fugitive frequency, season 4 episode 2: disarming peace

A silhouette of a figure, backlit standing on a stage. The image is rendered in greyscale as a negative.
1. “Anti War Dub” – Digital Mystikz On 26 January 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found [YouTube] there was a case for potential genocide being carried out by Israel in Gaza. The court stopped short of recommending a provisional cease fire and rather required Israel report back in one month about measures taken to address its concerns (legally binding for member states). My friend, the artist Sybille Neumeyer, responding to the ongoing loss of (civilian) lives commented that there is no longer a neutral position. Indeed, I’ve heard arguments in Berlin that calling for a cease fire opposes Israel’s right to self-defence and is thus antisemitic—an accusation that can lead to serious repercussions in Germany. This episode is a playlist/meditation on how peace activism has become weaponized, reflecting on my experiences at Transmediale and CTM festivals this year. 2. “Afrotek” – Scratcha DVA The context of this episode is the Strike Germany campaign, that began in January 2024 when the Berlin Senate announced that it would adopt an anti-discrimination act as a condition of its cultural funding, which included a controversial working definition of antisemitism proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). It reads:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

To which the Berlin Senate added an extension which conflates criticism of Israel with the persecution of Jewish people. This decision was protested by a significant part of the cultural community in Berlin (see this letter signed by numerous Berlin-based artists and cultural workers). Strike Germany deploys similar tactics of Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS), understood as a means of peaceful protest used with success against apartheid South Africa. The BDS movement against Israel has been banned in several countries and in 2019 the German Bundestag passed a resolution to outlaw it in Germany. This decision is subject to ongoing dispute (see this letter from artists, academics and cultural workers protesting this resolution). The Strike Germany campaign can also be read as a retaliation for the forced resignations of artists and cultural workers in Berlin who have been critical of Israel, notably from South Asia (eg the resignation of Documenta 16’s finding committee in November 2023 and the cancellation of Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie 2024 soon after). Strike Germany has had a significant impact on the cultural sector, initially in Berlin’s club scene/economy, with artists withdrawing from performances at its famous Berghain club. The “sister” festivals, Transmediale and CTM, held annually in late January and early February were also affected this year. London-based producer Scratcha DVA is one artist who announced  his withdrawal via Instagram, and whom I was looking forward to seeing in Berlin. This track “Afrotek” (2021) with Durban producer Mxshi Mo brings together UK bass and gqom [YouTube].
3. “ANG INTERNASYUNAL BUDOTS BOMB STYLE REMIX [SISONS GREETINGS!]” – Teya Logos CTM opened on 26 January, the day the IJC announced its findings, so it seems significant that the festival’s first club night at the aforementioned Berghain featured a room curated by Thai artist Pisitakun, a recent fellow at the DAAD’s Music & Sound programme. Pisitakun’s research concerns the music of social movements for democracy in South East Asia and during his time at the DAAD he launched The Three Sound of Revolution project, named after the “three finger salute.” With reference to the popular TV series Hunger Games and derived from a signal used in the French Revolution, the gesture has been recently adopted by protestors in South East Asia to demand Solidarity, Equality and Liberty. The Three Sound of Revolution is divided into three sub-projects, “Middle Sound”, a compilation of protest songs, chants and speeches remixed as dance/party music by a selection of artists was released in November 2023. This was showcased during Pisitakun’s take over of Berghain’s Säule, with the artist inviting others representing South East Asia to perform and also installing a screen printing station to distribute talismanic revolutionary imagery. Given the situation of strike and withdrawals coupled with protests against the rise of populist Right wing movements in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, Pisitakun’s programming struck a chord. While CTM joined wide-spread criticism of the Berlin Senate’s anti-discrimination bill, it refrained from directly commenting on the war in Gaza and many of us were interested in—and perhaps anxious about—how participating artists would respond. Someone who clearly did not give a fuck was Filipinx artist Teya Logos playing “hardcore” Budots dance music, while screaming and slam dancing. She closed out her performance with a remix of the anthemic “Dammi Falastini” by Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf [YouTube]. 4. “MONn-aARCHhE-EAT-JACKAAAL” (Elvin Brandhi Remix) – Pisitakun

“Since I was born I witnessed three different coups: in 1991, 2006 and 2014,” says Thai artist Pisitakun. “The question is stuck in my mind: Why do we have so many coups?

