Natural Radio

Energizing Encounter with Douglas Kahn

What makes Australia and especially Sydney for radio art researchers like me such a desirable place to go to is the variety of sound and radio artists and scholars, who live and work there. There are numerous reasons for this cluster or gathering, as I found out during my research stay. However, one main reason certainly is Douglas Kahn, Professor for Media and Innovation at the University of New South Wales. Being responsible for such outstanding, seminal books like the essay collection Wireless Imagination. Sound, Radio and The Avant-Garde (1992), which he co-edited with the radio artist Gregory Whitehead and his two monographs Noise, Water, Meat. A History of Sound in the Arts (1999) and Earth Sound Earth Signal. Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (2013), Douglas Kahn attracts PhD candidates and researchers from all over the world, who are interested in radio and sound and their relation to the arts. 

 

When I eventually dared to contact Douglas Kahn and kindly asked him for an interview, he was very friendly and generous and invited me to visit him at his home in Katoomba, a cozy little town at the fringe of the overwhelming, scenic Blue Mountains Nation Park, about two hours by train west of Sydney. 

After I had read „Wireless Imagination“ and „Noise Water Meat“ with great benefit for my own research on the epistemology of radio art, I turned to „Earth Sound Earth Signal“, which left me behind quite a bit baffled at first. At the same time I developed the hunch that this book is about something really fascinating, mind-blowing. And as I like challenges, I kept coming back to it, over and over again. One sentence, which had struck me in particular, was „Radio was heard before it was invented and it was broadcast before it was heard.“ Therefore I asked Doug at the beginning of our interview, if he would be so kind to explain this phenomenon, which is called „natural radio“. You can listen to the interview dubbed in German here, and you can read it below in English. This is what Doug answered:  Weiterlesen

Sonic Reflections

Conversation with Colin Black about Radio Art

When I met Colin Black for the first time in June 2014 at the Radio as Art Conference in Bremen it made a strong impression on me when one evening this tall, slim man with shoulder-length blond hair from Australia looked up to the German sky and wondered whispering to himself: „Oh, this is how the moon looks like up here.“ Since then I was longing so much to go to Australia someday to find out how the moon looks like Down Under.

Of course the moon was not the only reason I very much wished to travel to Australia. Like Canada this huge country on the other side of the planet has an amazing radio research and radio art scene and as a radio art reseacher I of course wanted to find out more about the reasons why this is so.

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„Translating (as) Infinite Jest“

Reading & Workshop with Ulrich Blumenbach

Seminal novel, ingenious translation.

The novel Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1962 – 2008) was published in 1996 and is regarded as a masterpiece of US-American literature. Like no other writer of his generation David Foster Wallace knew the Oxford English Dictionary by heart, was highly educated and could mimic various linguistic styles perfectly. Thus his book became not only an encyclopedic novel with 388 endnotes, some of which stretching themselves even over pages. The novel also displays a huge arsenal of figures, each of them speaking more or less in a unique way.

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Interviews on Art, Technology & Feminism

From this week on my radio interview series „Art, Technology, Feminism“ will be broadcast again within hör!spiel!art.mix at Bayern2. It was a great pleasure and experience to speak to four such inspring female artists and scientists. Afterwards the interview with VALIE EXPORT, the interview with Ute Holl, the interview with Cornelia Sollfrank and the interview with Silke Wenk will be available as podcasts in German.

Photo credits in order of slide show:

VALIE EXPORT CC BY-SA 3.0 Manfred Werner, Ute Holl © Andreas Zimmermann, Cornelia Sollfrank CC BY-SA 3.0 Cornelia Sollfrank, Silke Wenk © Eva-Maria Evers.

Okwui Enwezor on „Aesthetics & Postcolonialism“

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

Okwui Enwezor, director of Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany. Foto: Andreas Gebert

Todtnauberg: Researching Paul Celan’s encounter with Martin Heidegger

The philosophical radio magazine „Sein und Streit“ asked me to visit for them the hut of Martin Heidegger in Todtnauberg, a climatic spa approximately 60 minutes by car from Basel in the Black Forest. Of course I knew about this famous hut, which Heidegger acquired in the early 1920s and where he concentrated on developing his fundamental ontology.

Heidegger’s hut above Todtnauberg and the famous well with the star-die on top. (August 2016)

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A Revelation: Alan Macfarlane On Writing

I have written all my life: articles, features, essays, diaries, letters, columns, seminar papers, speeches, lectures. I have experienced writing as burden and as bliss. Writing never stopped to fascinate me. Still I felt unsatisfied with my way of writing. Most of the time I have written for money as I used to work as a journalist since my teenage years. This is certainly not the worst reason. But I always had this other longing. I wanted to experience a different kind of wirting and yet not a  poetic, fictional one. I was looking and longing for way of writing about the world, about so-called „reality“ as well as about art I neither learned at school for journalism nor at university, especially not at German university. Eventually today a friend of mine drew my attention to this interview on writing with the British anthropologist Alan Macfarlane.

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Radio portrait of Miranda July

On Sunday night, the 3rd of April at 10.05 pm my one-hour long radio feature „Wir und sie und alle die wir kennen. Die kalifornische Konzeptkünstlerin Miranda July im Portrait“ will be boradcast in German at Zündfunk Generator on Bayern2 (afterwards available as podcast). Based on my November 2015 interview with Miranda July and my interview with the scholar Antje Czudaj, who wrote a book on July’s intermedial art, I am analyzing her work in a wider context. In this portrait I am looking at Miranda July’s background in 1990s Riot Grrlism in Portland, Oregon and at her own art work alike: I will talk about her short stories and her debut novel, her films and her media art pieces. Especially I will focus on the interactive and webbased project „Learning to Love You More“ (together with Harrell Fletscher, 2002 – 2009) and her latest intermedial art work „Somebody“, a combination of an app and a wonderful short film, which the fashion label Miu Miu of Prada helped her to realize.Thus I strive to unravel her artistic concept and claim that Miranda July should be regarded as one of the most interesting artistic voices of the current generation.

Tribunal & Clouds: GLOBALE @ ZKM

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.

Real Cloud of Exo-Evolution by Transsolar - Foto: Harald Völkl, © ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie

Real Cloud of Exo-Evolution by Transsolar – Foto: Harald Völkl, © ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie

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.

Peter Weibel, Vorstand und künstlerischer Leiter des ZKM © ZKM | Karlsruhe, 2014 Foto: Andy Ridder

Peter Weibel, manger and artistic director of  ZKM © ZKM | Karlsruhe, 2014 – Foto: Andy Ridder

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