rádio contra o trabalho, Instituto Procomum 18–20 outubro

A group of 8 people. In the foreground, 6 of them are seated on wooden chairs with their backs to us. In the background, 2 of them stand before a computer that is placed on a long table.

rádio contra o trabalho do Instituto Procomum transmitir ao vivo quinta-feira 21.10, entre 18-20horas!

rádio contra o trabalho convenes a working group at Instituto Procomum, Santos, São Paulo. Over three consecutive evenings we will collectively explore streaming audio/radio using free, open source or otherwise accessible tools.

I very much appreciate Gustavo, Fabio, Igor, Almir, Fernando and Danielo joining on a chilly rainy evening alongside Calu, our remarkable interpreter.

I first came to Procomum almost exactly four years ago, where I initiated ‘almoço contra o trabalho’ as part of the organisations LabXSantos artist residency program, November 2018. Notably this was right after the presidential election. Here, I was luck enough to meet and collaborate with the very talented Diego Andrade [Instagram] and Victor Sousa [Instagram]. Diego is currently off the radar, nevertheless it was great to reconnect with Victor.

As expected, there have been some technical hiccups. Initially, my laptop went down and refused to reboot. After an anxious afternoon trouble shooting online and visiting a Mac repair agent in Santos, it seems that the problem was with the power source at Procomum. Then as Victor and I attempted to set up a podcast studio computer we were unable to connect to the internet due to a modem problem. ‘This is how it is in the third world’ quipped Victor, shrugging it off. As a work around I sought out free and accessible audio streaming tools that could work on Android devices. As expected, I stumbled on incompatibility issues between apps and platforms. Certainly, this is an issue that fugitive radio emphasises with its interest in radio as a social practice with experimental technology. Nevertheless it remains frustrating! While Gustavo located another modem to bring our computer online, the group decided to investigate Twitch as a popular and accessible streaming tool that could be used during the upcoming Virada Cultural weekend of events in Santos, 22–23 Outubro.

I was taken by the term gambiarra that Danielo used to describe his practice, which I understand as a kind of hacking, adhoc and improvised approach to getting things done and reminds me of what Suva Das described to me as jugaad technology in India. According to artist Giuliano Obici in Gambioluthiery: Hacking and DIY in Brazil [PDF], gambiarra has a distinctly Brazilian twist, related to notions of antropofago and carnevale; reversing “the order of artifacts, serving as a carnivalization of technique, technology and design.” Obici is concerned with musical instruments and sound art practices, proposing that his: “Gambioluthiery reinforces connections between sound and its materiality as well as the paradoxical gaps between advantage and limitations that techno-consumption produces globally.”

To make a community radio

Two walls form a corner at the rear of Conjuntos Santos Dumont, São Paulo. A shadowy figure stands with their back to us, affixing posters to the wall.

Radio Santos Dumont launched on Saturday 17 September 2022. Andrew O’Conner installed FM transmitters located at three different stations along the internal roadway, including in Tarcisio’s bar and Liduina’s fruit and vegetable shop. These are broadcasting interviews Andrew had recorded with residents some months earlier, effectively collecting some oral histories of this particular enclave in the megalopolis of São Paulo. Andrew and Todd Lanier Lester from Lanchonte.org had invited Marina and Fernanda of Publication Studio to run a poster-making workshop using stamps to engage with local children. The night before I’d assisted Liduina and her daughter Rosa in making trays of ‘gnocchi’ (made with flour, milk, salt and oil, but not potatoes!).

Two images of an elderly making pasta.  She is wearing a black jacket and jeans, with her hair under a net The first image she is needing the dough. In the second she is displaying a tray full of freshly made gnocchi.

Friends of Lanchonete.org came by during the afternoon, including Carol Godefroid who took photographs and her son Gabriel Carnelós who will also join our upcoming event on October 1 & 2. Todd and I have been out talking to residents and putting up posters promoting the event that alongside Andrew’s radio installation also features: Itinero Grapho’s Kombi printing press, a DIY/DWO percussion instrument making workshop with New York-based documentary film and radio maker Amber Cortes, a songwriting workshop with musicians Gabriel Edé and Vitor Wutzi from São Paulo and BYO t-shirt screen printing that I’m learning via trial and error and will manage on the day with illustrator and animator Carl Nelson, who will also be arriving from New York. There will be music — I’m working on Ketchupe DJ — and we also hope to make some more recordings on the day around these different activities.