This track, remixed by Elvin Brandhi, another artist featured in CTM, is from Pisitakun’s album Absolute C.O.U.P. (2020) [bandcamp] 5. “Prayers” – Pinky Htut Aung This recording is taken from the compilation Common Tonalities (2022) produced as part of Goethe-Institut’s Nusasonic project focused on experimental sound cultures in South East Asia, made in collaboration with CTM alongside Yes No Klub (Yogyakarta), WSK Festival of the Recently Possible (Manila), Playfreely/BlackKaji (Singapore). From Myanmar and currently based in Paris, Pinky is a multimedia artist and noise musician. She spoke on CTM’s panel “Revolutionary Music Movements under Distorted Rule of Law” (31 January 2024), where I asked about the connection between the kinds of popular protest songs that was discussed in the panel and the noise and “hardcore rave” dance music that was showcased at Berghain. While such sounds are often overlooked by music scholars and professionals, I was interested in how they had become popular in times of social upheaval. Noise music is distinct from commercial pop music and elite classical or compositional forms. It could be understood as being a liberatory or cathartic practice, and is often made collectively, but is it necessarily political? Or does it signify a politics that is different to conventional party systems, like anarchism? I was struck when Pinky said that for her noise music is therapeutic. To pick up on CTM festival’s theme “Sustain” for its 25th edition, could it be said that music sustains people through difficult times? 6. “Indignation” – Divide and Dissolve Divide and Dissolve [bandcamp] are well known for their commitment to Black and Indigenous struggles as much as for their slow, loud and lurching music, devoid of vocals. I said to a friend who is keen to play heavy music with other racialised people, that she might not be familiar with Divide and Dissolve’s music, but she would certainly know their tee-shirt emblazoned with the words: “Destroy White Supremacy.” A classic, is how someone described it at the band’s merch stand and Divide and Dissolve have since produced a series of tees with statements that are, according to the band, “designed to provoke a conversation.” Emerging from Naarm/Melbourne’s punk scene, where I first saw them play in 2017 alongside anticolonial death metal band Dispossessed [bandcamp]. Divide and Dissolve have gone on to achieve notable success, releasing their last two albums with Geoff Barrow’s (Portishead) label, Invada. So I was curious as to why they had not heeded the call to divest from Germany. With my mind still occupied with Pisitakun and Pinky’s panel about protest music and noise earlier that evening, Divide and Dissolve set the scene at Berghain with a large back-projection of a animated Palestinian flag, rippling in the wind behind a wall of amplifiers. Guitarist and saxophonist, Takiaya Reed arrived on stage wearing a black and white keffiyeh across her shoulders and the duo’s drum kit was similarly draped with the checkered cloth that symbolises Palestinian liberation. After Sylvie Nehill left the band in 2022, Reed has continued with a roster of drummers and tonight she was joined by someone she named “Ced”, “Syd” or “Seb” oder…? Having established that their performance at CTM was a statement of solidarity, Reed breathed into her soprano saxophone to begin the first song only to realise that it was broken. She asked that if anyone in the audience could help, she would appreciate them coming back stage. For some long minutes we stood around, before the super-sized animated flag chatting to our neighbours and sipping our drinks as pop music played over the club’s legendary sound system. This was turning out to be an awkward performance. Arguably, Divide and Dissolve decided to stay with the festival as their appearance would be more effective than their withdrawal. Indeed, artists critical of Strike Germany have argued that withdrawal is a privilege for only those who can afford to do so and often targets organisations working “behind the scenes” towards justice and peace. However, Divide and Dissolve also disrupted the smooth functionings of the event. Aside from delays due to her broken instrument, Reed took her time between songs to explain her position as someone with Black and Cherokee ancestry. She talked about cycles of violence, as those who have suffered genocide in turn perpetuate genocide, and elaborated on how some First Nations people in the US having survived colonial violence became slave owners. While Divide and Dissolve have cultivated a loyal and attentive following around the world, Reed’s ruminations were not well received by all at Berghain. I didn’t think it unusual when someone called out that she should stop talking and “play more music”, and certainly the audience was thinning out. Undeterred, Reed continued to address her heckler in a calm voice, without aggression, but nevertheless confrontational. With Reed holding the space and taking her time to discuss the issues that motivate the band and to name and thank all who had supported her, I began to think that Reed wields her vulnerability as a kind of power. Indeed, if Divide and Dissolve’s bone-rattling sound is as much therapeutic to experience as it is cathartic to perform, it is arguably during these times of violence and anxiety that it is most needed.
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7. “Holy Motor” – FITNESSS feat. LUnG FITNESSS’ striking intervention was into Berghain’s dance floor. Appearing among the crowd with a panel of backlit buttons strapped to their chest, FITNESSS’ provocateur (is it Jas Lin 林思穎?) encouraged the audience to push them and trigger sounds then heard on the main room’s massive surround sound system. FITNESSS are corporeal; physically confrontational and I suppose cathartic in a screamo kind of way. It feels more like a happening than a concert, as the crowd follows the action around the room. We are often pulled into to touch, mosh to crisp digital noise and so-called “sound design” or to pogo to pop music. I’m not sure if FITNESSS is the person I am watching being dragged around the room on their back, or the event in which the boundaries between performer and audience and the social conventions of the club are (physically) challenged. Towards the end of the performance, a shirtless vocalist lurches into the maelstrom of bodies, rasping into a microphone. I guess this is LUnG. Later online I read:

