Solar Radio at Wave Farm


photo by Patrick McCormack

Solar Radio, which I worked on together with Absolute Value of Noise aka Peter Courtemanche has now been installed in the Wave Farm outdoor sculpture park as a permanent addition.

We created Solar Radio/Embodied Radio Device as an album release in 2020, and this present permanent installation expands on both Peter’s Solar Radio design and the sonic world of the small artificial intelligence that Solar Radio enables. Here’s what this version is all about:

Some years in the future, or perhaps in a surplus version of the present, a solar-powered artificial intelligence wakes with the sun. Its body is a small radio tower with solar cells and a modest signal. With sufficient solar intensity it powers up and responds to the environment, playing with simple AI sound synthesis algorithms in an attempt to imitate and broadcast what it senses nearby, such as insects, birds, frogs, wind, falling rain, changing weather, or magnetic phenomena. It hums and sings, perhaps accompanying a chorus of crickets or a passing bear, perhaps transmitting a memory of a bird from the recent or distant past and the song it sang then. The human culture that created this small artificial intelligence may have changed radically or may no longer exist, but it continues its sonic explorations, generating and remembering sounds, and transmitting signals to the inhabitants of its immediate animate world.

In our present, the Wave Farm realization of Solar Radio is an outdoor sound installation featuring a small artificial intelligence mounted to a short radio tower which wakes with the sun and sleeps when the light grows dim. It monitors the seasons and the amount of energy available to it through its solar cells, generating an evolving composition in response to environmental conditions. Listeners may access Solar Radio at wavefarm.org/listen and will also encounter it woven into Wave Farm’s terrestrial radio transmission, WGXC 90.7-FM.

The AI is keenly aware of the state of its energy source – the electronics know when the solar panel is in full sun or in the shade, or blocked by clouds. It can change its behavior, and switches its circuitry to draw out the power in different ways. The resulting generative sound reflects the mood of the AI and its perception of the outside world that changes with the cycle of seasons. Low energy waking-up audio consists of tones or tone-poems made of combinations of simple waveforms. As more energy becomes available, the AI can also better observe its fluctuations and add more complicated computed sounds into the mix when the energy levels are high enough and stable; it may also develop an earworm, or fixate on a remembered sound for a time.

Solar Radio proposes a different way of thinking about and relating to electrical power and small-scale computational systems. It moves away from the idea of power being instant and ubiquitous. Technologically, it embraces its limitations rather than combating them within the rhythms of the environment and the sun. It also speculates on relationships between artificial intelligence and the world that could take place beyond human intention or control.

This project is made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional travel support for Anna from the Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship.

photo by Patrick McCormack



Fog Refrain


photo by Gabriel Saloman Mindel

July 14-15, 2022, from 14:00 until noon the following day, I will be performing a live 22-hour radio art show entitled Fog Refrain.

LISTEN ONLINE HERE

The show is hosted by Radio ARA, heard internationally on over 14 radio stations, and takes place at the Apdikt, behind the Bridderhaus, 1 Rue Léon Metz, 4238 Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. For anyone local, drop in to experience this live show between 14:00 and midnight. Free entry.

Here’s what it’s all about:

A radiophonic day and night composed live from listening and responding to signals within the long slender fog zone between Santa Cruz and Jenner on the northern California coast. Existence here is shaped deeply by the marine layers and tule fogs that water the land and flow over and into its contours. Ancient coastal Redwood trees grow only as as far as the fog rolls ashore, and in the absence of rain for many months of the year the fog is the only source of water. Particularly during the summer months, the coast is deeply buried in daily fog. Yet as the climate crisis brings drought and wildfire to this area, the fog is also receding. Without the fog, the land will be transformed to a more sere, harsh place. As Etel Adnan also writes: “We believe in the uniqueness of these times as in the originality of this sky.”

