When I met the writer, film-maker and artist Miranda July in Zurich for an interview last week, I asked if I might take a picture of her with my smartphone. Sure, she said. But she just wanted it to be a true selfie – taken by herself.
The Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) Karlsruhe has opened again after several months of restoration. Within the next 300 days the festival GLOBALE will take place in the former ordnance factory: Many different exhibitions and symposia around the two main topics Infosphere and Exo-Evolution are in the making.
The guided tour through the two clouds – symbolizing Infosphere and Exo-Evolution – which Peter Weibel, manager of the ZKM and media artist, gave to me in advance for Deutschlandradio Kultur can be found here.
It is a great pleasure for me to announce that my first scientific article on radio art in English has appeared. After passing the double-blind peer review process of the ECREA Radio Research Section it just has been published in the book „Radio: The Resilient Medium. Papers from the third conference of the ECREA Radio Research Section„, edited by Madalena Oliveira, Grazyna Stachyra and Guy Starkey.
After I had the great opportunity and pleasure to present my PhD-project at the Radio Research Confernce in September 2013 in London it is of course also a very special pleasure to see the article printed now in English in a book, together with the articles of over 20 other radio researchers from all over the world. My very special thanks goes to Guy Starkey, Grazyna Stachyra and Madalena Oliveira for the great job they did in editing this wonderful book. Although Mauro José Sá Rego Costa was allowed to translate the article into Portugese and publish it in advance in the online-journal of the State University of Rio de Janero the English version only can be accessed via the book due to the copyright of the publishers to protect their investment in preparing the book for print.
Nevertheless it´s certainly fine to tell the title of my article and to publish the abstract here:
Today the result of intensive research in the last weeks and months goes on air and online: My 28 minutes long radio feature „Von Aliens, UFOs und Erdlingen – Zur Kulturgeschichte der Außerirdischen“ will be broadcasted by the Swiss public radio station SRF 2 Kultur, afterwards being available as a podcast.
This production was only possible thanks to wonderful reasearchers like film scholar Simon Spiegel, astrophysicist Ben Moore, literature scholars Robert Stockhammer, Hania Siebenpfeiffer and Philipp Theisohn, ethnologist Alice Spinnler and numerous aliens. They are all featured in the show.
A big thanks also goes to all the others who helped and inspired my work along the way and openend my eyes for so many incredible creatures in and aspects of this universe. These selenites of The Great Moon Hoax from 1835 (see pic the right) are only one example.
A very special thanks goes to Philipp Theisohn and his team at the Swiss national research project „Conditio extraterrestris. The Inhabitated Galaxy as the Space of Literary Imagination and Communication (1600 – 2000)“ at the German Department of the University of Zurich.
Their amazing research projects probably bore me out the most that humankind is once again changing its sense of self and that we have to think and talk about it. Therefore I also portrayed Conditio extraterrestris additionally in a seperate article and broadcast.
Saturday this week (22nd of November) my seminar „They are amongst us. Towards an intergalactic and interdisciplinary cultural history of aliens“ starts at the department for art research and media philosophy of the art academy HfG Karlsruhe. With art students from different disciplines I will try to find out how and why the unimaginable is imagined the way it is and how, why and when the imagination has changed in history and how all of that depended on the evolution of media.
We will be reading theoretical texts e.g. by Immanuel Kant, Nikola Tesla, Hans Blumenberg, Umberto Eco, Kodwo Eshun, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Joseph Vogl, novels by Stanislaw Lem and H.G. Wells, listen to Orson Welles‘ radio drama „The War of the Worlds“ (1938) and watch movies like „Alien“ by Ridley Scott, „2001: a space odyssey“ (1968) by Stanley Kubrick, „Solaris“ (1972) by Andrei Tarkowski, and „Contact“ (1997) by Robert Zemeckis. Of course this will be for me as a radio researcher one of the highlights:
25 years ago we skipped school and climbed on the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate. From up there we were looking down at armed GDR soldiers who didn´t know anymore what to do. One day before they still had the order to shoot anybody from the East who wanted to climb over the wall to the West. And now everyone from the East was allowed to cross the boarder freely and we, the people from the West, were climbing up on the wall to celebrate freedom and the end of a dictatorship, to celebrate the success of the resistance movement and to welcome the people of the East. Very poignant memories.
Today there are still many walls in this world existing, separating and excluding people, between Palestine and Israel, between Mexico and the USA, last but not least on the outer boarders of the EU between Africa and Europe.
Yesterday evening the „Radio as Art“ conference in Bremen (Germany) was opend with a wonderful keynote lecture of Hank Bull, one of the first artists who considered themselfes explicitly as radio artists. The title of the lecture performance: „The Reception of Electricity.“
It was a live radio show at its best that Hank Bull gave to the audience at the Guest House of the Universität Bremen and the listeners of the four webradios that are connected with the live-stream of Mobile Radio (documentation @ SoundCloud). In combination with recalling the history of the legendary „HP Show“ (1976 to 1984) Hank Bull gave a wonderful overview of the history of electricity starting in the 18th century and tracing it up to our presence. In doing so he showed how philosophers like Marx and Nietzsche missed the revolutionary dimension of electricity, that „killed God“ and gave birth to new „Gods“ through the human imagination like Frankenstein’s monster, Nosferatu and the alien voice.
The first human-fungi musical collaboration
After a long day thinking about connectivity I just came across this video of „Listening Post“ by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin, an installation I saw 2004 at the Ars Electronica in Linz. I find it still as impressive and poignant as ten years agon. Is this the altar of the 21st century? Despite „big data“ and surveillance?
„We may not abandon the place“ and „Never let them stop you from working“. These are the two most important advices, Julian Assange gave to the audience, when speaking via Skype from his room in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for one hour to the about 100 people at the Helmhaus in Zurich in the evening of the 8th of March 2014.