City at Night: White Night


friz_white_nightTonight is the opening of my new installation and performance entitled White Night, created within the frame of my City at Night theme during a 2-month residency with KC Tobačna 001 and radioCONA here in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

* Opening at 19:00 at KC Tobačna 001 gallery, Tobačna ulica 1, Ljubljana
* RadioCONA broadcast on 88.8FM begins at 19:16
* Performance in the gallery at 20:00-ish

Later on, Brane Zorman and I do a live set for 2 FM frequencies, using the radioCONA temporary frequency (88.8FM) and the airwaves of Radio Študent (89.3FM) here in Ljubljana. For those of you listening locally, make sure to have 2 radios on at home, one for each station, to hear the full effect!

Here’s a little description of White Night
Radiophonic installation and performance

Since the advent of artificial illumination, the nocturnal urban space is increasingly described by its lighting. The shape and contour of the built environment is outlined by streetlighting, highlighted by mobile car and transport lights, and by lights left blazing in the windows of office towers and store fronts, or recreating daylight over subdivisions, parking lots and sports fields. The stars recede and the sky grows blank from the strength of light pollution, a process accentuated by the typical fog in Ljubljana in winter: no sun, no stars, only diffuse light in a white sky drawn close to the ground.

The ubiquitous infrastructure of the electrical grid powers most nocturnal activity, and its surplus is ticks, static, and hums transmitted by many nodes: buildings, devices, lights, and lines; by damp electrical wires, power stations, connection boxes, irate refrigerators, and ungrounded home entertainment systems alike. Electrical and spectral communication grids overlap and exceed the official city limits, and in these electro-magnetic fields invisible creatures sing on a pale night made indistinct by fog.

Created while in residence at Tobačna 001 and with radioCONA; travel funding gratefully received from the Canada Council for the Arts, Media Art division.
Thank you to Irena Pivka and Vlado G. Repnik.

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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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Sending a Radiotelegraph to the Radius


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For the month of October, I have a new piece up created especially for Radius. I’m halfway through my two month residency at the Skaftfell Center for Visual Art in the small town of Seyðisfjörður on the east coast of Iceland, and the piece involves radiotelegraphy in spoken morse code. Seyðisfjörður is located in a deep fjord off the Atlantic Ocean just shy of the Arctic Circle, and was the site of the first telegraph cable connection between Iceland and Europe in 1906. 1906 was also the year of the first audio transmission of the human voice by wireless means undertaken by Reginald Fessenden on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean at Brant Rock, Massachusetts.

Radiotelegraph is a beacon simulcast by a private low-watt transmitter in Seyðisfjörður (on 107.1 FM) and by Radius Chicago (88.9 FM) at sundown Seyðisfjörður time, for a period of five days in October. The beacon signals the descent of the sun into the northern night. Voice, electronics, and radio signals, all recorded and mixed at Hóll, Seyðisfjörður.

Seyðisfjörður broadcasts (GMT 0):

October 7: 17:59;  October 8: 17:56;  October 9: 17:52;  October 10: 17:48;  October 11: 17:45

Chicago broadcasts (GMT -5):

October 7: 12:59;  October 8: 12:56;  October 9: 12:52;  October 10: 12:48;  October 11: 12:45

 

Radius is an experimental radio broadcast platform based in Chicago Illinois.

 

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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.



Voyage to the MEGAPOLIS


Heading out east next week to install/talk/perform as the pre-fest-warm-up for MEGAPOLIS, the fabulous audio art and radio event which takes place periodically in the glorious Turnpike Entity… er… NYC-Bos-Wash sprawl. This year hosted by the New School.

Eric Leonardson and I will be performing together inside one of my multi-channel radio rigs, using springboard, cottage-made instruments, free reeds and free radio.

Saturday April 13, 7:30pm at Union Docs, 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn NY.

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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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Gone south, with radios


I’ve packed up my radios, and taken them on the road to Valparaiso Chile, for installation and performance at the Tsonami Festival de Arte Sonoro 2012. Many thanks to the whole Tsonami team here, for putting on a really generous event with a great community spirit!

Respire is remounted here as a 3-frequency piece, located in the corridor of the lower access to Ascensor El Peral (there are many ascensors here, which are a kind of outdoor elevator that make it easier to scale the steep hills of Valpo). The radios sway in the Pacific breeze, and chuff and stutter at one another as the fog rolls in to town in the evening. More photos to come soon, but here are a couple from the install, where I had help from an excellent group of installers, including Claudia, Paula (a bit blurry in action in the bottom photo) and head tech for the festival Rodrigo Ríos Zunino:

The piece is open daily November 26 – December 2, 2012, 10h-14h, 16h-22h.