I’ve also been thinking about how this radio intervention — our festa do rádio – is a critical urban practice. There has been some discussion around lumbung radio how online radio occupies and reclaims digital space, with minimal bandwidth and audio formats that don’t demand the same kind of attention as (audio)visual media. fugitive radio often claims that these days ‘everyone has a podcast but who is listening?’. The notion that ‘noone is listening’ shifts fugitive radio’s emphasis on radio making as a social practice with technology rather than as a production task. fugitive radio aligns with Helsinki Open Waves in its interest in migrant voices and with collaborators such as {openradio} and the aforementioned lumbung radio in emphasising open content and using free and open source tools. As such, fugitive radio may not make what by convention constitutes ‘well-produced’ radio content, but rather has made a political decision to work with certain people and technologies. Indeed community-based media in itself could be understood as a critique of corporate media, and especially media monopolies such as Grupo Globo in Brazil.

So how do such ideas arrive in Conjuntos Santos Dumont, where I have only a rudimentary grasp of the language; where I have been introduced to only a handful of people who may not have any interest in or access to such technologies? What is fugitive radio doing here?

Certainly fugitive radio has had an interest in Brazil since it began, inspired by the ‘barraca’ beach bars in Rio and protest sound systems that I experienced when I was here during the last presidential election in 2018. It also makes reference to a recent independent feminist server movement emerging out of Latin America that includes vedetas in São Paulo. Lanchonete.org provides an (urban) art context that fugitive radio has entered into and is continuing its practices that include: field recordings, riddim production, conducting interviews and experimenting with live broadcast formats (such as rádio caminho)… and now simple simple silk screen printing. But what does this mean for the residents of Conjuntos Santos Dumont?

Radio Santos Dumont installs a novel radio infrastructure in the lane that threads through the buildings. While Andrew has interviewed locals and has presented a version of what local radio can do, I wonder how they might also access it; perhaps initially as listeners and also as participants/producers? In short, to make community radio first you need a community…don’t you? So it is striking that none of us involved in initiating Radio Santos Dumont actually live there — indeed we are by-and-large gringos, not even from São Paulo. So is Radio Santos Dumont for the (arts) community who support Lanchonete.org? Certainly it is employing locals (both from the conjunto and the city more broadly), so it might pique some interest in a context where funding for experimental social practices is scarce. So then, will a community of sorts emerge from the task of producing the event?

A hand drawn handbill promoting Radio Santos Dumont, encouraging people to ‘bring their talent’, ‘bring their memories’ and ‘bring a t-shirt’.

I am struck by our efforts to engage residents with our radio intervention. After seeing the Radio Santos Dumont design conceived by Todd and finalised by Carl and Thiago Correia Gonçalves, I was compelled to make a silk screen, convinced that if I would want it on a t-shirt, so would others. (I recall Todd mentioning that he thought t-shirts might promote a sense of identity for residents, and that differs from its lingering reputation for drug traffic.) Furthermore, Todd printed off a stack of handbills that I am now giving to people I meet in the elevator at 14 Bis. I am renting out a ‘kitchenete’ in this tallest building of the conjuncto, overlooking the internal laneway — which I’m assured is a quintessential São Paulo experience.

Finally, I must mention the Presidential Elections on October 2, which is arguably the reason so many of us gringos are convening in Conjuncto Santos Dumont — to get a sense of what it is like on the ground and to experience what happens during this historical moment. Brazilians are polarised by the presidential candidates, incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and a former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and friends here say they are anxious about the consequences of the election. From what I’ve seen, Conjunto Santos Dumont is no different. While we have not made the elections the focus of Radio Santos Dumont, it will invariably set the context in which it occurs.