A FITNESSS performance is an expression of raw energy—creating immersive experiences that challenge conceptions of being and communion through movement, electronic sound architecture, and post-modern aesthetics. With an emphasis on audience involvement and collective presence, FITNESSS’ work explores the volatile nature of interpersonal dynamics, as well as the transformative power of crowd synchronization.

8. “Dimensional Spleen” – Aïsha Devi I have been looking forward to see Aïsha Devi perform for some years. Although she does perform often enough in Berlin, I always seem to miss it. Now, touring her recent album Death Is Home (2023) [bandcamp], I find myself sitting exactly front and centre in the Volksbühne theatre where Devi will perform the closing concert. The stage’s scenography consisted of patchwork drapes and flags, set in motion by fans. Strobe lights and fog machines further contributed to Devi’s theatrics, and I heard someone commenting about “the weather on stage.” Dressed in a sheer black dress and shiny black trainers, Devi was often rendered as a silhouette and it soon became apparent that she had a Palestinian flag affixed to the back of her outfit (see main pic above). I can’t be certain about Devi’s use of flags. Given the artist draws inspiration from her paternal ancestry in Nepal, I’m guessing they are a reference to the Buddhist traditions of the Himalayas; when the wind blows through “prayer flags” bearing sutras they are believed to recite them. Devi often discusses the links between her mediation practice and music production by way of the healing qualities of frequencies. In a recent interview for Metal she offers:

Modern physics acknowledges 11 dimensions, and we perceive life in just 3D. To heal this civilization, I think we will have to be much more aware of our existence outside of this corporeal reality and in a higher dimensional plane. I really think that hyper-materialism is annihilating our sense of immortality, and that’s why the intangibility of music is so present in our life. Music is one of the tools that can help us initiate this consciousness and open the portals. I want to bring back the essential ritualistic aspect in contemporary music.

I admire Devi’s open-mindedness and willingness to speak her mind as much as I enjoy her music. When she addressed the audience at the closing of the concert she voiced her support for Palestine and said: “I came here because this is my community—you are my community.” Despite several withdrawals (and at least one forced cancellation at Transmediale), I often heard people reiterate this sense of community with phrases like: “this is my community and so in these days of war, genocidal violence and the threat of fascism it is important that we come together and talk.” Certainly, there are those of CTM’s community who were missed. Kyham Allami, for example, who was instrumental to Nusasonics’ Common Tonalities project, announced his individual and indefinite strike from all German state funded work in October 2023, some months before the Strike Germany campaign. This prompts me to think about the politics of friendship during this time of polarization. TBC…

“fugitive radio-Out Of Office Radio”, one century abc, Titanik Gallery, 22 November 2023.

