New work with Public Studio


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In March 2013 I working in Israel/Palestine with Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky of Toronto-based Public Studio on their newest film installation, What Isn’t There. The piece comes from nearly 20 years of photographing and filming on the sites of former Palestinian villages in Israel, an exploration of the politicized landscape in all its beauty, banality, and absurdity. The installation had its premiere in Toronto on May 22, 2013 in a one-night outdoor presentation, and consists of four channel video, accompanied by stereo sound (which visitors listen to on wireless headphones). It’s a powerful piece, which truly immerses visitors due to the design and scale of the screens, the intimate sound, and very formal yet generous presentation of the subject. I’m super pleased to be part of the team, composing and designing the sound.

Public Studio never rests, so we’re busy at our terminals working on a commission for Ryerson University, another audio/visual work called Drone Wedding. Wedding industrial complex meets military industrial complex, war meets the everyday under a familiar sky…. I wish I could say such an idea were a farce, but too often drone strikes abroad have targeted innocent civilian gatherings like weddings and parties. Drone Wedding will be up and running for the fall semester, from September 17-December 19, 2014 on the Ryerson University New Media Wall, in downtown Toronto, Canada.

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Radiotelegraph continues to travel


Friz_morse_mountainBack in October 2013, while on residency at Skaftfell Center for Visual Art in Seydisfjördur, Iceland, I crafted a 16:00 minute radio beacon to broadcast on my private transmitter every evening at sundown for a week. Radiotelegraph featured my first formal attempts at performing vocal morse code, laid over a bed of signals and oscillations. It was simulcast on the mighty Radius in Chicago, U.S. as episode 44 in their esteemed catalogue of transmission experiments.

In the last month, Radiotelegraph has made its way around the world in various ways:

-featured on Radius’ Sketchpad series on WGXC New York and the Wavefarm’s Transmission Arts archive, May 23, 2014

-featured in the latest curated playlist of Radius’ PATCH series on WFMU New Jersey and the Free Music Archive (FMA), posted June 1, 2014. This series includes three Radius episodes that reflect on the concept of distance.

-featured as part of radio trickster Gregory Whitehead‘s edition of Radio Yak, heard on the brand new Soundproof program, Radio National of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, aired May 25, 2014.

And finally… tomorrow I’m on my way to give a paper at the Radio As Art conference at the Weserburg Museum Studienzentrum in Bremen, Germany, taking place from 5-8. June 2014. I’ll be talking about “The Wireless Experience of Distance”. The whole conference will be streamed by Mobile Radio here, including some really nice curated overnight programming from the Radia network and ORF Kunstradio.



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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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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Five Times (less a hundred)


I have a new piece showing in Vancouver for the month of November, curated by Peter Courtemanche for An Audio Gallery, which is located at Lucky’s on Main Street.

It’s a 7-channel piece about collecting clocks and losing time, inspired by my late father’s love of cuckoo clocks. I’ve also been composing some radio works using the cuckoo clocks, so expect more cuckoo-cluck in the future.

Once upon a time there was a boy and his younger brother. They were visiting family on the countryside. One day they walked down the lane, past a field and a pasture, until they came to a little house. Inside lived an old lady, and her name was Mrs. Dane. When she opened the door and invited the two boys in, they discovered that her house was far from quiet. Inside the drawing room they saw that her walls were filled with clocks, all sorts of clocks, from floor to ceiling. The boy was especially drawn to the many cuckoo clocks that sang the time every half an hour. Where do they all come from, he asked her, and how do you wind them all? Oh they found me, she said, and sometimes it takes me the whole day to find the time. The boy never forgot Mrs. Dane and her house full of clocks. When he grew up and made his own way in the world, he traveled to a country with deep forests and high mountains, where cuckoo clocks made their home. He found them nesting in the trees, and he collected as many clocks as he could carry to bring home. Some flew away, some traveled by ship, and some were lost in a fire, but he kept as many as he could, and hung them on the walls in his drawing room. When he was an old man, there were just five left. He didn’t mind that the clocks would drift across the day. Their ticking kept him company, and lulled him to sleep at night.