Under The Leaf Book Fair, 14 May 2022

Under the Leaf Artist Bookfair poster

fugitive radio will be broadcasting live from Under The Leaf Book Fair [Insta] at Monitoimitila O., Kerttulinkuja 1, Helsinki. The fair opens at 12.00 EEST and fr will livestream the Book Fair Party! from 16.00 EEST on {openradio}. The event features readings and performances from Shia Conlon [@shiaconlon], Heta Bilaletdin [@hetabilaletdin], Victor Gogly [@victor_gogly] and laua rip [@lauarip].

Tune in at {openradio}

https://openradio.in/live/

Under the Leaf is hosted by: @the.temporary.bookshelf, @fetiche.editions and @monitoimitila_o
[Instas] and is part of Alakaupunki Festival

More details: http://monitoimitila.fi/

KARA-O-KLINIK

KARA-O-KLINIK written with tape across two windows

Live broadcast personal consultations with Sumugan Sivanesan introducing the benefits of Karaoke Therapy. Register here to secure your slot in the KARA-O-KLINIK or just walk-in!

Duration of each session: 30min
Language: Consultations are in English, although you can karaoke in the language of your choice.
Location: HIAP Studios

Following the ‘silent disco’ season finale of fugitive radio’s online club, RUB, in April, I’ve been thinking about ‘awkward’ as an aesthetic category; a subclass of ‘zany’ that cultural theorist Sianne Ngai describes as: “evok[ing] the performance of affective labor—the production of affects and social relationships—as it comes to increasingly trouble the distinction between work and play.” (Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting, 2012, p.7)

Ngai notes that the zany mode is “lighthearted but strikingly vehement”, in which injury is always imminent. Literature and media scholar Pansy Duncan associates awkward with ungainly actions that impede progress combined with feelings of embarrassment. In her article on ‘cringe comedy’, “Joke work: comic labor and the aesthetics of the awkward” (2017) she traces the emergence of cringe comedy with the reorganisation of labour during late capitalism—from mechanical conditions to flexible, ‘creative’ and affective practices. Noting its arhythmic timing and the labour and endurance required of audiences, she emphasises awkward’s “negative phenomenological effects” (p.2).

Arguably play, sociability and managing relationships are simply how we work in ‘creative industries’. So what aesthetic and affective modes do we habitually use as we negotiate expectations to perform our ‘authentic selves’—indeed the best version of ourselves—in these sectors overly concerned with representation? When we sing and dance for our supper what do our voices and bodies betray? What tricks do we turn to when we feel we are failing?

KARA–O–KLINIK sets up a broadcast situation, combining endurance performance-research with reality ‘comedy vérité’. It will broadcast live from HIAP Open Studios, Friday 6 May, 16.00–20.00 and Saturday 7 May, 14.00–18.00.

Weird Fun: Awkward Glitch Dance Party (reflections on RUB8)

Six people sit, legs crossed, on the floor of a studio. They are wearing headphones and face masks. Cushions are scattered around the floor. Two windows with the blinds pulled down are in the background.

I’ve been describing RUB8 ‘silent disco’ season finale as a happening. ‘It’s like a real dance party’ Aliisa Talja AKA DJ folk flore quipped during the night. Indeed, it was the people who made it ‘happen’, and upon reflection my role was to make the space and also make it worthwhile for people to ‘come to the party’ and to take up a kind of responsibility for it. This includes the time and effort taken to build trust — friendship. I doubt RUB8 would have been successful among strangers.

A headphone party seemed consistent with the idea of RUB, an online club with no physical room and that one could only enter via audio; a club I promoted as having a ‘no body policy’ because no bodies were in the room. A headphone party still meant participants would have to ‘bring the sound to their bodies’ and put it in them, but they would also have the experience of other bodies. Indeed it is curious that headphone parties have acquired a vernacular phrase,‘silent disco’, so it does not require much explanation. Although, I did expect it to be awkward, which might warrant further thought as an aesthetic category, such as those put forth by Sianne Ngai who wrote this about the ‘zany’ (2012, p.7):

the zany more specifically evokes the performance of affective labor—the production of affects and social relationships—as it comes to increasingly trouble the distinction between work and play. The formal dynamics of this seemingly lighthearted but strikingly vehement aesthetic, in which the potential for injury always seems right around the corner, are thus most sharply visible in arts of live a recorded performance—dance, Happenings, walkabouts, reenactments, game shows, video games—and in the arts of rhythm and movement in particular.