OOO Radio’s inaugural outside broadcast in front of a sculpture of sculpture of Elias Lönnrot in Helsinki.

fugitive radio made a presentation and live broadcast at “one century abc”, a week-long program of experimental music, installation and performance organised by Äänipäivät at Titanik Gallery, Turku, 21–26 November. After meeting OOO Radio for their inaugural outside broadcast in Helsinki on the weekend, I wanted to present something that echoed their gesture and also connected some of the radio networks/projects that we potentially overlap. Unfortunately, I was hampered by an uncontrollable running nose and a technical glitch rendered the recording near unlistenable. So below is the script.

fugitive radio-Out Of Office Radio: artradio2radioart
Out of Office Radio (OOO Radio) is a bicycle-mounted mobile radio station based in Helsinki, initiated by artists James Prevett and Samantha Lippett with bespoke speakers and a fabric designed by Timo Vaittinen and additional support from Iiri Poteri. It was launched this month as part of James’ exhibition, “Together With” at Forum Box art space in Helsinki with a focus on “the creation of curious and experimental sound in public space”. It is available online— indeed we are streaming live on it now—and they plan to make the mobile studio a loanable resource, prioritising “participatory approaches to broadcasting and distributing material that would otherwise not have a place on traditional radio stations.”

Some listeners may know that my ongoing project, fugitive radio, was initially proposed to be a “bicycle-mounted radio shack and mobile recording studio” to the Helsinki based media arts association, Pixelache, for their 2021 festival. So my interest was immediately piqued when I stumbled onto OOO Radio a little over a week ago. I reached out to Sam and James via email to offer a contribution and then last Saturday joined them alongside Iiri for their inaugural outside broadcast: an excursion to this sculpture of Elias Lönnrot.

James maintains a series, “Patsastellaan: Parties for Public Sculpture”, for which the artist invites other artists to collaborate on making a new work together, beginning from an existing public sculpture. Arguably these “parties” celebrate historically commissioned monuments, drawing attention to aspects of the built/designed/landscaped environment that are often overlooked; thus together we recall the histories and the contexts in which these sculptures were erected, to examine their details and encourage speculation or fabulation about their (continued or shifting) significance, symbolism and meaning.

[Audio description of the image]

These two people are passerby, I believe strangers to the artists who were intrigued enough to stop by on a wintery Saturday afternoon – can you see snow in the image?

I like how this person in the left is taking a photograph. I wonder if they put it on Instagram? Because that’s what I did, with the caption:

#outsideofficeradio streaming live with Elias Lönnrot. Public sculpture meets social sculpture as outside broadcast @forumbox

So for this performance/presentation, I would like to unpack this caption and this photographic/Instagramatic impulse, responding in turn to OOO Radio—art-radio-to-radioart—as a live (but not outside) broadcast.

Public sculpture
I grew up in Sydney, Australia and I think it was an artist and friend Deborah Kelly who once quipped to me, that if you really want to forget about a popular or political figure, then one sure way to do it is to turn them into a public sculpture that birds will shit on and that everyone would ignore. So, I’m interested in this prospect of public sculpture being a means of externalising or purging someone from the collective conscience. In some ways memorialising them, but also making their sanctioned legacy—literally the ideas and values that such a monument stands for—available for public scrutiny, critique, perhaps vandalism or even iconoclasm. Think of the toppling of statues of slave owners as part of the Black Lives Matter uprisings.

Social sculpture
“Social sculpture”, a term coined by the conceptual artist Jospeh Beuys to develop an understanding of art that encompasses all of society. According to Beuys: “EVERY HUMAN BEING IS AN ARTIST” with the potential to consciously contribute to a “TOTAL ART WORK OF THE FUTURE SOCIAL ORDER.” An entry on Wikipedia suggests that even a mundane task, such as peeling a potato, would contribute to such a TOTAL ART WORK, if undertaken as a conscious act. It reminds me of other traditions that endorse approaching the rituals of daily life into deliberate, intentional and potentially aesthetic actions—such as certain forms of Buddhism or (secular) mindfulness techniques that compel one to be present, attentive and calm.

