L’art radiophonique en circulation


The original adventures of the little people in the radio (starring Pirate Jenny) continue to circulate…. the new mix I made last year of my 2002 radio work The Clandestine Transmissions of Pirate Jenny is currently featured over on Le Tétraèdre, a weekly experimental radio program on Radio Panik 105.4 FM in Bruxelles. Live to air Wednesday 23, as show #17d. February 23h GMT +1, but since that was yesterday, you can also listen here.

I also recently completed an interview with Etienne Noiseau of the excellent French radio art site Syntone, read it (en français) here.

UPDATE:

Vacant City Radio was featured on CKUT Montreal’s ESL program, as part of a show on transmission which also includes interviews with ham radio ops. Aired in Montreal February 28, 2012, 23h. Listen to the podcast or download here.



The Joy Channel on the air on WGXC 90.7


map by Glenn Gear

Emmanuel Madan and I are doing a little residency at the free103point9.org Wave Farm in Greene County, New York this week, and as part of our stay we’ll be doing a broadcast this afternoon on WGXC, a full-power community radio station supported by free103, serving Greene and Columbia counties in New York state.

TUNE IN 16h-18h EST (-5 GMT) today, January 21, 2012, or check the station archives.

We’ll be talking about our ongoing project The Joy Channel, and playing some excerpts of old and new material related to the project. Here’s a description to give you a taste:

The Joy Channel is an experimental radio work by Anna Friz and Emmanuel Madan. The piece proposes that the radio of the future will no longer be characterized as a primarily sonic medium, but rather as a means of transmitting emotional or empathic communication. The piece explores tensions between empathic realization and the neurological manipulation of emotions, the interaction between the listeners as active or passive subjects, and the renewed struggle over access to the airwaves. In the year 2147, after nearly 150 years of business as usual (government corruption and privatization, toxic resource extraction and industrial practices, bad weather, civil uprising, earthquakes and pandemic), the nation states of Canada and U.S.A. no longer exist. Approximately 40 million people remain in North America, mainly concentrated on the west and east coasts, and in thinner communities inland. The technique of transmitting emotions over radio frequencies is originally developed as a psychiatric home tele-treatment procedure for long-term depression patients. However, by 2147 corporate broadcasters are also exploiting the technology for its entertainment and behavioural control potential.

This sudden domination of the EM (formerly FM) radio spectrum encroaches upon another, more arcane radiophonic pratice: radio-empathic communion. Wandering in the relative silence of wasted urban and ex-urban spaces in the central continent, small communities of empaths had begun to form and to reach out to one another. They discovered that the FM radio spectrum, largely abandoned during the upheavals that accompanied the population collapse of the late 21st century, was open ground for a type of communication not yet experienced in human history: tele-empathy. These neo-nomads developed the sensitivity to feel one another across greater and greater distances without the use of transmitters or receivers. Their process is rudely interrupted when Hi-Zenith’s standardized emotional broadcasts go live to air from coast to coast.

We’ll be doing some more radio late Sunday night/Monday morning, just in time for the lunar new year! Tune in for the zero hour January 23, midnight EST (-5 GMT), on WGXC.



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.



“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.



A sampler of recent Canadian radio art


This Sunday on ORF Kunstradio, the long-running program on Austrian public radio devoted to radio art and experimentation on-air, online, and on-site, I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to curate a program of recent works by some very talented artists.

Tune in or stream in Sunday August 21 from 23h CEDT (GMT +2, with daylight savings time) and hear the likes of these:

Martine H. Crispo presents a live set from her show Chaud pour le mont-stone, heard on CKUT FM in Montreal

Stephen Kelly and Eleanor King let us eavesdrop on a radio installation entitled Radio Roam

Andrea-Jane Cornell explores the world of recorded telephone conversations

Tomas Phillips and s* consider the insides and outsides of a body in motion

and Debashis Sinha retells the experience of the Buddha under the bodhi tree.

Sunday August 28 I’ll be back on Kunstradio doing a solo show with some early material from an ongoing series on radio and timekeeping. I will be re-airing For the time being (2010), as well as some other rhythmic sketches of this and that.