Nepantlas #04 »Fugitive Radio: Radiowalk Helsinki«

»Nepantlas« is an online program curated by Daphne Dragona. It focuses on projects that introduce social and technological infrastructures based on relationships of care, respect, and interdependence.

For Nepantlas #4 Irina Mutt and I will be performing an ‘audio fanzine’ live online for Akademie Schloss Solitude. Our performance will be followed by a Q&A. Attendance is limited and prior registration is required to participate. Please register until November 17, 2020 with signup@akademie-solitude.de

Our performative zine will also be ‘published’ / broadcast on {openradio} via Fugitive Radio’s stream: https://play.openradio.in/public/fugitive-radio

Nepantlas #04 »Fugitive Radio: Radiowalk Helsinki«
Sumugan Sivanesan & Irina Mutt

Curated by Daphne Dragona
November 19, 2020, 2–3:30 pm (CET)

Guests of the fourth online edition of »Nepantlas« are Sumugan Sivanesan and Irina Mutt. Both run »Fugitive Radio« : an urban artistic research project on radio as a social practice, which is designed as a platform for migrant voices and experiences. »Radiowalk Helsinki« is a live radio fanzine developed as part of »Fugitive Radio«.

»Fugitive Radio« is an urban artistic-research project about radio as a social practice. It proposes to be a platform for migrant voices and experiences and is aligned with anticolonial trajectories. »Radiowalk Helsinki« is a live radio-fanzine that is developed as part of »Fugitive Radio«. As with Gloria Anzaldúa’s ideas about »mestiza«, it is an inclusive, accumulative and elastic structure, operating between thresholds as a way to embrace contradictions and ambiguity. It approaches the means and infrastructures of online radio as instruments of dispersal and play. Drawing on the ephemeral qualities of micropublishing and (online) performance, it employs strategies of replication, disruption and distribution.

»Radiowalk Helsinki« listens into urban environments and network processes, weaving through fragments of texture, text, voice and music. It links listening to haptic experiences of scrolling, browsing and clicking to accentuate experiences of migration, fugitivity, surveillance, precariousness and interdependence. For this special »Nepantlas« session, the audience will experience a »radio-fanzine« and explore how performance can become a means of publishing. Shifting across platforms and navigating collectively, »Radiowalk Helsinki« will examine the possibilities and impact of performative distribution when it comes to addressing urgent topics of our times.

»Fugitive Radio« is a project by Sumugan Sivanesan. In collaboration with Irina Mutt, the project will evolve over the coming year across a series of workshops, productions, podcasts and events in Helsinki. »Fugitive Radio« is being developed in collaboration with Pixelache and is supported by the Kone Foundation. It will culminate as a series of live broadcasts/interventions at Pixelache Festival #Burn____, June 2021.

Akademie Schloss Solitude, nepantlas#4

‘If a radio broadcasts in the forest…’

If a radio broadcasts in the forest…

…is something Sophea Lerner from {openradio} said in a recent production meeting. It just so happens that I trialed a hybrid outside-online ‘forest broadcast’ at the end of summer in a clearing behind Sophea’s apartment block; amongst woodpeckers, wind, moss, a light drizzle and chainsaws.

The broadcast was to test a set-up that took a live microphone feed of environmental sounds, an audio stream from Jasmine Guffond’s Listening Back browser extension which sonifies cookie activity, and a feed from our ‘Forest Chatter’ Jitsi meeting, that was fed through WIDI Audio To MIDI convertor and mixed and processed in Ableton Live. The ‘music’ was broadcast into my forest surrounds and also looped back into our Jitsi instance. WIDI’s software takes in sounds, converts them on-the-fly into MIDI notation which is then played out through it’s range of soft-synth instruments. In trial mode, the plug-in would go silent intermittently, thus the performance brought a number of chance operations into play; forest sounds including broadcast audio, (surveillance) data sonification and audio from Jitsi.

Alice, who was in the meeting, imagined an orchestra hiding behind the trees, which I thought was a lovely visualisation. As something of a new experience for us all, I am interested to experiment more with how participants might listen and interact across multiple locations in such networked/situated events.

Outside Broadcast

Cosmo[s]politan Radiophonic Picnic
Saturday 29/8, 12.00–16.00 (EEST/UTC+3)
Venue: In front of Pixelache office, Kaasutehtaankatu 1/21 Suvilahti (Bldg. 7), 00540 Helsinki

Hallo Helsinki and beyond! This Saturday marks the inaugural ‘official’ broadcast from fugitive-radio.net. We’re celebrating by throwing a ‘radiophonic picnic’. ‘What’s that’, you say? It’s a bit like a ‘teddy bears’ picnic’ for signal surfers, acoustic astronauts, crystal radio cultivators, outside(r) broadcasters and anyone with a penchant for experimental offbeat radio.

There will be an open mic/line, so feel free to bring your set-ups. Also bring snacks, your devices and portable speakers to listen to. If you have a bluetooth JBL we can ‘connect’ for a roaming broadcast or ‘Sound Swarm’.

The event will be streamed live, thanks to Open Radio:
https://play.openradio.in/public/fugitive-radio [web]
https://play.openradio.in:8050/radio.mp3 [media players]

If you would like to beam in from elsewhere, please contact: sumugan@protonmail.com

We will meet in front of Pixelache office at 12.00. Kahvila Katarsis opens at 14.00 if you need refreshments. We might go wandering later, so stay tuned for updates!

Cosmo[s]politan Radiophonic Picnic is initiated by Sumugan Sivanesan, a Berlin-based artist and writer who will be in Helsinki over the coming year to develop ‘Fugitive Radio’ in collaboration with Pixelache and with support from the Kone Foundation.

Radio as a Self-reflexive Medium

Given the recent trend of radio in Contemporary Art I have been thinking about radio as performance and installation. Indeed, I’ve been thinking about how people come together to make radio, rather than listen to it. Juxtaposed to the ‘golden era’ trope of families huddled around the wireless to listen to the latest news of the world or radio play, my emphasis on radio as a social practice concerns how community forms around sound, equipment and the notion of broadcasting (to whom?). For me, this suggests an aspect of ‘gear fetishism’ — I do happen to think that sound equipment can be quite fascinating and obtuse and I enjoy the process of playing such technology as one would a toy or instrument. It reminds of some discussion about the postcolonial deployment of scientific or technical apparatus, the classic example being the turntable in early hip hop, and leads me to think about cultures of pleasure (indeed pleasure activism) and the libidinal qualities of technology and sound. This is arguably most apparent in a kind of commodity fetishism attached to consumer audio gear designed for leisure. I am not immune.

With this in mind, I’ll be hosting a Cosmo[s]politan Radiophonic Picnic in conjunction with Pixelache, Helsinki. I think of it as a ‘teddybears’ picnic’ but for radio lovers and broadcast ‘freques’. I’m hoping to connect with some of the radiophonic community here to share and learn about a diversity of practices, set-ups and approaches; from crystal radios, biosignals, pirate radio, parasite radio, outside(r) broadcasters and more…

Here’s a little (ghetto) blast from the past to whet your ears!