RUB8 took place as usual online on SonoBus, but we also gathered in person in my studio at the Helsinki International Artists Programme (HIAP). As soon as one enters my apartment they are in my studio, which was the dance floor. By the entrance is a flight of stairs that leads to the living area at the rear of the building; the VIP. Inbetween is a mezzanine, which overlooks the front half of the studio, which was the ‘DJ cockpit’.

Irina Mutt described her experience as ‘dancing in my bedroom in the dark, but with others.’ Fan Chon Hoo made note of the ‘technical glitches’ which returned him to the room and the current context — (another) reality — alluding to the way the sound ‘transports’ or ‘augments’ where one is physically present.

To explain: We began a little late and the set-up required physically switching inputs between performers, so I copied a back-up file to my hard drive to play during changeovers. It was the March podcast of fugitive frequency ‘Double Troubles’, a montage of recordings made at the demonstration against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Helsinki (26.2), mixed into a recording of a RUB live mix a few days before on 2.02.2022. Notably the protest interventions into the RUB8 broadcast were not designed or pre-determined, it was simply the first file I found. Furthermore ‘Double Troubles’ was made quite hastily as a document/reflection of that moment.

The programming of RUB can be thought of compositionally. It occurred on the night of the new moon; the black dot of the lunar cycle that lands on the grid of the Gregorian calendar. RUB didn’t occur on a consistent day of a week, arguably a more conventional way of running a regular event. I describe it like a ‘moving one’ in music composition, the ‘one’ being the beat that is stressed when counting a time signature. So, in terms of timing or composition, I want to stress that the inclusion of ‘Double Troubles’ was not planned, yet it became a critical juxtaposition to the other sounds being broadcast. I am interested in this kind of ‘synchronicity’ and how to keep developing events or happenings that remain open to this.

A blurry image of around 12 people dancing in a studio. The foto is taken from a slightly higher angle, on a staircase that can also be partially seen in the right of the image.
Fotos: Kamila Sladowski 2022

RUB8: ‘silent disco’ season finale, 1 April 2022

RUB logo

Over the Northern winter fugitive radio has hosted an online club RUB. Running on the night of the new moon, RUB modulates the ‘linear’ institutional rhythms of the Gregorian calendar and the ‘cyclical’ rhythms of lunar phases, with the ‘abstract’ rhythms of experimental dance music. RUB was inaugurated soon after the Autumn Equinox (22 September 2021) and its season will close on 1 April 2021 with the new moon following the Spring Equinox (20 March 2022).

‘April Fools’ and a new month — uusi kuu in Finnish — piles on the synchronicity and RUB8 promises to be a special affair! Dispensing with the club’s ‘no body policy’, for the finale we will gather online and also physically at HIAP studios in Suomenlinna, Helsinki. But there is a twist, clubbers will still only be able to enter RUB via audio. So, if you come to the island, bring headphones along with your smartphones and facemasks to join RUB8 ‘silent disco’.

RUB’s finale begins at sunset with somnambulant sounds from ½ asleep (Paola Jalili & Kush Badhwar), before we ride a genre fluid rollercoaster with DJ folk flore (Aliisa Talja) and dj fim do caminho (Sumugan Sivanesan) shrugs off winter with raw and tasty cuts of funk carioca and brega. As usual clubbers can join RUB on SonoBus, a free and open source multi-user audio platform, or listen to the livestream at fugitive-radio.net

RUB8 ‘silent disco’ season finale
19.00 – 22.00 EET

HIAP Studio Augustin, Suomenlinna
Building 34 on Suomenlinna Map [PDF]
Check the Spring ferry schedule here.

Online on SonoBus (public room ‘RUB’)
SonoBus is a free and open source multi-user audio streaming platform. Download here.

