fugitive frequency episode 07: La Cabaret

La Cabaret – Nail polish

‘Welcome to La Cabaret, an open invitation to mix politics and pleasure, with the energy of cabarets, queer bars and block parties to celebrate that despite all the struggles, we can make room for joy.’

‘La Cabaret’ was a post-porn salon of sorts, curated and hosted by Irina Muttin in her share apartment in Rastila, East Helsinki. First broadcast live on June five on {openradio}, it features Frau Diamanda, Elina Nissinen, lintulintu, Yes Escobar and Roxana Savdo amongst other guests.

Poethical De-Scriptings


‘Poethical De-Scriptings’ broadcast live from Pixelache Helsinki Festival #BURN____2021 outside Oodi central library, Helsinki, 7 June, featuring artist and finance activist Ana Fradique and artist-musician Suva Das.

‘Poethical De-scriptings’ is a term I use to describe a practice of live and improvised verbal narrations for radio broadcast.

In her essay, ‘Toward a Black Feminist Poethics’ (2014), Denise Ferriera da Silva proposes ‘poethics’ as a means of emancipating the ‘Category of Blackness’ from the scientific and historical ways of knowing that produced it, with ‘the ethical mandate of opening up other ways of knowing’ (p. 81). Releasing Blackness from objectification, commodification and the forms of domination that produced slavery, a Black Feminist Poethics elicits a range of possibilities that decolonization demands; not for the betterment of this world, but rather toward ‘the end of the world as we know it’.

‘Scriptings’ is a word coined by the artist Achim Lengerer who is concerned with the political questions of speech and language. It is a conflation of the words ‘script’ and ‘writings’, and is also the name of Lengerer’s publishing and production house in Berlin. ‘Scriptings’ also refers to ‘social scripts’, a term borrowed from behavioural psychology to describe knowledge of how to perform adequately in a given situation. One example is how one gets the attention of a waiter in a restaurant. In some circumstances this can be achieved by establishing eye contact, in others it might be acceptable to call, gesticulate and even whistle. While whistling might be inappropriate in the first scenario, attempting to make eye contact might be insufficient in the latter. So knowing the correct social script is crucial to achieving the desired result, as is performing roles correctly to enable social functioning.

My practice of poethical de-scriptings adopts poethics as an approach to being in the world that enables one to delink from the social scripts that one performs by default. It draws from the ‘alt text’ descriptions that often accompany images online to assist those who are visually impaired. Efforts to address issues of accessibility are inherently political. In this example from screen-based media, written and audio descriptions expose the epistemological violence of (hegemonic) visual cultures.

The term ‘access intimacy’ was conceived by writer and disability justice activist Mia Mingus to name the ‘hard to describe feeling’ and ‘eerie comfort’ that arises when someone ‘gets’ her access needs. Access intimacy is not exclusive to disabled people and Mingus (2011) confides:

There have been relationships that carried emotional, physical and political intimacy, but sorely lacked access intimacy. And there have been relationships where access intimacy has helped to create the conditions out of which emotional, familial and political intimacy could grow.

Mingus urges her readers to adopt ‘Access as a framework’ to address a spectrum of needs of those who are (differently) disadvantaged in an ableist world. Furthermore, she distinguishes access intimacy to ‘obligatory access’ that is ‘stoic’ or perfunctory. She writes:

Sometimes access intimacy doesn’t even mean that everything is 100% accessible. Sometimes it looks like both of you trying to create access as hard as you can with no avail in an ableist world. Sometimes it is someone just sitting and holding your hand while you both stare back at an inaccessible world.

My practice of poethical de-scriptings shifts from literal descriptions of my visible surroundings into self-reflection and speculation. While it might sometimes involve close looking and articulation of details, I work in the haze of representation; my poethical de-scriptings may not be visually accurate, but neither are they fiction. Rather, I seek to be personal and precise about what I am see-feeling-thinking.

I approach radio as a medium that is networked and as an event that can be collectively produced and distributed. Rather than the mass media notion of broadcasting to the world, I pursue radio as a social practice that connects peers, friends and enthusiasts. Rather than shouting out to an unknown audience, my technique is more akin to whispering into a lover’s ear.

Attempting audio descriptions made me acutely aware of the power dynamics inherent in language and that are reinforced in everyday speech acts. I discovered that my efforts to communicate clearly and sensitively were determined, and arguably undermined, by social scripts which inform reflexive speech. Foregrounding these codes emphasised that what is ‘normal’ is designed and that these designs condition, noticeably in the built environment and ‘public sphere’. Indeed, it reveals the prejudices of normativity and how one is positioned relative to authority.

