With Tetsuo Kogawa (JP), LIGNA (D), Julian Priest (NZ), Michelle Teran (CA)
August 19 thru October 8, 2010
opening reception: wednesday, August 18, 7pm
The exhibition is a cooperation of D21 Kunstraum Leipzig and Radio Blau
Since the discovery of radio waves, we have had an intense fascination with its uses—even more so since we began applying it in the field of telecommunications. Through military, political and commercial applications and because a democratic communications network became technologically realizable, in which all the participants are both the transmitter and receiver, a utopia was created as described by Bertold Brecht and Hans Magnus Enzensberger in their theory of radio. Furthermore, computerization of the media and networking of everyday life has democratized the production means for the potential broadcaster. The pluralizing of the media through the internet as well as through cable TV and digital radio standards has resulted in the softening of the commercial and state monopoly. This exhibition presents artists and art collectives that exploit the democratization and appropriation of technology for the critical exploration of social conditions, in the search for new collective forms of association.
Tetsuo Kogawa (JP)
The critical relationship of the Japanese performance artist Tetsuo Kogawa with the medium of radio is deeply rooted in the political radio utopia of the last century and in the manifold radio movements of oppositional politics, like with the Italian Autonomia movement, pirate radio and most importantly the micro FM movement. This movement is concerned with self-soldered FM transmitters that allow, for example, their own radio station to be broadcast to the neighborhood from home or en route. Besides working as a professor at Japanese Universities (currently in Tokyo), he has written over 30 books and has brought the Free Radio Movement to Japan.
Kogawa will give a public workshop in Leipzig on How to Build a Micro Transmitter, (28.08) a lecture/performance, From free radio to radio art, (26.08) and organize a ‘Radioparty’ on Radio Blau (29.08). At the same time he will present his Radio Manifest (2008): Because the user can add or remove content at will on the internet, the situation of free radios and/or do-it-yourself radios has changed dramatically. Kogawa’s current thoughts about contemporary radio art are shifting from an interest in the orientation of free information to the medium itself: The radio without message.
The radio group LIGNA has developed unusual, collective and public practices that invite the listener to actively design their own broadcast. They have organized radio performances known as ‘radio ballets’ in numerous cities. They request the listener to leave the passivity of domestic reception in order explore a ‘collective dispersal’ of the public spaces via listening and movements in space.
LIGNA, together with those who are interested, will present the ‘Radio Interpellation’ project in Leipzig: In the style of a sequence from Chris Marker’s documentary film San Soleil (1982), two 8 Ohm loudspeakers connected to radios and fastened onto poles will be carried, with the aid of a rucksack, through the city.
LIGNA provides this technology and – with thanks to Radio Blau! – broadcast times in which groups can produce programs in order to intervene in urban spaces, strengthen discourses that otherwise wouldn’t be heard or, with the specific sound of the loudspeaker, render the streets strange and unknown.
In a workshop (22.08) LIGNA will introduce their technology and discuss its implications as well as potential radio shows. On the same day the first performance, which deals with the space of the city centre and urban planning, will take place on Radio Blau and in and around Leipzig. During the time of the exhibition, the workshops, four in total (22.08, 29.08, 04. 09, 26.09), should serve as a way for other artists and radio groups in Leipzig to develop their own projects with these loudspeaker –radios.
Julian Priest (NZ)
As an activist in the global movement for free wireless-networks and as co-founder of Open Spectrum, an organisation that aims to create a balance between commercial and public interest through heightening awareness of the institutional allocation of radio frequencies, Julian Priest has, for over ten years, concerned himself with communication technology such as radio and internet. For him radio frequencies are the new frontier of the digital revolution. Considering radio frequencies to be central to future communication-ecology, he wants to encourage debate about this resource.
‘The Political Spectrum’ is a textual analysis of the allocation of radio frequencies in different European countries. It indicates how often social or political groups are represented and at the same time explores the mechanisms of frequency allocation through the institutions responsible for frequency output.
The work arose in 2006 from a collaboration between artists and the public. Priest sketched his analysis in tabular form on a whiteboard. The visitors to the ‘Waves’ exhibition in Riga (LV) were given the opportunity to write in an unlicensed frequency area. Julian Priest regulated this access to frequencies under the same conditions as the allocation institutions, for example through auctions, where the highest bidder gets the frequency or through competitions of ideas. He later rejected this regulative approach by re-conceptualizing the board as a space without regulations that could be intensively used by the public. The visitors inscribe themselves on the board while at the same time respecting and not interfering with the lines and the occupied frequency areas. The reactions of the public to the whiteboard are intended to emphasis the human longing for communication and the need for individuals to represent themselves openly in the media.
Michelle Teran (CA)
In the data rooms of our cities a multiplicity of people using video cameras or baby-phones with live picture transmissions – often without knowing – run their own personal TV stations. The free transmission technology not only allows the authorised receiver, but also everyone else in the room with a receiving device, to intercept scattered pictures. In her performance-project ‘Life – A Users Manual’, carried out between 2003 and 2008, the artist Michelle Teran captured these radio pictures and made them visible in so called ‘walks’ in 17 different cities. The 3 channel video installation ’17 Cities’ is an animation cut together from an archive of scenes from Brussels, Berlin, Chicago, Seoul, Barcelona, Montreal and other cities in Europe and North America. It moves from business spaces, to lying in bed, to watching TV (through wireless connections it can be distributed between different rooms) and back in the urban nightlife. The parallels between cities dissolve themselves in a meta-narrative about contemporary life in cities from the perspective of CCTV.