Karlsruher Postulate für Geschlechtergerechtigkeit im Kulturbetrieb

Im Rahmen der ARD-Hörspieltage 2019 fand auf Initiative der WDR-Hörspielredaktion der Thementag „Wie weiblich ist der Kulturbetrieb?“ statt. Er widmete sich ganz einer Bestandsaufnahme der gegenwärtigen Situation von Frauen in Kunst und Kultur in deutschsprachigen Ländern, denn: Über 100 Jahre nach Einführung des Frauenwahlrechts in Österreich und Deutschland, über 70 Jahre nach der Verabschiedung von Artikel 3 des Grundgesetzes zur Gleichberechtigung der Geschlechter und zwei Jahre nach Beginn der #MeToo-Bewegung ist der Kulturbetrieb immer noch diskriminierend – auf ganz unterschiedliche Weise und in den unterschiedlichsten Bereichen wie z.B. in der Musik, ob in der Klassik oder im Rock, in der Literatur oder im Film.

Um die Situation von Frauen im Radio genauer unter die Lupe zu nehmen, war ich im Rahmen des Thementages eingeladen, den Eröffnungsvortrag zum Bechdel-Test im Hörspiel zu halten sowie an einer Podiumsdiskussion teilzunehmen mit der feministischen Linguistin Luise F. Pusch, der Genderforscherin Sabine Hark, der Islamwissenschaftlerin Lamya Kaddor, der feministischen Autorin Stefanie Lohaus und der Journalistin Hilde Weeg. Im Anschluss daran teilten sich die Diskutantinnen und das Publikum in drei Arbeitsgruppen auf. Ihre Ziele: Unterschiedliche Postulate formulieren, mit deren Hilfe die Situation von Frauen in Kunst und Kultur verbessert werden kann. Eine Dokumentation des Zusammentragens der Ergebnisse ist hier zu hören.

Inzwischen wurde unser kollektives Manifest auch unter dem Titel „Die Karlsruher Postulate für Gleichberechtigung in Kunst und Kultur“ online veröffentlicht. Die Schriftstellerin Tanja Dückers hat ihre Sicht der Situation von Frauen im Kulturbetrieb und ihre Unterstützung der Initiative im Interview erklärt und auch die Redaktion Hörspiel und Medienkunst des Bayerischen Rundfunks hat sich zu den Karlsruher Postulaten bekannt. Für den SWR hat Wolfram Wessels mich zur Situation von Frauen in Kunst und Kultur, insbesondere im Hörspiel, und zu den Karlsruher Postulaten interviewt. Das Interview kann hier angehört werden.

Und darum geht in den Karlsruher Postulaten ganz konkret:

Karlsruher Postulate for Gender Equality in Art and Culture

At the ARD-Hörspieltage 2019 the radio play department of the WDR in Cologne initiated the special theme day „Wie weiblich ist der Kulturbetrieb?“. It was entirley dedicated to an enquiry of the current situation of women within art and culture as workspaces in German speaking countries, which still has to be called quite discriminating. Since 2004 this annual festival for radio plays takes place at the prestigious ZKM Karlsruhe and has turned into a meaningful collaboration of the joint organisation of Germany’s regional public service-broadcasters ARD with the public broadcasters ORF of Austria and SRF of Switzerland.

I was invited to give the key-note speech about the bechdel test and radio plays and to participate in a panel discussion with the feminst linguist Luise F. Pusch, the gender researcher Sabine Hark, the islam scholar Lamya Kaddor, the feminist author Stefanie Lohaus and the journalist Hilde Weeg. After this discussion the participants of the panel and the audience where divided into three different workgroups. Their taks: To come up with different postulates how to improve the situation of women in art and culture. Here you can listen to the documentation of the gathering of the results.

Karlsruher Postulate: For Gender Equality in Art and Culture – NOW!