Streaming at fugitive-radio.net.

RUB7, 2 March 2022

RUB logo, darker still

RUB6 on 2202.02.22 happened in dark mode and RUB7 desires to go darker still, as it moves towards the Spring Equinox on 20 March and a special ‘fooled moon’ event on 1 April. Join tonight on SonoBus or listen to the stream below. 23.00 EET/22.00 CET.

RUB is a club with a no body policy — literally no bodies in the room — but you can take the club to your room and to your body. RUB emphasises sound as a haptic sensation, as changes in air pressure vibrate the sensitive organs of our inner ear; sound pressure that scales with volume.

RUB runs on the night of the new moon, modulating the ‘cyclical rhythm’ of the lunar phase cycle with the rhythmic abstractions of bass musics. Its seemingly erratic placement according to the Gregorian calendar system (Sunday 2 January, Tuesday 1 February, Wednesday 2 March and Friday 1 April in 2022) is akin to a ‘shifting one’ in music composition, where the stress or the accent of the beat moves (with repetition) over time. Will RUB synergise with or clash against other scheduled events? Will anyone listen? Would anyone intervene? RUB began on the first new moon following the Autumn Equinox (22 Sept 2021), and will continue until the Spring Equinox (20 March 2022).

fugitive frequency, season 2, episode 3: Double Troubles

A protest scene in Helsinki, 26 Feb 2022 in support of Ukraine against the Russian Invasion. Peering through a crowd with flags, banners and placards denouncing Russian president, Vladimir Putin. On the far left of the frame a man in a beanie speaks into a microphone addressing the crowd. On the far right of the frame another man in a beanie with his back towards us balances a large ‘Boombox’ speaker on his head.

March is a mix ∞ or rather a sound clash. A recording from RUB’s 2202022 special with unknown participants on SonoBus meets the rally in support of Ukraine in Helsinki a few days later (26 February). It’s not quite in time, nevertheless it’s of the time.

An incomplete playlist includes:
‘LINELEH I’  – Eleh + Richard Chartier
‘Fifth Worship II’ – Kali Malone
‘Move Down Low’ (Dubplate Mix) – Grievous Angel
‘Culebra’ – Arca
‘Barnacles’ (Kode9 Mix) – Hyph11E
‘Travel Light 2010’ (Tekz Keyz 3-5-7) – DJ Phil
‘Ratnam’s Riddim’ (Nonfuture Remix) – Iyer
‘Feels Like Free For All’ (Fisky Bootleg) – Kevin JZ Prodigy x Errorsmith
‘Hold Pattern’ – Osheyack & Nahash
‘Dancing‘ (Instrumental) – Omar and Zed Bias
‘gum on ur shu remix‘ –
‘Click Clack’ –  Leonce feat. Divoli S‘vere
‘Blaze ‘n‘ Cook’ (Radioslave Remix) – Stereotyp Vs Al Haca
‘Tourist‘ (Nídia Rework) – Lafawndah
‘Circulate False Notes’ (Suckerfish P Jones Remix) – Filastine
‘Rakkama, Clap Your Hands’ (Wellbelove Remix) – Iyer
‘Tar’ – Myxomy

RUB5, 2 February 2022

RUB4

RUB is a club with a no body policy — literally no bodies in the room — but you can take the club to your room and to your body. RUB emphasises sound as a haptic sensation, as changes in air pressure vibrate the sensitive organs of our inner ear; sound pressure that scales with volume.

RUB runs on the night of the new moon, modulating the ‘cyclical rhythm’ of the lunar phase cycle with the rhythmic abstractions of bass musics. Its seemingly erratic placement according to the Gregorian calendar system (Sunday 2 January, Tuesday 1 February, Wednesday 2 March and Friday 1 April in 2022) is akin to a ‘shifting one’ in music composition, where the stress or the accent of the beat moves (with repetition) over time. Will RUB synergise with or clash against other scheduled events? Will anyone listen? Would anyone intervene? RUB began on the first new moon following the Autumn Equinox (22 Sept 2021), and will continue until the Spring Equinox (20 March 2022).