Radio Mind

2011, 62:12 min.
Magz Hall

Sound and radio artist Magz Hall has explored themes of place, history, gender, identity, nature, spirituality, and of course radio transmission itself in her works for both installation and broadcast. In the first microtransmitter installation of her piece Radio Mind (2011), Hall turned The Old Lookout Gallery into a chapel for a religious pirate radio cult. Radios in the shape of birds were suspended in fishing nets from the ceiling, with a crucifix mosaic of old radio valves and a 1929 radio dressing the altar. With doors and windows open, the beach sounds added to the soundscape. “Missionaries'' also walked the beach holding portable radios playing looped broadcasts, adding a performance element to the installation, and bringing their message to a nearby resort. 

Hall’s recordings draw from the 1925 text Spiritual Radio by Archbishop Du Vernet, and the futurist manifesto Radio-Style by David Burliuk, to explore the mystical, spiritual, aesthetic, philosophical, cultural, and mythical connotations of radio. Segments of the programming, backed with electronic and instrumental music, include readings from both works, as well as a variety of voices delivering what sound like a mix between short radio sermons, repeated phrases that sound like station IDs or possibly mantras (“Radio Mind, feel the waves of abandon guide you to the lighthouse in your mind. Radio Mind will anchor your thoughts.”), and musical interludes, including an ecstatic group chant of Radio Mind accompanied by a band that almost recalls some of Alice Coltrane’s ecstatic music. The readings cover the similarities of prayer and telepathic communication and healing to radio transmission, including both theological and scientific arguments for the Radio Mind, as well as Burliuk’s manifesto on the socio-cultural and aesthetic changes wrought by “the radio epoch.” 

In addition to exploring the psycho-spiritual dimensions of radio transmission, the piece also imagined a new use for radio, broadcasting as one of a number of trace stations that sought to reimagine the world of the FM band in light of the UK’s government proposal to “switch off” analog FM radio. Radio Mind has also been installed at the Burton Gallery (Kent, UK) in 2011, the Lightworks Festival (Grimsby, UK) in 2012, and at the Deep Wireless Festival (Toronto, CA) in 2012, and broadcast as a radio art piece on stations internationally. - Described by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2020/2021, Jess Speer.