As such, poethical de-scriptings attempts to deconstruct and dismantle these power dynamics through an improvised verbal practice. It makes one acutely aware of how ‘words shape worlds’; how ‘worlding’ is material-discursive and how language is privileged as knowledge. Towards the end of the live broadcast embedded above, the artist Suva  demonstrates his hand percussion skills on the ‘Konch’ urban furniture in which I was seated. It is an example of how such a skilled musician can ‘talk with their hands’. This might be phonetic, as Suva mimics the sound of language with percussion. Suva also refers to pre-established cultural codes that might announce an event such as the birth of a child, a wedding or war, emphasising that drumming can also be emotive, making using of texture, pattern and abstraction.

Extending out towards non-verbal communication such as humming and drumming, poethical de-scriptings seeks to jailbreak language from the authority it is deployed to uphold and shift ways of being-in-relation in the world.

PIXELACHE HELSINKI FESTIVAL 2021: #BURN____

Pixelache Helsinki Burn 2021

Pixelache Helsinki Festival 2021 #Burn____, co-directed by artist-organiser Andrew Gryf Paterson and author Laura Gustafsson, takes place this year with limited access in selected spaces inside Oodi Central Library in Helsinki and outside the front canopy of Oodi, as well as online, from the 6th to the 13th of June 2021. The theme of the festival #Burn____, anticipated in late summer 2019, sets the context of the festival contributions, reflecting on mental health, social solidarity and struggle as well as on ecological crisis.

After a year of excessive screen-based meetings, the festival re-adopts one of the oldest media forms at physical distance from another – radio – seems to be the idea of making a festival event with local and international contributors in consideration of mobility and gathering restrictions. With the established experience of hybrid radio, Pixelache brings a localised listening mix of audio works from two open calls, a live radio stream of festival events especially made or adapted for radio, emerging sound artists, podcasts, and interviews with festival artists and contributors. During the festival, the public can interact with a local FM radio broadcasting around Oodi. Bring Your Own Radio (BYOR) to listen, and if you like a blanket or picnic!

fugitive radio is planning a series of live and collectively produced outside broadcasts for Pixelache #Burn. We will meet outside Oodi Central Library from 14.00 everyday of the festival. If you’re curious to make live experimental radio with us bring your smartphone and a pair of wired earbuds. These work as an antenna on your smartphone if it has an FM receiver (look for the app!) Also bring a bluetooth speaker if you have one. After a little warm up, we will begin streaming online between 15.00 and 16.00 each day, thanks to {openradio}. We will also be broadcasting to a limited range around Oodi on 91.4 FM. If you can’t make it to Oodi you could join us remotely — we’re working on a platform! Updates will be posted on fugitive-radio.net and our Telegram channel. Follow us on Insta: fugitive.radio.

fugitive schedule
Sun 06: Roaming Radiophonic Picnic — sites and sounds of the Oodi broadcast zone.
Mon 07: Poethical De-Scriptings
Tue 08: ‘Swings & Ropes’ with Irina Mutt
Wed 09: The Snow Globe Effect: post-vax mental health chit chat with Tania Nathan
Thu 10: Hum Klub
Fri 11: Karaoke
Sat 12: ‘Cacerolazo’ environmental percussion with Suva Das
Sun 13: ‘Democracy Day!’ What do you think?

To participate online please download SonoBus, a free and open source, multi-user audio streaming application. Check back here on Sunday 6 June for details about how to join our room.

La Cabaret

‘La Cabaret’ image: ‘Sex-part(2006), de Majo-Post-Op

Image credit: ‘Sex-party’ (2006), de Majo-Post-Op.

Saturday June 5, 19:0020:30 CEST (Barcelona, Berlin) 20:0021:30 EEST (Helsinki, Athens)
Streaming on {openradio} 

Welcome to La Cabaret, an open invitation to mix politics and pleasure, with the energy of cabarets, queer bars and block parties to celebrate that despite all the struggles, we can make room for joy.

Happening in an apartment in Rastila, East Helsinki, this event will have interventions by post-porn researcher and artist Frau Diamanda, tarot readings by Elina Nissinen, improvised spoken word by guests and music by lintulintu.

La Cabaret invites the audience to join with their browsers and ears to know a little bit more about dissident Iberoamerican post-porn, divination with tarot cards and as Lintu Lunar describes their work, to play and dance with ‘technosexual tunes and non-binary data fantasies’. Opening home doors to anyone curious to join us in this encounter. Because this ‘us’ is about you, too.

Artists and collaborators: Frau Diamanda, Elina Nissinen, lintulintu, Yes Escobar, Irina Mutt, fugitive radio, {openradio} (Sophea Lerner).

Live broadcast Under A Fooled Moon

SonoBus interface

A recording of the live broadcast of our radiophonic ‘closing ceremony’ for Suva’s exhibition, ‘Untitled’ at Myymälä2, Helsinki.

Participants gathered ‘Under a Fooled Moon’ in the gallery and on SonoBus, a multi-user audio streaming platform, for a live improv session that was streamed on openradio.in Using our voices, Suva guided us through a collective experiment in performing networked radio infrastructure as one would play a musical instrument.

