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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Digitale Sinneskulturen des Radios


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I have a site-specific installation up this weekend in Berlin as part of the conference Digitale Sinneskulturen des Radios/Multisensual Radio Culture.

21./22. JUNI 2013
STUDIO P4 | Nalepastraße 18-50 | 12459 Berlin

Studio Time is a new piece which adapts compositional elements from For the time being (2010) and What the cuckoo knows (2013), two recent pieces of mine exploring aspects of radio and timekeeping. This family of works considers the fallibility and musicality of broadcast clocks. Studio Time uses incidences of official time signals (such as UTC broadcast on shortwave radio, the National Research Council time signal heard on Canadian public radio, and clock tower bells heard at noon on Finnish and Dutch radio stations), as well as sounds from domestic analogue striking clocks, particularly cuckoo clocks. The installation was created for the conference on the site of the former studios of the DDR Funkhaus, now a recording studio and venue. The studio is preserved in its original design, and Studio Time occupies four voice-over isolation booths adjacent to a main studio. Each booth has a different part of the piece: two single channel pieces are heard over a mono speaker in each of two booths, a set of headphones plays a stereo piece in the third booth, and a mono radio transmits a composition in the fourth booth.

Thanks to Emmanuel Madan for setting things up for me in absentia. He’s exhibiting an installation exploring mechanical induction and bodily capacitance at the conference as well, entitled Lueurs.

Digitale Sinneskulturen des Radios is presented by Masterstudiengang Online Radio, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg mit Breitband, Deutschlandradio Kultur und Experimentelles Radio, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.



The Joy Channel in Intimate Spaces


For those of you living close to Vienna, Austria, you can catch the second iteration of the Joy Channel (by me and Emmanuel Madan) at the Institute für Medienarchäologie Sound Galerie, during their current program Intime Räume/ Intimate Spaces in 5.1

The show is up from September 29, 2012 to January 17, 2013, at the Klosterhof Hainburg, Austria.

Guest curator and Kunstradio producer Elisabeth Zimmermann explains the whole program:

The point of departure for this series is the 5.1 radio art piece “Intimate Space” that was created by Andrea Sodomka in 2009 and which explores the themes of distance, communication, and intimacy on a poetic level. Broadcasting in 5.1 surround sound – not only pre-produced, but also live – has been technically feasible in Austria since 2004, when ORF – the first public radio station in Europe to broadcast live in the 5.1 format – aired the Kunstradio project Re-Inventing Radio on its Long Night of Radio Art. In 2005 Kunstradio invited the Swiss artist and sound architect Andres Bosshard to hold a workshop for artists. It took place at Studio RP4 at the Funkhaus station in Vienna, where back in 1990 the RP4 workshop had given artists access to the whole range of possibilities introduced by the then new Studio RP4 – digital radio-play studio. By the end of the 5.1 workshop Andres Bosshard had created “Zwischen Antares und Altair”, a piece in which he incorporated sounds one doesn’t usually hear, e.g. the warm-up exercises of a singer. Another piece that is based on private sounds and statements recorded by chance is “Sirenen, intim” by writer and director Lucas Cejpek. Whereas recording for “Sirenen, intim” also took place at Studio RP4 during the ORF radio-play production of “Sirenen” in 2005, for her piece “A Space of Translation” the Berlin-based visual artist Ines Lechleitner had no choice but to use a microphone hidden beneath her veil to record conversations and sounds in public space in Teheran in 2008. Fascinated by the Chinese culture of public spitting, the Colombian artist and filmmaker Margarita Jimeno plays with our aversion to spitting in “SPIT RADIO – Or the Road to Spitiskan”. By taking the perspective of a hostage, the German author Birgit Kempker exposes listeners to a completely different taboo in “Papa, short version”. The Austrian author and radio artist Peter Pessl carries us off to an inner sound landscape enhanced by recordings from Tibet, Nepal, and North India in “Re-Inventing Tibet”. And in their fictitious sci-fi radio art program “The Joy Channel” the Canadian artists Anna Friz and Emmanuel Madan concoct a world that tries to directly manipulate peoples’ feelings using experimental radio transmissions.



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.