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Ràdio Web MACBA: Five podcasts (and one essay) on radio… from the outer limits of radio

RWM_Antena

Antenna prototype from the working group of Radio Web MACBA. Photo: Albert Tarrats

In this selection of podcasts and reading materials, we pay tribute to radio from different ways of doing and perspectives, through approaches ranging from artistic practice and the plasticity of ether to the community and political spheres.

 

 

1/ Maia Urstad:

‘When you want to listen to a program with only voices, it is nice that it’s clear and you can hear it. On the other hand, you have lost this unpredictable element that’s coming to visit you at strange times and I think it has some poetry as well.’

Norwegian artist Maia Urstad works at the intersection of audio and visual art, with a particular fascination for the connections between technology and communication. Her work explores devices that are on the way to becoming obsolete – such as Morse code and two-way radio taxis – as well as others that are thriving, like optic fibre. Naturally, radio plays a leading role in this crossover. In this podcast, we talk to Maia Urstad about her relationship with radio, nostalgia, and time pips, about AM, FM, and DAB, about arches and obelisks, sounds in the fjord, and time capsules, and about local radio stations and lost tapes.

 

 


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2/ Anton Kats:

‘Radio studios are very enclosed spaces. People who are professionals have access, and maybe a circle of people around them, or people who are invited are allowed to enter (...) the radio voice is also very interesting because it is kind of a missing link between the divine force and the voice inside your head.’

In this podcast we opt for extensive, durational listening, enthralled by Anton Kats’s verbiage, charisma, and intuitions. Radio is embedded in his background through his grandfather, who was a field radio operator in WWII. Radio also features prominently in his artistic practice as a mobile, open, mutant, informal device. In his hands, radio is a user-friendly tool that he uses to reclaim and occupy public space while connecting formal social structures with the streets. Anton Kats’ narrowcasts provide a listening space for voices, needs, urgencies and non-conformist narratives.

This podcast is co-produced by Sonic Acts and part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

 

 


PODCAST >




3/ Anna Friz:

‘My experiences inside and outside the studio –on both sides of the dial as listener and maker –began to reveal a complex series of relationships between people invisible to one another. The little people in the radio became a fascinating animistic twist on the socio-technical state of the medium, and revealed much about the tenacious if often frustrated human desire for communication and union across any distance.’

In this show, Anna Friz riffs on the anachronistic childhood fantasy of the little people who live inside the radio and perform all the voices and sounds heard. Turn on the radio, the little people begin to talk; change the station, and they change their voices. Most basically it features an exploration of the uses and misuses of the trope of the radio host, taken from archival material, scans of the dial and excerpts of works by radio artists, mixed into a landscape of radiophonic interceptions and interfrequency radio sounds. The result is an investigative bricolage that considers the environment, morphology and taxonomy of the little people inside the radio.

 

 


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ESSAY >

4/ David Goren:

‘Every day in our walk through the world, we wade into an imperceptible sea of shortwave radio signals beaming in from thousands of miles away. Bouncing between earth and sky, this massive flow of signal pulsates in constant variation. Its electromagnetic essence infinitesimally tickles our nervous systems with tones, beeps, drones and whispers.’


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5/ Franco Berardi:

‘All of a sudden, between 1975, 1976, and 1977, three hundred radio stations started broadcasting in Italy, and at the same time a movement of unemployed people, students… young proletarians, started to self-organise and to interact with radios. This is the context: a new freedom in the field of communication and new forms of organisation in the social field.’


PODCAST >


... and an essay from Jon Leidecker:

‘In the early decades of the 20th century, the experience of living with recorded sounds was still too new to comfortably expand upon the never-before-questioned definition of ‘live music’: the liveness of radio was what made it instantly more exploitable as a musical tool.’