The fog is no more a container than radio is a cup to be filled with programming. A medium is not merely a conduit for moving content; a medium might be understood in the multiple senses of conveyance, expression and cultivation. Land, sea and air combine as fog. Similarly, tune in to listen to the radio as it carries across from the Pacific coast to inland Esch and beyond, bringing all manner of signal activity from foghorns, raven calls, coyotes, pedestrian signals, harbour communications, redwood forest and chaparral, sounds from the burn scar of summer fire, air-to-ground chatter, owl calls and the dry continuous flirtations of spring insects.

Like refrains through these field recordings are stories and live performed compositions based on a ‘score’ crafted from forces observed at key points where fog and infrastractures meet, such as the narrows where the Pacific Ocean enters the San Francisco Bay. Based on cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge, I have assembled a list of forces characteristic of the bridge, such as the fog moving over and under the deck, the rhythms of car traffic, the intense buffeting wind that one leans hard into while cycling, pelicans surfing air currents overhead, railings that sing, and fog beacons and horns sounding on the nearby headlands. Throughout the 22 hour program, I will be live in studio in Esch, intertwining field recordings with performances of such observation-based scores in response to the real-time movement of the fog along the north coast based on satellite information, using my assembled instrumentation of electronics, voice, lung-powered boat horns and radio instruments.

Live performance by Anna Friz. All field recordings by Anna Friz together with associate recordists Gonzalo Galetto, Gabriel Saloman Mindel, and Abram Stern.

This project is made possible with support from the Arts Research Institute and the Committee on Research, University of California, Santa Cruz.



Radio Art Zone: Lifewave


Radio Art Zone is a 100-day radio art station for Esch2022, which will be broadcast in the south of Luxembourg by Radio ARA on 87.8 FM. It will also be live-streamed for a worldwide audience and transmitted by a network of international partners. LISTEN HERE.

The Radio Art Zone schedule consists of two daily programmes: newly-commissioned 22-hour radio productions created by more than 100 international and local artists, and 2-hour live shows from kitchens in the community.

Today, Saturday 9. July 2022, tune in to Lifewave: The Infinite Feedback Loop That I Am, produced by my good friend and collaborator Rodrigo Ríos Zunino live from Chile, with a host of collaborators and contributors including yours truly. Listen from 14:00 to 12:00 on 10. July, or across 22 hours.



Imperfect Breath at Heroines of Sound


My piece Imperfect Breath, commissioned by Avatar (Québec) as part of a retrospective of work by composer and radio artist Chantal Dumas, will be presented on July 8 as part the Heroines of Sound Festival, specifically for the Tape Concert curated by the talented Annesley Black (who will also be presenting a new commission at the festival on July 7).

Heroines of Sound Festival seeks to amplify and (re)discover female protagonists in music and increasing the public presence of their music. The goal of all Heroines events is to make the works of women pioneers of electronic music accessible to a wider public, so that audiences have the opportunity to discover connections between early heroines and women composers active today in contemporary music and electronic performance.

Show takes place on July 8, 2022 at 22:30 CET at Radialsystem, Berlin: Holzmarktstraße 33, 10243 Berlin Germany.



Radiophrenia 2022


Radiophrenia has launched, the excellent radio art project in Glasgow, heard on FM, on-site and online from February 7-20, 2022, transmitting from the Centre for Contemporary Art.

I have a couple of collaborative projects broadcasting as part of the overnight slots: the NRRF Radio Collective‘s We Interrupt This Broadcast (2021) and my ongoing collaboration with Absolute Value of Noise/Peter Courtemanche on the project Solar Radio (which will also soon be a permanent installation at Wave Farm in Upper Hudson Valley in 2022).

Tune in:

February 12, 2022 01:00-05:00 and February 16, 2022 03:00-04:30 Glasgow time for Solar Radio

February 8, 2022 0:00-02:00 and February 11, 2022 05:00-07:00 Glasgow time for We Interrupt This Broadcast



-And-


Jeff Kolar and I have a new duo work streaming today for the project 12-12-12-12 initiated by Christof Migone.