Meanawhile our collaborative manifesto also has been published under the title „Die Karlsruher Postualte für Gleichberechtigung in Kunst und Kultur“ and I have been interviewd by the radio station SWR 2 about the situation of women in art, culture and radio play as well as about the Karlsruher Postulate. And this is what we demand in English:

Bechdel-Test for Radio Play

On Nov. 9th at the ARD Hörspieltage in Karlsruhe (GER) I gave a lecture on the Bechdel Test with a special focus on radio plays and about the limitations of the Bechdel test . My presentation was the start of a special theme day looking at the situation of women in cultural institutions two years after the kick-off of the #MeToo movement. After the presentation I participated in a panel discussion with Sabine Hark, Lamya Kaddor, Stefanie Lohaus, Luise F. Pusch und Hilde Weeg. This discussion led to three workshops, which resulted in the „Karlsruher Postulate“ – our demands and commitments how to bring real gender equality along – eventually. For documentation of the special theme day in German see here.

To Hear the Gras Grow – A Climate Activism Podcast

When I designed my podcasting course „Gras wachsen hören“ (or „To Hear the Grass Grow“) at the department of Media Ecology at the University of Potsdam in Germany, I had actually planned to teach my students about John Cage and musical collaborations between humans and fungi, and then go on to do some tricky recordings with them. However, Fridays for Future and the thousands of students striking worldwide each week to stop climate change did not make my students all that interested in aesthetic research, as I had to learn.

Fridays for Future Demonstration on July 19, 2019, in Berlin, Germany. Photo: © maxiwittek.de

Deeply impressed by Greta Thunberg and her committed, inspiring fight for immediate changes in climate policy, the end of fossil fuels, and the reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2035, the participants in my course preferred to make something more concrete. So we decided to produce a climate-activism podcast. This decision coincided with Thunberg’s visit to Berlin and her support of the local Fridays for Future demonstration on Friday, July 19.


Radiophonic Spaces: First Transnational Radio Art Exhibition

Opening of Radiophonic Spaces Exhibition at Museum Tinguely, Basel (CH).

Today is a very special day: After many years of envisioning and a couple of years of thorough research and hard work, Nathalie Singer and her team present their Radiophonic Spaces exhibition to the public at Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switzerland. 

Nathalie Singer opening the exhibition Radiophonic Spaces

This “sonic journey through the history of radio art” is unique in many ways: It brings together more than 200 curated pieces of radio art from the last 100 years and from all over the world. Thus it documents the historical and ongoing explorations of the intriguing, ever-changing sound medium radio by artists like Antonin Artaud, John Cage, László Moholy-Nagy through to Michaela MeliánAndreas Ammer, Colin Black, Tetsuo Kogawa and Gregory Whitehead.


Researching Podcasting in the US

My PhD project focuses on the transition from analogue to digital radio and how works of acoustic art relate to it. Thus, the development of the US-American podcast scene is of special interest for me, as it takes a leading role in the field. The term podcast was first coined in 2004 as a portmanteau of “iPod” and “broadcast” and referred originally to digitally produced and distributed audio programs on the internet, which were published periodically and could be subscribed to via RSS feed. As podcasting is still a rather new media phenomenon and the academic field of podcast studies is just about to emerge, I applied for the 2018 U.S. Embassy SANAS Travel Award to do field research. Altogether my journey lasted 14 days and covered ten interviews in five cities.   

Due to its relevance for US-American radio history and the development of the podcast-scene, I started my research in Chicago. Thanks to the city’s geographic location, the first Chicago radio stations in the 1920s were listened to from the East coast to the Rockies and beyond. Needless to say, that Chicago emerged early on as a broadcasting center and a central switching point for transcontinental network lines, attracting various creative media people. One of them was the legendary radio host Louis “Studs” Terkel (1912 – 2008).


