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.



Quarantine Concert- video documentation


Here’s the video from my set for the ongoing Quarantine Concerts hosted by the Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago on April 1, 2020. Curated by Sam Clapp, all the sets that evening were responding to the theme of “Inattention”.

My setup involved 4 FM transmitters, radios, micro-cassette, and small electronics. Also some live Monterey Bay radio world, including the nautical weather report.



The Joy Channel


Finally Emmanuel Madan and I are launching The Joy Channel, our foray into the radio of the future which we have worked on over the years (2007-2017) through several iterations, this being the third and final. This radio art piece was supposed to be about the future a century from now, but at some moments I feel like the present has caught up rather quickly to where we imagined we might end up… or rather, the ‘business as usual’ which results in a transformed New North America seems to be rather imminently taking place. But no matter—the theme is still ultimately one of optimism, as we consider the prospect of tele-empathy versus corporate emo-casting.

To listen or purchase your own digital copy of The Joy Channel, head on over to IO SOUND.  The Joy Channel will be the first on IO SOUND’s transmission arts sub-label. They are a Vancouver-based label who have some terrific releases in the world of experimental sound and now transmission arts, so do take a moment to peruse their catalogue while you’re there.

Here’s what The Joy Channel is all about:

Over a century from now, business as usual has rendered the nation states of Canada, the United States and Mexico extinct. Approximately 40 million people remain in New North America who are mainly concentrated on the west and east coasts in city-states such as Van and Turnpike, or in the walled-in corporate state strongholds of Fortress Alaska and the Protectorate of Utah. Inland, sparse but emergent communities persist.

In this future, the radio ecology still includes community radio, CB and ham radio as technologies which have survived the social and environmental cataclysms by being relatively easy to salvage, fix, and modify, and therefore remain useful to improvised new societies that tend towards local systems, nomadism and scavenging. But radio in the future is not only a sonic medium: it also becomes a means of transmitting neural information in the form of standardized human emotions (corporate ’emo-casting’), or for tele-empathic communion without devices practiced by dispersed nomadic communities.

We tune across the territories of the future radio to learn of the transforming geopolitics and the emerging EM (empathy modulation) band, from the transmissions of a lone ham radio operator or ‘wavefinder’ to the ongoing conversations of a group of hams radioing across the continent, to corporate shills, pundits, religious figures, the seductive sounds of emocast channels, and among them, something new being felt across the spectrum.

This speculative radio art piece explores tensions between the neurological manipulation of emotions and empathic realization, the interaction between the listeners as active or passive subjects, and the renewed struggle over access to the airwaves.

The Joy Channel was originally commissioned by Radio Tesla, Berlin for RadioVisionen: 250 Jahre Radio in 2007. This release is a completely new version of the work with a new script, characters, and scenario, and was chosen as a finalist for the Phonurgia Nova Awards in the category of Sound and Radiophonic Art in 2017.

credits

released September 4, 2018

Produced: /Undefine, Montréal
Recorded : PRIM, Montréal
Mastered: Stéphane Claude, Oboro, Montréal
Design: Jesse Purcell + Fairypunk + s*

Production Assistance:

Canada Council for the Arts
ORF Kunstradio (Vienna)
Wave Farm, Acra NY
Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin)
PRIM (Montréal)
Oboro (Montréal)

Voices: Sarita Ahooja, Leslie Baker, Alexis Bhagat, Matt Bua, Brian Dewan, Lorrie Edmonds, Danielle Frank, Anna Friz, Gina Grotelueschen, Justin Grotelueschen, Darsha Hannah Hewitt, Ricardo Lira, Emmanuel Madan, Randy Peters, Tom Roe, Victoria Stanton, Vince Tinguely, Rufo Valencia

Special thanks to Galen Joseph-Hunter and Tom Roe (Wave Farm), Stéphane Claude and Claudine Hubert (Oboro), Steve Bates (Hexagram), and tobias c. van Veen (IO SOUND).

Thanks to all those involved with earlier incarnations of this work, especially Martina Groß, Andreas Hagelüken, Séamus O’Donell, Moritz von Rappard and Johannes Wilms (Radio Tesla, 2007) and Elisabeth Zimmermann (ORF Kunstradio, 2009).