The second in a series of twelve annual events taking place on December 12 from noon to midnight EST (9-9 PST, 11-11 CST, 17-05 GMT, 18-06 CET, 1-13 CST, 2-14 KST). Each year the event moves through each word of the 12-word phrase you and I are water earth fire air of life and death and activates the word of the year in myriad ways.

This year the word is ‘and’, consequently the focus is on repetitions, conjunctions, and duos. Last year it started with ‘you’, this year we connect you to anything and everything, we connect you to what you are together-with. Or, we get stuck in the very act that ‘and’ opens up, into the enormity that the so-what-next that ‘and’ implies.

LINKS
– Link to main info page on the 12-year project here.
– Link to project page here.


-AND- HOUR 2 (10 PST, 12 CST, 13 EST, 18 GMT, 19 CET, 2 CST, 3 KST)
Radius (Chicago) PRESENTS Anna Friz (Santa Cruz) and Jeff Kolar (Chicago)

The end is pretend

Time does not pass, it accumulates. A series of gestures, repetitions, and refrains; human loops which may not last but do linger.

Anna and Jeff have collaborated together for more than a decade on various musical and radiophonic projects around the world, most often in the form of live improvisatory performances and broadcasts. In early March 2020, we met in Chicago to perform and to record new sound work. That week together was the last before the lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic began, so we were studiobound in that very uneasy moment before the many changes to come. We each created small sonic loops from a very limited palette of instruments or devices, including a radio scanner to pick up local two-way radio frequencies from shortwave to police talk. We are returning to these sonic moments 18 months later, passing them between us over greater distances this time, up to three exchanges of accumulating layers. This is a process of navigating public and personal crises buoyed by our artistic friendship.

A gesture, and a gesture, and a gesture. And another. And an other. And each other.

LINEUP for 12 hour stream:


-AND- HOUR 1 (12 EST)
Fado (Toronto) PRESENTS Erika DeFreitas (Toronto) and Adrian Piper (Berlin)

-AND- HOUR 2 (13 EST)
Radius (Chicago) PRESENTS Anna Friz (Santa Cruz) and Jeff Kolar (Chicago)

-AND- HOUR 3 (14 EST)
Zone Sound Creative (Taipei) PRESENTS Po-Hao Chi (Taipei)

-AND- HOUR 4 (15 EST)
Resonance Extra (London UK) PRESENTS James Greer & Neil Luck, Merlin Nova, and Milo Thesiger-Meacham

-AND- HOUR 5 (16 EST)
LOOP (Seoul) PRESENTS Byungjun Kwon (Seoul)

-AND- HOUR 6 (17 EST)
CRiSAP (London UK) PRESENTS They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it (Anna Barham & Irene Revell) (London UK)

-AND- HOUR 7 (18 EST)
squint press (Québec/Toronto) PRESENTS Different From The One You Are In Now with: Mary Walling Blackburn, Allison Cameron, Barbara Campbell, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Darren Copeland, Renato Grieco, Michaela Grill, Sarah Hennies, Marla Hlady, Seth Kim-Cohen, Francisco Meirino, Salomé Voegelin.

-AND- HOUR 8 (19 EST)
Array (Toronto) PRESENTS Renée Lear (Toronto) and Christof Migone (Toronto)

-AND- HOUR 9 (20 EST)
Western University (London ON) PRESENTS Ellen Moffat (London ON) and Eeva Siivonen (London ON)

-AND- HOUR 10 (21 EST)
Avatar (Québec) PRESENTS Béchard Hudon (Montréal)

-AND- HOUR 11 (22 EST)
Wave Farm (New York) PRESENTS LoVid (New York)

-AND- HOUR 12 (23 EST)
Errant Bodies Press (Berlin) PRESENTS undo (Christof Migone (Toronto)  & Alexandre St-Onge (Québec))

PAST EDITIONS
YOU-
1st edition, December 12, 2020
– Link to archive of YouTube livestream here.

