The Radio Art Hour: Bill Fontana (Audio)

Nov 06, 2021
Produced by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow Jess Spear and Artistic Director Tom Roe.
Bill Fontana's 1987 work "Cologne-San Francisco Soundbridge" is featured this week. Exploring ideas about the musicality and physical qualities of sound itself, listening as an act of composition, place, distance, and history, sound artist Bill Fontanas sound sculptures have been broadcast and installed in cities throughout the world over the last 50 years. In 1987, Fontana created what he calls a sound bridge between the far-flung cities of San Francisco and Kln (Cologne), connecting, mixing, and then broadcasting their soundscapes. 18 microphones were placed in locations throughout each city, and the sounds they picked up were then brought together via satellite. From a radio studio at Westdeutscher Rundfunk Kln (WDR, West German Radio, Cologne), Fontana live mixed a collage of the sounds, including sea lions and the fog horns of the Golden Gate from the San Francisco Bay and the cathedral bells and river boats in Cologne. The hour-long mix was broadcast live from over 50 radio stations internationally, including American Public Radio in the US, who partnered with WDR in the production, as well as museums in Cologne and San Francisco. - Introduced by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2020/2021, Jess Speer.