TRANSMISSION ART ARCHIVE
A Box of 78s
DinahBird, a radio artist based in Paris, created a noteworthy radio art work called A Box of 78s in 2014. Dinah Bird explains the rich story behind the project: her grandmother, who was born on the island of Salt Spring in British Columbia, inherited a box of 78 rpm records of classical music. Dinah’s grandmother took this box of records with her as she moved over the course of her life to two continents. In 2012, some time after her grandmother died, Dinah retraced the box’s journey and took the records back to their starting point in Salt Spring. Dinah Bird writes, “Using my great-grandfather’s diary and daily notes on the weather as a guide, I played the records outdoors, on a portable gramophone in spots around Salt Spring where my grandmother and her family had picnics, played tennis or danced, and I recorded what happened...This composed sound work blends memories, observations, field recordings and music.” Appropriately, Dinah Bird pressed this composed sound work into a vinyl record. And then, in a playful protest of digital sound propagation, Dinah Bird did a radio relay, sending a single copy of the record to radio stations all over the world. When a station received the record in the mail, it was to record notes on the weather at the time of broadcast. Then the radio station sent the record on to the next station in line, 25 stations in all, including Wave Farm's WGXC 90.7-FM who broadcast the project on Jul 18, 2015. This radio relay followed the direction her grandmother’s records had also originally traveled.
In the true spirit of the project, I need to report that Dinah made a digital recording of the vinyl version of A Box of 78s especially for the Wave Farm Radio Art Archive on May 20, 2020 at 5:37pm. The weather in Paris was sunny. As I upload this piece into the Wave Farm Radio Art Archive it is May 27, 2020 1:12pm in Bergen, Norway, and the weather is mild and overcast with patches of blue sky. You can see wonderful photo documentation of the process, including the weather logs, here: bird-renoult.net/aboxof78s - Described by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2019/2020, Karen Werner.