Echophone


Echophone

Installation consisting of four parts (2017)

Commissioned by the mighty Radius for the Museum of Arts and Design, for the exhibition Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound
September 14, 2017 – February 25, 2018
2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY, 10019

Echophone is the first of a new Radius series entitled BEACON. BEACON invites commissioned artists to investigate the idea of radio as a signal from afar.

Two women rent a room in the Pabst Grand Circle Hotel in New York City in late 1947. Their belongings seem to be comprised entirely of a large number of aluminum postal boxes of the sort used to mail laundry; three bellhops are needed to transport it all up to their room. The women stay for one week, pay in advance, and are not seen during their stay. Over several nights the neighboring rooms complain of strange hums and sounds heard through the walls, disturbing their sleep. Three hotel guests complain of the sudden onset of severe migraine headaches, and request a doctor. The dumbwaiter in the hotel breaks down and is stuck between two floors.

After one week, the hotel staff find the room unlocked and empty. The women are gone, as are their boxes, and the maids discover wires and electronic components on the table and the floor of the room. The dumbwaiter is never repaired.

Four aluminum boxes re-appear at MAD this year. Careful inspection reveals that they are radiophonic, each transmitting a single signal to either AM or FM bands. Perhaps they were sent out as probes, recording what they encounter, and then transmitting their findings. The probes have returned as beacons, measuring distance and indicating time passed or times parallel. Four presents from the past.

Responding to the idea that radio measures and allows for relationships over distance and time, Echophone is a radio based installation that reveals itself to visitors as they explore the Museum of Arts and Design, searching for and tuning into transmissions from beacons which are placed throughout its interior. Radios and headphones can be checked out from the admissions desk to experience this piece. Each individual beacon can only be heard in close proximity to its physical location, and are tuned variably to 107.9FM, 1600AM, or 1620AM.

The installation consists of four beacons and two vintage radios with headsets.

Custom electronics for the project by Ryan Page.

Echophone was developed with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Arts Research Institute of the University of California, Santa Cruz.



Endless Love: All Transistor Model


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Endless Love: All Transistor Model
is a 12-hour durational performance/sound installation conceived by Karine Denault, Anna Friz, and Dana Gingras. We had a red-lit love-soaked premiere of the work overnight on June 20-21, 2015 from 20:30-8:30, at Stable, Montréal, during the 24-hour art event Endless Love. Two dancers, 30 transistor radios, 3 frequencies, 4 auxiliary audio channels and a giant disco ball, for that immersive full-body love effect.

The performers (Karine Denault and Dana Gingras) move through an installation of mid-century AM/FM transistor radio receivers set upon the floor, with four open cone speakers attached to radiators on the surrounding walls. They tune, re-tune, and de-tune across the nighttime landscape and the radio dial, searching for songs of love. They slow dance together, and with others in the audience; they sleep in the radio city troubled by fitful dreams and nightmares; they seek resuscitation and connection through minimal gestures and concrete interaction with the radios and each other. Time lurches unevenly through the night. The heart in crisis requires action, even if union is temporary, fragile, or only glimpsed but never realized.

SAM_0834

The radio landscape is responsive to the bodies of performers and visitors alike: several micro-watt FM transmitters narrowcast a drunken, time-stretched version of a love ballad, as well as static, textures, heterodyne hums and signals, creating a physical soundscape that is constantly acted on and disrupted by the slipping frequencies and electrical interference between devices and the dancers’ moving bodies. Bodies serve as antennas, and receivers become transmitters.

Sound artist and designer Anna Friz further engages the radiophonic field, by changing the scenography of radios and lights periodically from one sculptural ‘set’ to another, as well as modulating and manipulating the incoming and outgoing signals, with a focus on feedback and making the circumstances of transmission audible. In this way the radios act as the sound system, as the moveable scenography, and as collaborating performers, as the devices themselves produce unexpected sounds.

Friz_EL_radio_city

the all transistor model



Trilogy for Night and Radio


Friz_Seydisfjördur_town+mountain

This week is the premiere of the first part of The Remote Series, produced by Skálar FM and commissioned by the Creative Audio Unit of ABC Radio National, Australia for their weekly radio art program Soundproof.
Listen on air, online or download the series prologue Trilogy for Night and Radio: Radiotelegraph/Night Fall/Relay, a three-part sound work by Anna Friz and Konrad Korabiewski.