The event was devised in collaboration with Sophea Lerner and Timo Tuhkanen.

‘Under a Fooled Moon’ a Radiophonic Closing Ceremony for Suva ‘Untitled’.

Suva Closing Ceremony

9 May 2021 from 17.00
Myymälä2, Helsinki
SonoBus Private Group: underafooledmoon
openradio.in

fugitive radio is convening a collective radiophonic ritual, gathering ‘Under a Fooled Moon’ for a live improv session led by Suva. Guests are asked to bring FM radio receivers, earbuds, smartphones and bluetooth speakers to open a portal between parallel (sonic) universes; you can join onsite at Myymälä2 gallery and online at the SonoBus Private Group: underafooledmoon. The situation is being devised in collaboration with Sophea Lerner and Timo Tuhkanen.

If you are curious to join online or in the gallery with your smartphone, SonoBus is a multi-user platform for streaming audio. It’s great for jammin’. The app is free to download and is available for a range of operating systems, devices and as an audio plug-in: https://sonobus.net/

The event will be streamed live to https://openradio.in/live

From 30 April until 9 May 2021, the Helsinki-based artist Suva exhibits a large series of watercolour portraits of ‘protagonists’ and instrument-sculptures that will be brought to life during impro-performances at Myymälä2. ‘Untitled’ is supported by Artists at Risk. See the Facebook event for dates and times.

fugitive radio is an artistic-research project initiated by Sumugan Sivanesan to research migrant/anticolonial perspectives and music in the North and pursue radio-as-method. fugitive radio is funded by the Kone Foundation and is being made in collaboration with Pixelache. Live broadcasts are supported by {openradio}.

Hum Club

Hum Club KuhlSchrank

Hum Club is concerned with humming as a preverbal musical form of communication and as the background noise of urban life.

Humming can be approached as a low barrier-to-entry mode of (collective) music-making. It can be (non)-performed absent-mindedly, while doing other things, or as a focused resonant practice — think of the yogic ‘Om’.

Hum Club also has an interest in humming as the background noise to urban life; the hum of motors, refrigerators, electricity hubs, and other sounds that we are mostly inattentive to, that we have learned to filter out. We might ask how does a hum differ from a buzz?

Hum Club seeks to explore what happens when we bring these and other notions of humming together. We could make a humming dérive or drift through an urban centre. What kind of psychogeographies might we uncover? It’s not hard to imagine how humming could serve as a means of communication, marking one’s movement within proximity to others. So might humming be a navigation tool, as a means of echolocation? What happens when the humming stops? Does background noise take over or are we left with the ringing in our ears? Where might we find ourselves when humming guides our negotiations of urban space?

Hum Club will also convene online on ‘jamming’ platforms, such as Jam, Jamulus and SonoBus, to explore low level forms of connectivity. During this time of pandemic, what is it to be in the presence of others without a specific purpose or focus; while doing others things? How might we be together differently, digitally?

What is the history of humming? When did people first hum? One proposal is that humming and other kinds of preverbal vocalisations are vestigial forms of communication inherited from our pre-human ancestors. What might be the evolutionary reason for its persistence? Simply put: why hum? There is some discussion about the role of biosonics in wellbeing and healing, so might humming relieve anxiety? Could humming enhance the regeneration of cells and soft tissue?

Hum Club takes its cues from the poet and author Christina Hume who founded ‘Center for the Hum’. In an email interview published on Poetry Foundation (2014) she writes:

In the wake of visual aggression, metamorphosis is biological, and so must be recuperation. Our focus on the body routes us through tactile, kinesthetic, and proprioceptive senses. At the Center, we send high frequency vibrations—in the form of a hum too high to hear—to pressurize the tissues of civilian wounds, but the vibrations, more crucially, locate the wound’s own voice in a kind of echolocation. This echo-pulse lets us take back a sonic subjectivity, an identity informed from surround sound instead of frontal optics.

An excerpt from Hume’s recent book Saturation Project (2021) that concerns ‘hum’ can be found at Full Stop.

Suva debuts Time

Suva’s notebook

Suva (Facebook), a dear friend of fugitive-radio, introduced his new self-made instrument, Time, at Myymälä2 on Saturday afternoon, 30 January, to a enthusiastic crowd of fans, friends and supporters.

As described in his notebook, the instrument is made from the frame of a metal fan, long forgotten in his attic, and the frame of a watchtower clock and round wooden objects the artist found at a fleamarket. Working with his hands — binding, stretching and gluing — Suva arrived at this sculptural object-instrument. After incorporating a contact-microphone into the assemblage, ‘Time was born’.

In April–May, Myymälä2 will host an exhibition by Suva and we are planning to collaborate on an event — stay tuned!