Come and hear/see, Monday – Saturday 12h-18h, Sunday 12h-17h.

Lucky’s  3972 Main Street, Vancouver, British Columbia

Showing until December 9.

Special thanks to Peter Courtemanche for technical assistance.


Hard to tell in this grainy photo, but the lampshade is made of pink feathers.



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!



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.



Isn’t it too hot for self-promotion?


Probably. So listen to this while wearing a nice cold shirt straight from the fridge (do not listen to electronic gadgets in the cold bath):

Measure the time taken– three pieces (2 new ones, and 1 older one I made with Eric Leonardson) created as part of my ongoing exploration about the perception and standardization of time through time keeping and recording, and radio. They explore the continuous, irregular present, suspended and stretched through habit and drift, and measured against the Futurist dream of time overcome. Published in issue 22 of No More Potlucks, a bilingual online and print on demand journal of politics, art and culture.

photo: Tom Blanchard

For those of you in Winnipeg, you can mosey on down to Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art and catch Road Movie, installed until August 19, 2012. It’s a wonderful piece, conceived and directed by Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky aka Public Studio. My contribution was the film soundtrack and the sound installation design.

As for new work, I’m currently researching and experimenting with more time-related pieces under the working titles “One minute from now” and  “Zero Hour”, as well as slowly compiling an album’s worth of material to make available in the winter, and doing some writing about transmission art. Lots of travel coming up in the next year: Tsonami festival in Valparaiso Chile (Nov 2012), another short residency at ORF Kunstradio, Vienna (Dec 2012), performing in Evalyn Parry’s SPIN in Vancouver (April 2013), Heart as Arena on tour in Québec (end of April 2013), and a residency courtesy of Radio CONA in Ljubljana, Slovenia (Nov-Dec 2013).

 



Upcoming conferences…


I have the honour of giving the keynote speech at the gala evening of the National Campus/Community Radio Conference, the yearly gathering for the National Campus and Community Radio Association here in Canada. Takes place June 15, 2012, in Kingston, Ontario, hosted by the mighty CFRC 101.9FM, who are also celebrating their 90th anniversary of radiophonic activity. I’ll be talking about resonant versus radiant paradigms for radio, illustrated by speculations and curiousities regarding the Radio of the Future, including the search for extraterrestrial life, whales, and some little people stuck inside the black box. You know, my usual pet topics.  I’m also sitting on a panel about radio art from 15h-17h, with Darren Copeland of New Adventures in Sound Art and Montréal artist Andrea-Jane Cornell.

Then I’m zooming off to London, England for the Supersonix Conference, hosted by the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts Europe, and Exhibition Road Cultural Group, June 21-23, 2012. I’ll be giving a paper entitled “A Noisy Field of Relations: Radiophonic art and vital materialism”.



Heart As Arena in Ottawa and Montreal


We’re remounting Heart As Arena, a new dance work by Dana Gingras/Animals of Distinction, with radio installation and sound composition/design by yours truly.

May 10, 11, 12, 2012 at the NAC Studio at Canada’s National Art Centre in Ottawa

and May 29, 30, 31, 2012 at Agora de la danse, as part of the Festival TransAmériques in Montreal

Heart as Arena is a multimedia work for five performers, explores ideas of receptivity, transmission and the secret language of electricity that animates heart, mind and muscle.

Low-watt radio transmitters broadcast a fragile stream of love songs, snatches of static, and the deep silence of space.  A constellation of radios hovers above the dancers, creating a living array of sound. The transmissions create a physical soundscape that is constantly acted on and disrupted by the slipping frequencies and electrical fields created by the dancers’ moving bodies. Bellini’s Norma, the canonical opera of desire, love and loss, acts as the emotional centre of the piece, emerging and disappearing throughout the piece like a distant station heard on late night radio.

This choreography explores the heart as an arena of electrical and emotional force fields; the attraction and repulsion of bodies in motion; physically demanding expressions of need and want; the electrical interplay at the base of our emotions; the firing and silencing of the very neurons that create our experiences of falling in or out of love.

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