Autumn in the far north is characterized by a dramatic loss of daylight. In Seyðisfjörður, a small village on the far eastern edge of Iceland just below the Arctic Circle, each day in October has eight minutes less daylight than the one before. The sun is slower each day to crest the mountains which ring the fjord, until mid-November when it no longer rises above the mountains, and the town experiences only indirect light until February.

Trilogy for Night and Radio is a radio art work in three parts that explores remoteness, the descent into darkness and the long Northern winter night. Trilogy is a collaborative exchange between two traveling sound artists – Anna Friz and Konrad Korabiewski – that meditates on feelings of place using the materiality of signals, overlapping remote geographical spaces. As part of the work, we recorded, performed, re-recorded, and composed with sounds and signals from Iceland and Slovenia, with a relay broadcast to Chicago.

Radiotelegraph, is a beacon in spoken morse code, designed by Anna for unlicensed radio simulcast in Seysdisfjördur, Iceland, and in Chicago, U.S.A on the Radius platform in October 2013. Incorporating performed morse code, electronics, and sampled radio signals, Radiotelegraph reflects Seyðisfjörður’s remote location in a deep fjord off the Atlantic Ocean, which was also the site of the first telegraph cable connection between Iceland and Europe in 1906.

Night Fall is an improvised live performance by Anna and Konrad for unlicensed low-watt transmission in Seyðisfjörður to accompany the shift from sundown into full night time darkness. Night Fall elaborates on the sonic palate created in part one, with a soundscape that contemplates the acoustic and electro-magnetic landscape of Seyðisfjörður in the disappearing light of dusk and the feeling of suspended or expanded time that strongly characterizes this village in east Iceland. The performance was recorded live from a small transistor radio receiver, and edited.

The final segment, Relay, is built from recordings made by Anna and Konrad around the winter solstice (December 21-22) in the empty post-industrial spaces in which they were working–Anna in a former tobacco factory in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Konrad in an empty herring factory in Seydisfjördur. They intertwined these traces and signals from distant spaces, using the architecture and landscape as a filter for their signals. Anna took elements from Radiotelegraph and replayed them into the iron bannisters and wooden walls of the tobacco factory using tactile transducers, or speakers which transmit vibrations into surfaces. These signals were re-recorded using contact microphones, and sent to Konrad, who mixed them together with field recordings from different houses and the empty herring factory.

Trilogy for Night and Radio is the prologue to the four part Remote Series, which will air on Soundproof in early 2015 and will feature artists Tumi Magnússon (Iceland), Fernando Godoy M (Chile), Jana Winderen (Norway) and Christina Kubisch (Germany).

Trilogy for Night and Radio was produced for the Creative Audio Unit with additional support from the Danish Arts Foundation, the Danish Composer’s Society, radioCONA, Kultural Center Tobačna 001, Skaftfell Center for Visual Arts, and Radius.

 



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.



Telefunken Twins


telefunken_twins

This week and next, Konrad Korabiewski and I are taking the twins out for a spin….

Two performance works for multi-channel radio, featuring two vintage Telefunken Bajazzo radio/cassette decks, multiple micro-FM transmitters, and a chorus of supporting radio receivers. We employ lo-fi instruments, spectral monitoring, and intricate feedback systems to craft an expressive and intimate world from the sensuality of signal and noise.

By working with small-scale circuits of transmission in performance, we seek to transform radio away from its everyday role as an apparatus of entertainment or information diffusion; instead proposing radio as instrument, as landscape, and as a poetic space of reverie.

Friday May 23, 2014  Gallery Liebig 12, Liebigstrasse 12, 10247 Berlin DE  20:00 sharp

Friday May 30, 2014  Nomadentappe/Memphis, Untere Donaulände 12, Linz AT  20:00

The concert in Linz will also include an artist talk.

Part of the ongoing activities of Skálar Center for Sound Art and Experimental Music which acts as both an artist collective and a curatorial platform, and produces a nomadic festival and international exchanges.