the new Lee-Lifeson Arts Park in North York, Greater Toronto Area. The piece involves 3 different sculptural parts including submarine-inspired speaking tubes, and a collection of horns modeled on hearing trumpets and megaphones which can be manipulated to acoustically amplify the surrounding sound space or amplify one’s own voice.

I’m also working on a commission entitled How to Pack a Whale for the second edition of Radiophrenia, a temporary radio art festival and station broadcasting on-air, online, and on-site from August 29- September 11, 2016 from the Glasgow Center for Contemporary Arts. Subject matter still under great secrecy–but I can reveal that it involves dreams about packing.

Most of all, I’m preparing for the sprawling Radio Revolten International Festival of Radio Art which will take place in Halle (Saale) Germany from October 1-30, 2016. I’m one of five co-curators, together with Knut Aufermann and Sarah Washington of Mobile Radio, Ralf Wendt of Radio Corax, and Elisabeth Zimmermann of Kunstradio Austria. My area of concern is the contemporary transmission art exhibition entitled Das Grosse Rauschen: The Metamorphosis of Radio, which will feature artists from all over the world considering transmission ecologies, and re-framing radio and other forms of wireless communication. We are also hosting more than 60 artists to perform, install, engage in public actions and radio activity as well as hosting a symposium entitled Radio Space is the Place (with nods to both Sun Ra and Robert Adrian X), and running a round-the-clock city-wide radio art station.

In addition to curating at Radio Revolten, I’ll be presenting a new work there funded by the Arts Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Cruz, entitled The Envelope of the Hour. This piece reflects on time obedience and standardization, as measured by the public clock tower and the broadcast atomic clock on shortwave radio channels internationally. Towers of power, recuperated into instruments.

Signing off for now… until next time, stay detuned….

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The Icelandic Space Program


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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.

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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.

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New post on Sounding Out!


I have a new essay posted on the Sounding Out! blog:
I’m writing about transmission ecology, radio art, some of my work, and projects by a couple of my favourite radio people Jeff Kolar and Kristen Roos. Expertly edited by another sharp radio mind, Neil Verma.


August in Vienna


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I am currently housed in the MuseumsQuartier cultural complex here in Vienna, as part of the international artist residency program of quartier21, on invitation of TONSPUR. Initially built in the 18th century as the imperial stables for the Hapsburg Emperor, now the MQ is a hub for art and open-air summer enjoyment, with art crammed into every nook, cranny, and courtyard.

TONSPUR is the brainchild of Georg Weckwerth and Peter Szely, and features a permanent installation in a passage of the MQ, as well as mobile open-air 8-channel concert and installation events. For the MQ’s Summer of Sounds, I’ll be performing in the series TONSPUR_live_open_air_2014, featuring Canadian multi-channel works, guest curated by Darren Copeland of Toronto’s New Adventures in Sound Art.

Read about it HERE, in a little interview I did on the Summer of Sounds blog (German speakers only).

In preparation, I’m busy in the production studios of ORF Kunstradio (Austrian national public radio in Vienna) working on the new piece to be unveiled in live performances next weekend, 16-17. August here in the main courtyard of the MQ. It’s all still in development, so long days in the studio…. But I’m not being too much of a vampire about it, I still let a little light into my secret sonic lair…

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Midsummer on the Baltic Sea


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On 13. June 2014 I arrived in Gdansk, Poland, for a three-week residency at Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art during their Soundplay Festival and at the nearby Hel Marine Station. While here I’m researching underwater sound and marine mammal communication amidst the ambient (human) noise pollution in the Baltic Sea, with the intention of making some new sound works under the name Submergence, which I will research and develop here and present later in the summer.

But no trip to Gdansk could be complete without some photos of the impressive architecture, both mercantile and industrial…. and I’m developing a little side project about Gdansk’s post-industrial infrastructre. If it’s too rainy to go out on the sea, to the the shipyards, to the rooftops!

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On the Road with Public Studio


IMG_1478I began working with Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky aka Public Studio in 2011, when I composed music and did sound design/installation for their multi-channel film work Road Movie. The piece explores the segregated road system in the West Bank, with perspectives from Israelis and Palestinians. Recently I’ve been working on the sound for Public Studio’s current long-running project What Isn’t There, documenting the Palestinian villages of 1948, from which their Arab inhabitants were displaced and exiled. This latest installment in Public Studio’s 15-year process with the villages is a multi-channel film installation featuring 14 villages.

Up until last week, I had never traveled to Israel/Palestine, and so had been learning about the area through various books, news and editorial media and through immersion in the sound recordings from Public Studio’s location shoots so far. Last week I finally went there myself, to take the Public Studio deluxe tour of the West Bank, record sound at some village sites, and to try to parse the long history of conquests that is writ large on the landscape, from Roman ruins to Marmaluke fortresses to Palestinian olive groves to Bedouin encampments to Israeli army bases, checkpoints, and walled-in settlements.