LINKS
– Link to main info page on the 12-year project here.
– Link to project page here.



NRRF presents: Irrational Anthem


NRRF Radio returns, this time taking on the audio cultures of patriotism, specifically national and state anthems.

Radio and television stations around the world regularly play their national anthem, either at the end of the broadcast day or at a designated hour. In the US the practice was amplified under the COVID-19 pandemic on conservative networks. The imagined sound of everyone singing an anthem signals an equally imaginary unity around national identity. But this pantomime rehearsal of a uniform national ‘we’ continually erases difference while the band plays on, singing of warped colonial American dreams to the tune of an inevitably mediocre melody in doggerel rhyme. In Irrational Anthem NRRF takes up various anthems of the Americas as a radiophonic method; to deconstruct and interrupt regularly scheduled patriotism; to add to this messy contemporary soundtrack; to form a noisy hymn of resistance and reflection for new collectivities that include difference, dissensus, rebellion and renewal. 

Invited by Tsonami Festival de Arte Sonoro, NRRF will be performing in Valparaíso, Chile on December 12, 2021, at 20h (UTC -3). Jeff Kolar will be live on site, with Jonny Farrow, Anna Friz, Stephen Germana and Peter Speer performing remotely from Abu Dhabi, California, Florida and North Carolina.



Extremity Cassette on Radio Tsonami


Extremity Cassette is a generative audio piece that imagines samples on a near-endless stretch of audio tape. Wound through a complex, multi-head cassette machine, the samples overlap with themselves, repeat, vanish and reappear. The magnetic nature of the machine itself picks up noises from the ether and mixes them with free reed and heterodyne sounds.

Inspired by the short story The White Death by Stanislaw Lem, where a planet made entirely of inorganic material is the crystalline host to fabulous machines, Extremity Cassette imagines a prehistoric mechanism that loops and churns out a never ending, ever changing musical score. Until one day the organic world is introduced … then rust interferes with the workings of the cassette … the sounds become progressively more erratic, and eventually stop.

Originally composed for Art’s Birthday, 17 January 2009, Extremity Cassette will play overnight from June 1-7, 2021 on Radio Tsonami, originating from Valparaíso, Chile.

Absolute Value of Noise (Peter Courtemanche): VLF Antenna and Receiver
Anna Friz: Theremin, Harmonica, Kazoo, Melodica



10 Band Radio for WGXC’s 10th Anniversary


After more than a year of performing at a distance via radio and online broadcasts, I’m super excited to do my first live show tonight since January 2020!! Come on down to the Greenville Drive In theater, come rain or stormy weather (which there may be a bit of tonight). In celebration of the mighty WGXC, broadcasting high power community radio to Green and Columbia counties in New York state for past 10 years, I’ll be part of the festivities and doing a new 10 minute piece called “10 Band Radio” (note the emergent theme here….) Will there be walkie talkies? You betcha. And probably some silver rain gear.

The rest of the week I’m here in a mini-residency at the Wave Farm, doing live radio from the Acra studio at Wave Farm on Thursday May 27 2-4pm New York summer time to wrap up Jess Speer‘s Wave Farm fellowship, and a solo show Friday May 28 4-6pm where I’ll be making some new improvised radio art incorporating recent recordings and environmental media of all sorts with electronics and voice. Listen here.



Rewire 2021


Very pleased to have 2 pieces in the current Rewire Festival, the International Festival for Adventurous Music usually taking place in The Hague, Netherlands, which is online this year.

The Joy Channel, created with Emmanuel Madan, is playing on the Rewire Radio presentation channel on Sunday May 9, while my solo commission with Radiophrenia in 2016 How To Pack A Whale airs on Friday May 7.

Checkout all lineup and links here!