Outside broadcast
fugitive radio was initiated in 2020 with the aforementioned Pixelache during the first waves of the COVID pandemic. During this time it seemed that everyone was making a podcast, but who was listening? So I began to wonder what it was we were doing. I came to think of these radio experiments as a kind of social phenomena with technology, emphasising the social production that accompanied the production of (experimental/amateur/art) radio.

The Japanese philosopher and performer, Tetsuo Kogawa, coined the term “radioart” (one word), to distinguish the “free play of frequencies” from art on the radio. It’s a notion that fugitive radio is aligned with, alongside open culture movements that emphasise the use and development of free/libre and open source tools and practices of sharing (digital commoning). As such, fugitive radio collaborates with like-minded groups and organisations including: {openradio}, lumbung radio/Station of Commons and πNode on which we are currently broadcasting.

I often describe fugitive radio as “responding to the uptake of radio in contemporary art by producing live, collectively-realised broadcast events.” Sometimes I say it as a vehicle for developing experimental modes of “performance/participatory radio.” During Pixelache Helsinki’s 2021 festival at Oodi Library, fugitive radio produced a regular hour-long outside broadcast over eight consecutive days, exploring formats that included: interviews, conversations and vox pops; Hum Klub; Karaoke Theory; environmental percussion (with artist Suva Das) alongside (augmented) soundscapes and of course glitches and occasional dead air.

Since then fugitive radio has gone on to produce events such as KARA-O-KLINIK, a karaoke therapy clinic (HIAP Suomenlinna, 2022), conceived as a kind of awkward durational sit-com; and NightShift, a live and improvised overnight broadcast and publishing performance/happening at the independent art book shop, Limestone Books, Maastricht and organised in collaboration with London-based artist/publisher Rose Nordin.

Over the last year I found myself emphasising that while fugitive radio has found a niche in contemporary art, it is not a visual arts project.

Radio communities
I think of this presentation of echoing OOO Radio’s inaugural outside broadcast; speaking to their social sculpture in the same way they are speaking to this monument of ….?

I’ve become intrigued by how the notion of “radio” or “broadcasting” frames a discussion. It seems that as soon as you put a microphone in front of a person they begin to perform. Or perhaps people simply perform to the situation. How much of this technology is necessary, especially if no-one is listening? Can we simply “frame” a conversation discursively and call it “radio”? Does anybody need to be listening? “If a radio broadcasts in a forest…” is something Sophea Lerner, one of the co-founders of the independent radio platform { openradio }, once said to me.

Nevertheless, technology is indeed one of fugitive radio’s concerns, emphasising the use of free/libre and open source tools and artist-developed platforms and software. I often describe my interest is in performing these infrastructures. And I would suggest that there is something similar going on in this pictures as James, Sam and Iirie perform—or perform to—the built environment. In doing so they bring others into the artwork understood as expanded sculpture, social practice or indeed social sculpture—as participants, interlocutors or onlookers, drawing attention to the situation by simply contributing their gaze.

Arguably, fugitive radio’s real interest is not so much about community radio, but rather “radio communities”. That is, those who use, develop and maintain alternative networked communication media technologies. I often claim that such radio communities suggest a counter-culture to the “pics-or-it-didn’t-happen” behaviour induced by popular social media platforms, such as Instagram. This might not be a revolutionary “FUTURE SOCIAL ORDER”, but it may nevertheless be emancipatory as people grasp the tools of production, communication and distribution and most importantly co-learn, share and socialise as “radio friends” or comrades.

fugitive frequency, season 3, episode 8: “Risky Business” with Mariam Elnozahy

Sumugan Sivanesan and Mariam Elnozahy in the foreground, with their backs to the camera, are seated at a table in front of a laptop. In front of them is the vegetable garden of the Jan van Eyck Academie. People are gathered here in the sunshine during open studio, 2023.

This month’s episode “Risky Business” is a conversation with curator, writer and researcher Mariam Elnozahy, recorded during a live broadcast at the Jan van Eyck Academie’s Open Studios, 24 June 2023. Our discussion takes its cues from a statement issued from Jan van Eyck participants concerned with the unclear expectations and “unacceptable conditions of labour” that shaped this much anticipated three day public event. It circulates around issues of artistic production, professional practice and the commodification of identities with reference to exhibition making. Furthermore, this podcast demonstrates how a practice of fugitive radio can offer a counter-platform to circumvent the well established trope of institutional critique in contemporary art.

