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.
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.
Still in full-swing: The US-American podcasting boom.
Traveling to the heart of its scene.
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 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.
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).
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.
Before I left the drama department of Bayern2 Radio for working at the University of Basel and starting my PhD, I had the great pleasure to interview Okwui Enwezor, who had just become the director of Haus der Kunst in Munich. Tonight the interview from 2011 with interesting insights on growing up in Nigeria, being a young black man in the New York art scene in the 1980s and many more will be broadcast again. You can listen to the pocast here. (All dubbed in German)
Okwui Enwezor, director of Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany. Foto: Andreas Gebert
Three days after the terror attacks in Paris, four days after the massacer which the suicide bombers caused in Beirut, in the middle of the biggest refugee track through Europe since World War II, during an evil war in Syria and daily terror in Israel, Iraq and so many other places since decades: I still feel speechless and deeply sad. On the contrary to so many politicians and demagogues and their immediate response to the terror attacks. All over the planet they seem to know the answers right away and cannot wait to spread their verbal build-up of arms via any channel of communication. But their hatred and racism, their cry for war and revenge is no answer. It never was and it never will be.
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.
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.
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.
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.