I played the opening night of the festival at the Parque Cultural Valparaiso on Tuesday November 27, 20h. In addition to two stereo pairs of speakers, I also fired up the big transmitter to send to 20 radios suspended over the audience. Two more techie Rodrigos hung them all with the help of a shopping cart…. not pictured is the imperious little black and white feral cat who also followed them around.

Also this week, a new radio piece (50 minutes) unifying some of all the radio and timekeeping projects I’ve been working on for the past two years. It’s called Collecting clocks and losing time, and aired on Monday November 26 at 23h on Radio Valentín Letelier here in Valparaiso on 97.3FM/ 940AM. Here’s a little description:

Once upon a time there was a house on the countryside which housed a hundred clocks. Once upon a time the clocks in every house ran on their own time, and all the trains and hotels and shops had their own time. Once upon a time the time was made universal, divided into zones, and propagated around the globe: it was known as Mean Time. Once upon a time there were microwaves fired at a cesium-12 isotope, and the rate of electron loss dictated the most standardized time of all. Still there were digital devices that did not understand which time zone they lived in. Still everyone was late. Still the clocks began to slowly drag the seconds and minutes and hours behind them. Once upon a time the clocks burned in a fire. Now there are only five that remain.

Finally, I’m joining 3 other artists from the festival to give a short talk on Thursday, November 29, 17h, also at the Parque Cultural Valparaiso; mine perhaps predictably about radio, radio art, and everyday practice.

 



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.



The Lost and Found


Mercer1_webradios_Mercer_webE.C. Woodley and I have an interesting side project going titled after his long-running radio show on CKLN 88.1FM here in Toronto. He brings the records from his most recondite collection (featuring spoken word and misc. arcana pressed to vinyl back when the top speed was 78 rpm) to sample in long form, and I bring the glorious noise of radio world, all spatialized into three vertical layers of sound. 

Our most recent gig was at the opening of Deep Wireless on May 1, 2010, and the above photos are from our previous outing at Mercer Union‘s “Music in Alternative Spaces” in July 2009 (both locations in Toronto). Our set-up riffs on traditional radio listening (the big central radio around which the audience gathers), as well as my multi-channel tactics (in this case, an array of hanging radios, and speakers above the radios in the ceiling). 

Here’s how the official line on what we’re up to:

“The Lost and Found” is an ongoing collaboration between Anna Friz and E.C. Woodley to explore phenomenologies of recording, radio, and electricity, and the materiality of the transmission environment. Woodley uses three turntables to work with curious recordings, giving preference to these sounds as discrete entities, an audio equivalent to the approach Canadian visual artist Greg Curnoe used in his collages of the ‘60’s. Friz adds VLF, shortwave, interfrequency static, and live electronics to the mix, and spatializes the sound via multi-channel micro-radio transmission to an array of vintage receivers. “The Lost and Found” convenes a communal ritual of radio listening, and promises an evening lost and found voices heard in the dark corners of the radio dial.

 

Friz and Woodley met in 2005 over an impromptu collaboration on Woodley’s long-running radio program (also named “The Lost and Found”) on CKLN-FM in Toronto. Woodley has also written music for many films including Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” and his brother Aaron Woodley’s “Rhinoceros Eyes”, “Toronto Stories” and “Tennessee”.

 

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I know, I know, another scene of sound artists pouring over gear on a table. At least we sit off to the side, so people can choose if they want to watch us twiddle our knobs or not. For the Deep Wireless gig we had the lighting adjusted better than in these photos, and I also replaced the Grundig Emergency radios in the array with a series of bigger transistor radios from the late 60s-early 70s (Nordmende Globetrotter, Transita, and Corvette; plus a Bel-Air and a Panasonic). 



And it’s winter time again….


anna_darlington_lake_ontarioWhen not mucking around in the snow with a microphone, I’m toiling away deep in the Nice Little Static Laboratories (possibly in my work pajamas, though rumours are unconfirmed) to produce some sounds for spring. Most pressing: dissertation chapters! And CD projects, including completing one with Eric Leonardson that we began about 2 years ago and which will include the complete suite Dancing Walls Stir the Prairies (band names also up for consideration, if y’all have good ideas), as well as putting the finishing touches on Short Horizon, which I hope to launch in March.

Meanwhile, here’s a little shot of the old antenna far above the house….. just because it’s pretty.

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