The podcast begins with the voice of Rose Nordin from an earlier podcast, “NightShift: ‘Creative Labour’” that connects issues of work, artistic practice, sociability and the other intangible processes that contribute to professionalised arts. Interspersed in the podcasts are segments of electromagnetic noise made with Kim David Bots and computer riddims available on fugitive productions [bandcamp].

image: “fugitive radio: outside inside open studios, with Mariam Elnozahy. Live broadcast from the Jan van Eyck Academie vegetable garden, 24 June 2023.” foto: Tessa Zettel.

Onassis AiR Open Day #6, 12 May: “fugitive feminist empathics”

A view of Vio.Me workers’ co-op, Thessaloniki. A skeleton structure, with the frame of a roof and a concrete base raised above a concrete carpark. Barrels can be seen behind a fence under the roof and wooden pallets are stacked in front. A short staircase is to the right.

Listen back to the broadcast on Movement Radio.

​​Anastasia Diavasti of NTIZEZA [Instagram] and Sumugan Sivanesan of fugitive radio planned to research around a common interest in Cassie Thornton’s book The Hologram (2020) and their different approaches to (performative) radio. Spurred on by a timely meeting with Cassie when she was laid over in Athens in March, the duo set about working intuitively. They made recordings at the recent student occupations at Olympia Theatre [Instagram] and Rex Theatre [Instagram], visited the Vio.Me workers co-op in Thessaloniki and primed themselves for telepathy.

For Onassis AiR Open Day #6 they will host a live broadcast to play out their recordings and interviews, and reflect on the themes that emerge with invited guests. These include: dance, solidarity, SF, teargas and cats. It will combine spaces at Onassis AiR, Athens, with spaces at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht.

Guests include: Julie Bintje, Jitsa Kon and Mariam Elnozahy, Zahra Malkani & Derica Shields.

Listen in between 18.00–21.00 CEST / 19.00–22.00 EEST on {openradio} and Movement Radio Live 2.

fugitive frequency, season 3, episode 4: NightShift, “Creative Labour”

A group of people with their backs to the camera are crowded around a shopfront entrance on a chilly night.

“Creative Labour” is the first audio fanzine documenting NightShift, an all night publishing-performance-happening occurring over March 2-3, 2023, at Limestone Books in Maastricht [Instagram] and made in collaboration with Rose Nordin. We streamed live for six hours straight on πnode and {openradio}.

In order of appearance “Creative Labour” features the voices of:
Riar Rizaldi whose film Becquerel (2021) screened before the broadcast, Maud van den Beuken who gives a live audio description followed by Merien Rodrigûes (São Paulo) [Instagram] and Anastasia Diavasti (Athens) [Instagram] who dialed in their audio descriptions. Chen Jehn, one of the proprietors of Limestone Books discusses their ideas for the shop with prompts from book artist Michiel Romme and Kim David Bots, who also contributed live improvised music. There is a brief excerpt from a pre-recorded interview with Jo Frenken who established the print studio at the Jan Van Eyck Academie and Rose Nordin gets in the last (delirious) word. Wen Hsuan Chang’s audio piece Paper Ripping Paper can be heard in the background, alongside the music of the Commodores.

Foto: Maud van den Beuken

NightShift at Limestone Books Maastricht, 2–3 March 2023

NightShift promo image, a very lo-res pixelated logo.

NightShift at Limestone Books, Thursday March 2, 11pm – Friday March 3, 6am. Broadcasting live from midnight on http://p-node.org.

Set your alarm clocks! Maastricht art book store Limestone Books [Instagram] opens for 24 hours on the first Thursday of each month. On March 2 it will be joined by Rose Nordin and fugitive radio [Instagram], installing a print salon, radio studio and screening room for the NightShift.