Suba 3Suba, a Palestinian village built on the ruins of a Crusader fort
AF+TS eat almondsTamira and I take a beak to sample some tart green almonds off the tree…

The current situation is quite literally inscribed on the land, revealing that this is now a battle that is largely being fought by pervasive, insidious construction and control of infrastructure, where the one with the biggest walls, the fastest roads, and control of the checkpoints wins. On the hilltops in Palestine, the radio communications towers are the one of first indications that an illegal Israeli settlement is coming, bringing walls and soldiers and strangely Santa Fe style-suburban homes with them.

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Meanwhile, time seems to stand still, in a way, in the hazy hills around Nablus or Ramallah, where lemon trees and olive groves flourish in the terraced hills, drivers are fearless, people are kind and hostly, and the dust blows forward and the dust blows back.

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City At Night: Ljubljana


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One night train from Berlin to Slovenia later… I’ve arrived in Ljubljana, and moved into to the artist residence at Tobačna 001, a cosy little apartment upstairs in the cultural centre run by the City Museum of Ljubljana on the sprawling grounds of an old tobacco factory. I’ll be here for two months, and working together with the artist-run group CONA (CONA Institute for Contemporary Arts Processing) to make “temporary radio for contemporary art”. A central project for CONA in 2013-2014 is REuse MESTO: REuse RADIO, and my contribution is to explore the potential in nighttime transmissions across urban space, under the title of City at Night:

With the advent of urban illumination and electricity, the city at night is a place of potential: filled with pleasure and danger, subversion, reclamation, and escape. The city at night is described by its transformation from the quotidian arena of day into sites of shadow and ambiguity, where some acts are hidden, while others take place under the scrutiny of precisely circumscribed light. The nocturnal world of radio is a similarly charged space of potential and possibility. Electro-magnetic activity is also the invisible print of the city, with overlapping fields of activity passing through the built environment. Signals converge and the city is imagined and made. 

Many people remember tuning in to radio to hear a free-form overnight program, where the DJ had full choice on what to play, and was released from the strictures of programmed songs and advertisements after hours. Making radio for those not represented by the daily routine, but for those up late, working late, unusually awake–the invisible interaction between terrestrial, live broadcast and the city mostly asleep. Now most radio stations rely on automation over night, rebroadcasting music and talk radio imbued with the mood of day time, not the changeable atmospheres of night. But like the brick and concrete city which is transformed by different practices between day and night, nighttime radio is another kind of urban space to be reclaimed, rethought. What ambiguous relationships, what liminal territories, what reverie might be encountered and engaged after dark?

City at Night seeks to rethink and reframe urban spaces through its nocturnal signals, through incursions across the city after dark, from social spaces to empty places, resulting in live night radio performance, compositions, interventions and an ongoing installation. The gallery space associated with the Tobačna 001 residency will be turned into an open studio with an evolving radio installation, a hub which will function as a radio ‘station’ from which to broadcast and stream overnight from January 16-26 when a licensed city-wide FM frequency is available for use as radioCONA, and a space in which to hold performance or performance/lectures related to the topic of reusing and repurposing nighttime radio and the city.

All broadcasting will take place after dark and overnight, and I am particularly looking forward to programming some long-form and generative works for broadcast which can reflect the liminality of listening, night, and urban activity.

Most immediately, I will be holding a public lecture here next week, December 9, 2013, on the topic of REuse RADIO— an overview of radio and transmission art, my own artistic practices in the electro-magnetic spectrum, and some listening to works. December 10-11, 2013 I convene a working group of local artists emerging and established, so that we can embark on the process of creating transmission works to air or perform or present in January during the broadcast week of radioCONA.

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My travel to Ljubljana is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts, Media Arts division.

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Latitude 65.2601 North


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I’m shacked up in East Iceland, for a two-month residency at the Skaftfell Center for Visual Art. It’s just about the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, in a small town called Seydisfjördur tucked in to the fjord and surrounded by mountains, and filled with friendly folk. The shift was a bit of a shock, to fly from my southwest neighbourhood of Pilsen in Chicago (rambunctious urban living in a full summer heatwave) to this northern sparsely populated place whose green defies the name ‘Iceland’. It’s already dipping below freezing at night, but there are blueberries, bilberries, and crowberries on the hill for the picking. Enjoying some Russian and Romanian shortwave radio too.

While here I’ll be working on two main projects: first an upcoming episode for Radius in Chicago entitled Radio Telegraph which will be simulcast in Chicago and here in Seydisfjördur across some days in October. Exact dates, times, and frequencies TBA. The second task is to work on the final version of The Joy Channel, a project conceived and created together with Emmanuel Madan. We will be doing the final mix in Berlin in November 2013.

berries_pickedSeems my work here is entering a blue phase….

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It’s all absurdly scenic around here.



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).



Is that a big antenna or are you just happy to see me?


Yup, I made the move to the Chicagoland, where towers loom and their antennas have girth. I’ll be based in here for the next two years, working on my post-doctoral fellowship at the School of the Art Institute, Sound department, thanks to the generous funding of the Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture Québec (FQRSC). Still waiting to defend the dissertation, but it won’t be long now. Dr. Itinerant Friz will soon be on the case.

I’ll be getting out and about this summer, too, as part of my research will take me to ORF Kunstradio to develop some new pieces. (Actually I’m just going for the wine and the cake–ssshhhh.)