Walls in the Air

Paul DeMarinis

DeMarinis writes:"It was the year of the Big Bad Bombs. I turned eight and got promoted to my own room in the semi-finished attic of our old house. It had a spooky crawl space behind the wall, away under the eaves. Somehow I made peace with the monster on the other side of that wall and on winter nights would spend hours listening to the old Zenith console that reached out through the ether and gave my imagination a web on which to catch the sounds of the universe."

Walls in the Air (2001) was created for an exhibition celebrating the acquisition of the tape archives of Radio Free Europe from 1948 - 1990 by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

A restored and functioning 1948 Polish Diora "Pionier" radio picks up transmitted signals derived from historical RFE archival recordings intermingled with local AM radio broadcasts. This transparency of past and present are made evident as visitors tune through the AM dial.

The radio receiver pierces the lath-and-plaster wall. On the front of the wall is a decorative shelf that holds mementos of Lenin and Stalin, also items from the Hoover archives. On the floor behind the wall is an old footlocker that contains the 8 transmitters that broadcast the historical tracks in blank areas of the local radio spectrum. The footlocker supports a homemade crystal receiver and some comic books.

Thanks to Cissie Hill, Elena Danielson and the Hoover Instituition

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