The Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology’s Soundwalks In The Parks Series continues through October, November, and December. Please join us. These soundwalks are free, open to the public and for all ages; led by teaching artists Amanda Gutierrez, Norman W. Long, and me with support from the Chicago Park District’s Night Out In The Parks program.
We hope you can join us, experience your own Chicago soundscapes, and help answer the frequently asked question, “What is a soundwalk?”
This video includes the full duration of our one hour concert at Bond Chapel, on the campus of the University of Chicago. The concert begins with a solo by Birgit (trumpet) and then myself (radios, oscillator, springboard), and concludes with our duo.
New video from 2013 MEGAPOLIS Audio Festival, just in from Justin Groteleuschen, shows Anna Friz and me performing and talking about our work with 100 radios as “breathing instruments” and “players,” accompanied by Springboard, reeds, and electronics. This performance and talk happened at Union Docs in Brooklyn, NY on Saturday, April 13.
An intimate performance demonstration of Eric Leonardson’s Springboard, a self-built instrument made from coil springs, wood, and other everyday objects, amplified by a single piezo-electric contact microphone. Its diverse and unusual sounds belie its humble origins. Leonardson built the Springboard in 1994 and has since performed with many artists locally, nationally, and internationally.
Joshua Baum shot and edited this video at Amherst College in 2013.
Highlights, moments of curiosity, and conviviality: conversations with Trademark G, who performed on Saturday; capturing a spontaneous conversation about listening and the conference on my DAT with Amber and Andrea from Union Docs in Brooklyn; meeting Chantal Dumas; hanging out with Anna Friz, Peter Courtemanche, Glen Gear, who performed on Friday night as Absolute Value of Noise…and with Justin Groteleuschen, who helped Anna and me out last year when we toured to Boston, and wrote about this conference for Transom.org.
Kogawa is credited with starting free radio in Japan. He studied and teaches philosophy there, and uses the ideas of Felix Guattari to frame his own concept of radio and transmission art. Rather than belabor you with all that this richly implies, this statement encapsulates his concept nicely. Quoting from Kunstradio's announcement of Tetsuo's October 2007 live broadcast from Musikprotokoll, Graz:
"My performance consists of radio transmitters/receivers and my hands that wave over them. Every space of my performance has different airwave conditions. But the point is to create resonances and fluctuations of airwaves and to crystallize them into the sounds or/and images. I think radio must be understood as radiation. Radiation is communication of ‘messages' as well as artistic imagination. I am more interested in the latter function. Radio is based on the electronic transmission. This transmission is between mind and body, and brain and hands. Radio could give a model to link different zones of our body and our outer worlds. In the microscopic scale of our body, we have neurotransmitters while in the macro scale we have hands. By my hand-waving transmission, I move between virtual and physical areas, technology and techne (τέχνη) which originally means handwork."
My quick web search for an online version of Kogawa's talk revealed many references, but not the actual text of "Re-examining radio art". Kogawa's main page seems the best source for searching and learning about his ideas and work. One interesting link is a paper by Sarah E. Kanouse on transmission and memory. The PDF download link is here.
My search also reminded me that the latest issue of Leonardo Music Journal, LMJ17 makes mention of Tetsuo Kogawa. This is the same issue that carries my article on the Springboard. The companion CD compiled by Sarah Washington, entitled the Art of the Gremlin, has one track by Knut Auferman with Tetsuo Kogawa entitled fm:i/o.
As he stated in his talk, Tetsuo isn't interested in radio-as-broadcast, "...free radio does not broadcast (scatter) information but communicates (co-unites) messages to a concrete audience." In my hands it certainly is a radio-as-instrument, and Tetsuo demonstrated this most completely and convincingly in his performance.
This one-minute video from Sunday's performance doesn't give the full effect, but does hint at how the Tetsuo uses the proximity of a single trnasmitter to manipulate the sound.
"In accordance with my re-examination of the concept of transmission, I would like to demonstrate a short example to 'parenthesize' the "messages" of transmission and to let the airwaves emancipate themselves."
This is the sort of radio I'm most interested in. It connects the cultures of radio art, hardware hacking, and electronic music performance to one another. In the context of broadcasting it blurs the traditional roles of the sender and receiver making this relationship into one where you or I can easily become a sender-receiver, or a transceiver. The activity of "transception"—on the micro-scale-transmission range of one meter-that Kogawa is interested—results in radio that merges radiation in the electro-magnetic spectrum with the capacitance of his own body.
Here's a photo of the transmitter I built on Saturday, which was part 1 of the workshop. In part 2, participants built antennas for their transmitters with coaxial cable, as shown in Justin's photos. I've received useful knowledge from the Radio Without Boundaries conference on radio and transmission art, with applications in my own performance in hand and for potential student projects. I used the FM transmitter I built in Wednesday night's rehearsal with Auris, and want to experiment with it further.
Hopefully, there will be audio transcripts of the Radio Without Boundaries sessions available so that anyone interested in art, sound, and radio will be able to learn and grow.