Wave Farm Radio Art Fellowship: Austin T. Richey

Jun 21, 2024 - Jul 19, 2024
Wave Farm + WGXC Acra Studio

5662 Route 23 | Acra, NY 12405 | 518-622-2598

Austin T. Richey Portrait

Austin T. Richey Portrait.

As Wave Farm's 2024 Radio Art Research Fellow, Austin T. Richey will contribute five new artists and works to the Broadcast Radio Art Archive. Richey's research will focus on artists who utilize new interfaces to develop an emergent soundscape or hide themselves within the sonic textures. The cohort will include Zimbabwean radio and sculpture artist Masimba Hwati, whose performances connect Shona ritual and contemporary diasporic African life, and Martin Freeman, a New York-based instrument maker who builds and leads workshops around solar-powered synthesis. Richey's interest in diasporic frequencies and environmental modulation developed from his own performance practice. Each Fellowship commences with a 10-day on-site residency. In addition to using this time on-site to inform his research, Richey will sound out Wave Farm through broadcast recordings of his own solar instruments, placed throughout the campus. These sounders will be complemented by a set of instruments—specifically built for his time at Wave Farm—that are only audible through EMF detectors.

Austin T. Richey is a musician, multimedia artist, and ethnomusicologist based in Detroit, Michigan, where he explores the resonances between diasporic African musical, dance, and visual arts and Detroit-specific genres such as Motown and techno. Richey’s current sonic practice reclaims public spaces through community-oriented DIY synthesizer-making workshops and site-specific, historically and environmentally informed sound installation. Through these workshops, Richey connects young sound makers to their environment via deep listening practices while teaching skills like electrical engineering, encouraging them to experiment with self-designed sonic expressions.

Richey has published original research in African Music, Opioid Aesthetics, and Sonic Signatures, has contributed research to the Public Broadcasting Service digital series Sound Field, and is currently turning his dissertation on experimental community music-making and griots in Detroit into a manuscript. His research is supported by the Frederick Douglass Institute, the Society for American Music, Humanities New York, the Knight Foundation, and the Presser Foundation. Collaborations include work with Sō Percussion, Bora Yoon, and extensive live sound installation and performance with Maritza Garibay as the duo Dominant Hand. He earned a Ph.D. from Eastman School of Music in 2023, is an instructor at Western Michigan University's Gilmore School of Music, and is the current Storyteller for Detroit Opera.