At 11pm we will watch Riar Rizaldi’s short film, Becquerel (2021), and host a Q&A with the director. Between midnight and 6am (March 3) we will collectively design and print a zine, Transcription from the night waves, for participants to take home at dawn. Simultaneously we will broadcast a live durational “audio fanzine” on http://p-node.org.

For the insomniacs, Maud van den Beuken [Instagram] will entrance us with audio descriptions as Kim David Bots [Instagram] prompts improvised musical interludes. Guests are invited to generate written transcriptions (in any language) and interpretive illustrations to be printed with a Gestetner, typewriter and drawing tools. Songs, chatter, recordings, musical objects and other sound-making matters are all welcome contributions to the radio.

We propose that voices from far and wide punctuate the night air. We encourage callers from local farms, South East Asian book stores and North American mountains to summon their surroundings in a communal dream to be documented and interpreted in print and across networks. Please send your texts and voice messages via WhatsApp: +49 1525 7610023.

Feel free to bring along sleeping bags, pillows, pyjamas, hot water bottles and whatever else you are comfortable to work in. Tea, coffee and nibbles will be provided.

Limestone Books
Grote Gracht 63, Maastricht

Special thanks: Erwin Blok, Jo Frenken, Jan van Eyck Academie, Paul John, πNode

“speakeasy” on πnode

TTnode (logo)

During its time at Jan van Eyck Academie fugitive radio will host a monthly “speakeasy”, as a testing ground for emergent radiophonic formats. These might include sound art, music, poetics, conversation pieces and other forms yet to be discovered and named. fugitive radio seeks to make a space for experimentation, spontaneity and improvisation.

In the coming months the speakeasy will broadcast live at irregular times and from different geographic locations, but always online at TTnode, a decentralised network of servers, antennae and DAB+ (digitial audio broadcasting) boxes scattered around France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The inaugural speakeasy will occur on Friday 20 January 2023 from studio 111 at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht NL. You’re welcome to join from 17.00 and we will go live between 18.00–19.00.

fugitive frequency, season 2, episode 12: Rádio Santos Dumont

Rádio Santos Dumont mise-en-scéne. A white steel gate is in the foreground of a street scene, framing the base of a rounded building. A group of are gathered on plastic chairs an tables in front of a shopfront. A Row of motorcycles is to the left and a white ‘Kombi’ van to their right. The asphalt is wet with rain.

Foto: Gabriel Carnelós 2022

A conversation with Toronto-based radio artist Andrew O’Connor [Instagram] and Todd Lanier Lester one of the founders of Lanchonete.org, an urban research and artist project based around a neighbourhood lunch counter in Conjunto Santos Dumont in central São Paulo.

Late in September 2022, Andrew installed a site-specific radio artwork in the laneway of Conjunto Santos Dumont, featuring a series of interviews he conducted with residents in collaboration with architect, urbanist and interpreter Gabi Ushida.

On the first weekend of October we collaborated on “Rádio Santos Dumont” a day of workshops, events and performances. We were joined by Merien Rodrigues of Itinero Grapho [Instagram] who hosts workshops in a mobile printmaking studio that unpacks from her Kombi van. Also on board was journalist Amber Cortes and illustrator Carl Nelson who had both traveled from the US to be in Brazil during the presidential elections (2 October). Local musicians Gabriel Edé [Instagram] and Vitor Wutzki [Instagram] contributed a very successful songwriting workshop. Carol Godefroid [Instagram] and Gabriel Carnelós [Instagram] provided live translations and photo-documentation, and their voices feature in this episode alongside those of Francisco Josepha de Castro AKA Chico and Nadija.

Woven through this episode are excerpts from Andrew O’Connor’s radio installation and edits of a recording of São Paulo-based musician Felinto [Bandcamp] whose performance closed the first day of the event.

Special mention must go to the people of Conjunto Santos Dumont who welcomed us: notably Liduina whose fruit shop was a base for our activities and Tarcisio, whose bar is the base for Lanchonete.org.

fugitive radio rádio em fuga in Brazil 2022 is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

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.

Rádio 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 with Gabi Ushida, effectively collecting 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 Rádio 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 enclave, 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 Conjunto 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 Rádio Santos Dumont, it will invariably set the context in which it occurs.