ART 'ON THE AIR': 5 RADIO EXPERIENCES

By Cristina Álvarez Cañas. February 22, 2013

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The radio -and therefore, sounds in general- have benefited more and faster than any other media broadcaster from the boundless possibilities of the Internet. When nobody knew what ebooks or online television on demand were, the radio took the lead by broadcasting all sorts of podcasts (pre-recorded programmes with subscription) and free and spontaneous streaming broadcastings (no need to download them), putting an end to the dictatorship of frequency allocation by the Government. In the field of sound experimentation and sound art, some radio stations have been creating freely and without any financial support, fantastic archives and audio files accessible to all. And with no more than a click. We introduce you five art radio stations you can't miss.


1. UBUWEB: This archive is one of the most important reference point within the field of experimental radio, geared towards avant-garde artistic disciplines. Established in 1996 by the poet Kenneth Goldsmith, its own creator has classed it as the "Robin Hood of the avant-garde". With a philosophy based on socio-political and cultural militancy, Ubuweb hasn’t let go of its aim to offer free, not-for-profit, online broadcasting thanks to the generosity and knowledge of those who make it possible. Its review of the history of art offers an alternative perspective "based on the peripheries of artistic production rather than on the perceived, or market-based, centre", according to Goldsmith. It also has a rich archive that includes, amongst other audiovisual material, interviews and biographies of Borges, Allen Ginsberg or Céline, Samuel Beckett's radio plays or the series dedicated to avant-garde composers produced by Robert Ashley.
 

2. RADIO BOREDCAST: Radio Boredcast came about in connection with the AV Festival - a reflection on art, new technologies, music and film. The most recent edition of the AV Festival took place in March 2012 and for the first time included 744 hours of online radio under the direction and selection of guests by the artist Vicki Bennett. The project was conceived in 2011 when the director of the festival, Rebecca Shatwell, directly suggested the idea to Bennett herself. Bennett then developed the name and concept of this volatile radio station in response to the meaning of time and speed in our current world. “Time is a curious thing - on one hand we complain about being so busy we just don’t know what to do with ourselves, and on the other hand we literally don’t know what to do with ourselves and say we are bored.” The archive of programmes is available online via podcasts.
 

3. RESONANCE FM: Another veteran in the field of audio experimentation that defines itself as “the world’s first radio art station”. In this case, it is a station that adheres to a traditional frequency (104.4 FM) but one that is also within reach of internet users via streaming and podcasting. In its mission statement, Resonance FM, which was founded by a group of musicians and started broadcasting in 2002, maintains its intention of being the loudspeaker for those "impossible" artistic expressions, which are undiscovered or forgotten by traditional and mainstream radio. Its work extends to even serving weekly as an audio laboratory for the close to 200 contributors, including musicians, volunteer technicians, artists, activists and culture critics, who help to demonstrate the diversity of the arts scene in London.
 

4. RÀDIO WEB MACBA: The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (MACBA) has been broadcasting its sound waves since 2006, making it one of Spain’s pioneering platforms in the field of experimental radio research. Not that long ago we interviewed Ràdio Web MACBA’s Manager, Anna Ramos, who gave us an in-depth view of the project’s merits. The success of this instrument lies in its ability to use the resources offered by the Museum while also developing its own lines of work and research. The user can enjoy a variety of over 250 podcasts (collections, archives, radio programmes, audio essays, radio art, and more) a la carte or by subscription.


5. ARTE RADIO: The Franco-German television channel opened its internet radio branch in Paris in 2002. All of the material on the platform is offered under a Creative Commons license, free and has no advertising. Its content is focussed on the production of a high volume of diverse audio pieces: documentaries, reports, creations, radio soap operas, fictions, short films and reports, which are also available via streaming or for download in three languages: French, German and English. Most of the time though choosing the language is the least of your worries.


 

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