The Radio Art Hour: Scanner, Black Siren Radio, Andrea Sodomka (Audio)
New works this week from Scanner, Black Siren Radio, Andrea Sodomka. British radio artist Scanner is first, with "The Earthbound Fox" from his 2022 album collaboration with Olga Wojciechowska, here going by Strië. Next we tune in "Mourning Good" from Black Siren Radio, and introduced by Andy Stuhl. “Mourning Good” is the work of Black Siren Radio, which is one outlet for the We Be Imagining initiative. We Be Imagining combines academic research and the performance arts to propel “critical conversations around race, gender, class, and disability.” “Mourning Good” exemplifies this approach by collaging music and archival audio including academic work. A keystone source for the remix is a 2017 talk by sociologist Ruha Benjamin, but we also hear Pauline Rogers, Joshua Bennett, Mamie Till, Kendrick Lamar, Geto Boys, 2Pac, and others. The producers of Black Siren Radio, which airs on Columbia University station WKCR-FM, intend for the piece to advance an artistic practice of remixing and re-amplifying Black scholarship. - Introduced by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2021/2022, Andy Stuhl. Finally, we tune in "Intimate Space" by Andrea Sodomka, and introduced by Jess Speer. "Intimate Space" was originally conceived as an installation for the festival Ars Sonora, Radio Clàsica, put on by Radio Nacional de Espana. As is her usual practice, Sodomka spent many months thinking about, researching, and conducting interviews about the concept of intimacy and intimate space before beginning composition or production. During this time, she spent time in Tokyo, which gave her insight into cultural and contextual differences in the idea of physical intimacy and personal space. When the time came for production, Sodomka and her collaborators, including Helmut Jasbar on electric guitar, Heidelinde Gratzl on accordion, and Sodomka herself using electronic instruments, gathered in the studio, and were able to take time to improvise and play together to get a good recording that captured their expression of intimate space. Afterwards, Sodomka worked with sound engineer Anton Reininger to mix a recording in Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound that included a recorded interview with collaborator August Black edited by Anna Kuncio, and a sound donation by Daniel Lercher.
Sodomka’s original plan for the installation included using mini-FM transmitters broadcasting from cars outside the festival venue and the audience walking around the cars with receivers, but technical problems led to a smaller installation of transmitters located in a room. The piece was first broadcast on ORF Kunstradio as a radio art piece on September 20, 2009, and was installed and performed on September 23, 2009, at CDMC (Festival for Contemporary Music), in Alicante, Spain. In the installation, audience members walking around the room created a new version of the work, their movements and the pieces of the broadcast being transmitted from various transmitters shifting the sounds throughout the installation. The piece was broadcast again on October 24, 2009 by Ars Sonora, Radio Clàsica.
In both its installation and broadcast formats, the piece references and uses radio as a way to think about intimacy and intimate space as something that is broadcast, so to speak, from individuals and extending out at various distances depending on the cultural background and personality of individual “transmitters.” Compositionally, the piece was also inspired by the sounds Sodomka could hear from her “composer’s hut” in her garden: birdsong, neighborhood children, and other sounds of the people and natural world around her becoming a part of her intimate space and compositional work. Distance, communication, and intimacy are all factors in this intimate space. Similarly, mini-FM transmitters can allow people to transmit a broadcast within the distance of their own personal bubble, only allowing those physically close, and therefore within the intimate space, to receive those messages, and taking that personal bubble of intimate space with them wherever they go. “Radio creates a mapping between time and space,” Sodomka says, “transforming an acoustical geometry into a spatial geometry.” - Introduced by Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow 2020/2021, Jess Speer.
Welcome to "The Radio Art Hour," a show where art is not just on the radio, but is the radio. "The Radio Art Hour" draws from the Wave Farm Broadcast Radio Art Archive, an online resource that aims to identify, coalesce, and celebrate historical and contemporary international radio artworks made by artists around the world, created specifically for terrestrial AM/FM broadcast, whether it be via commercial, public, community, or independent transmission. Come on a journey with us as radio artists explore broadcast radio space through poetic resuscitations and playful celebrations/subversions of the complex relationship between senders and receivers in this hour of radio about radio as an art form. "The Radio Art Hour" features introductions from Philip Grant and Tom Roe, and from Wave Farm Radio Art Fellows Karen Werner, Jess Speer, and Andy Stuhl. The Conet Project's recordings of numbers radio stations serve as interstitial sounds. Go to wavefarm.org for more information about "The Radio Art Hour" and Wave Farm's Radio Art Archive.