The Road to Brexit – A Students‘ Podcast

The White Cliffs of Dover (Image: Makiko Itoh/Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Just in time for Brexit’s second anniversary, Prof. Ina Habermann at the University of Basel and students of her research seminar published their podcast The Road to Brexit on the historical and cultural preconditions and motifs why so many Britons voted to leave the EU on June 23, 2016. Trained as a professional radio journalist who writes her PhD at the English department in Basel, it was a great pleasure and challenge to help them bring their project alive. Together with Prof. Habermann I edited the texts of the students, I taught them how to speak on the radio and took care of recording, editing and publication of the project. In eleven contributions the students looked for example at Winston Churchill’s war rhetoric as well as at the myth of Dunkirk or the movie T2 Trainspotting and a European perspective at Great Britain.

You can read an article about the project and its background on the website of the university in German or in English. Further information about the project, the production and the contents you can find here. And last but not least you can listen to the podcast here.

I highly recommend to take some time for this podcast. Listening to these 69 minutes of an enlightening fusion of cultural studies research and radio journalism is in my opinion definitely worthwhile. Congratulations to Prof. Habermann and her students, well done! It’s been a blast to work with you.

Russian Avant-Garde on the Radio

It’s my great pleasure to announce the return or the Russian avant-garde, at least on air and online – unfortunately only in German, though: Today, Friday April 20 my feature “Die Medienkunst der russischen Avantgarde” will be broadcast. Therefore I had the great pleasure to talk to some terrific researchers and experts on Russian art, media and cultural history: Siegfried Zielinski, Berlin based media-archaeologist and theoretician, Sylvia Sasse, professor for Slavic literary studies at the University of Zurich, the historian and musicologist Boris Belge (Basel) and the Chlebnikov expert Andrea Hacker (Bern).

Some of the Russian Kubo-Futurists, around 1912

The reason for this radio show is the broadcasting of Andreas Ammer’s and FM Einheit’s terrific interpretation of Arseny Avraamov’s „Symphony of Sirens“, the loudest composition in music history, which was staged October 2017 in Brno, Czech Republic. Last Friday a recording of this unique performance has been broadcast by the radio drama department of Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), which is still available on its website in different mixes: A binaural mix for headphones, a 5.1 mix and a documentary film of the performance in Brno.


Symphony of Sirens: 1922 / 1923 / 2017

Of all the arts, music possesses the greatest power for social organization. – Arseny Avraamov          


When over 100 years ago women workers in Petrograd facotries laid down their work, because they didn’t have money to buy bread for their families anymore, they finally brought about the break-through of the the Russian Revolution. It was still the beginning of the 20th century, nobody knew how devastating it would get, and so hopes were still high that a new man and a new woman would be born through the revolution. According to the Russian avant-gardists one of the most important means to accomplish this aim was sound, respectively acoustic experiments, mainly – noise.


Energies & the Arts

Visiting Joyce Hinterding & David Haines in the Blue Mountains (NSW), Australia

“Like linguists turn to coding, silversmiths turn to electronics”, says David Haines. For the Australian artists it seems to be the most natural thing in the world to artistically transcend materials, media and genres. Haines, who just has been awarded the 2017 Australia Council Visual Arts Fellowship for two years, to delve further into his “abiding interest in aroma as an art form” and develop a substantial exhibition across the range of his practices, is one half of the intriguing Australian art couple Haines & Hinterding. The other half is Joyce Hinterding, a former silversmith and nowadays an artistic expert on energies, especially on Very Low Frequency Radio Waves and Natural Radio.


During my research stay in Australia Douglas Kahn was so kind and generous to introduce me to his dear friends and neighbours Joyce and David. The couple invited me to visit them at their lovely home in the bush of the Blue Mountains to learn more about their art practices – an unexpected, spontaneous visit, which turned out to be one of the highlights of my research trip down under. After a nice spring roll lunch and some conversation we wanted to go and see some kangaroos together. However, I quickly became so fascinated by the multisensory artistic cosmos of Haines & Hinterding and our conversation lasted so long that the kangaroo visit had to be postponed. 

What makes the works of Haines & Hinterding so fascinating to me is the fact that they are outstanding examples of artistic research.