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}.

fugitive frequency episode 05: Jammin’

Stevie

Jammin’ is a mashed-up sonic (anti-)ethnography of online multi-user audio streaming platforms such as Jamulus and SonoBus — MUDs for musos. A montage of recordings made in various jam rooms I entered or initiated in April 2021 have been edited together with excerpts from a conversation I had in November 2020 with Helsinki-based artist Suva [Facebook] and a recording from one of his recent performances.
Special thanks to ‘Europe session’, ‘Jazz so what’, ‘probando‘, ‘talktesttrytipstricks‘, ‘1234_Portugal‘ and ‘Hum Club‘ amongst others. Also a shout out to Peter from Exerzierstraße for introducing me to these spaces and who also makes a cameo.

Suva’s exhibition ‘Untitled’ [Facebook], comprising of a series of water colour paintings and sculptural instruments, can be experienced at Myymälä2 Gallery, Helsinki from 29 April – 9 May 2021. fugitive radio will be presenting a closing ceremony ‘Under a Fooled Moon’ [Facebook] on Sunday 9 May which guests can join in the gallery or on SonoBus.

Music, media and references
Stevie Wonder illustration by Al Harper for the cover of Hotter Than July (1980)

Urban Drift for Aural Pleasure: Wedding, Berlin 20-04-2021

Urban Drift: Wedding 2021-04-21

With headphones in, I’m not surprised that I become more attuned to the audio environment and move according to what might sound interesting. I consider passerby according to how I think — or rather sense — they might contribute to the recording. At the same time, I try to hum absent-mindedly. I don’t want to think about what I am humming; when a motif from a song or a familiar musical phrase escapes from my vocal chords and I wonder a little about what it is or where it came from, but try not to dwell on it or consciously change.

My sounding is not ‘echo location’ (at least not in any conventional sense), nevertheless I am humming as way of perceiving the environment. I hum at a volume that I think only I can hear it. Indeed, and especially with earbuds in, humming feels like a sound that is only inside my head. It’s much more intimate than, say, whistling. As well has drawing my attention to my sonic surroundings, humming also makes me aware of a certain pressure in my chest and nose and mouth. It’s a muffled expression —like a muted trumpet — rather than an expressive open mouthed articulation and I wonder why I never noticed this before.

Around the 11 minute mark I try to hum with the sound coming from a GeldAutomat which, now that I think about it, seems to be installed quite randomly along an otherwise residential street. I did attempt to harmonise with the sounds expressed from the vents of the machine, that upon close listening seems more granular than regular — ie more like static noise than a drone.

Drifting, I try not to notice where I am going. I try not to make conscious decisions about where I am in relation to where I began and let the audio experience by my guide, although other factors are at play. It is a warm day in early Spring and I favour the sunshine. I come to a street that I recognise as the address of a wholesale ‘oriental’ grocer that a friend had sent me to more than a year ago. I’m surprised to come upon it, but what strikes me more is the acoustic resonance of the laneway. At around 21 minutes in the recording, I pause in silence to appreciate a patch of sunlight between concrete structures that shape this light industrial zone and listen to the bass pumping out of a nearby parked car. I am surprised when the music is drowned out by an encroaching truck, pulling into a nearby parking bay. The sweeping ‘woof’ of the truck engine is physically palpable and I cannot distinguish the sound from the hot air which seems to engulf the truck like a cloud. The screeching highs of hydraulic truck brakes accentuate the effect as a full spectrum audio-body experience. It’s remarkable.

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.

Swarm Vs Stack

Sound(ing)Systems Poster

A close friend once described fugitive radio (and when it was initially formulating as Baracca do Sound System) as my ‘teenage-boy-fantasy-sound-system project’, which I went along with until I recently encountered Nik Nowak’s Schizo Sonics at KINDL Berlin.

Indeed, I had initially proposed to build some kind of mobile sound system — ‘a bicycle-mounted radio shack’ — and it may still come to fruition for Pixelache Festival, however fugitive radio seems to drift towards dispersal and the ephemeral, rather than the monumental and antagonistic. I am no stranger to the discourse of sonic weaponry and Nowak’s oeuvre has piqued my interest in the past at CTM. So as someone with an interest in sound system culture, it’s curious that Nowak’s sound sculptures have emerged as a counterpoint to what I now find myself pursuing. Below is a quick comparison of concerns:

Swarm Vs Stack
quotidian technologies at hand / customised industrial technologies
relatively accessible, low barrier to entry / requires access to equipment, skills & some expertise
ephemeral / monumental
guerilla dispersal / centralised soundclash
technology of the (performing) body / the body as driver of the machine

This suggests to me we are dealing with a different politics of space and dialectics when it comes to soundclash. At KINDL Schizo Sonics concerns histories and strategies of Cold War loudspeaker propaganda across a divided Berlin, with contemporaneous post-war sound system cultures in Jamaica acting as ‘the angle between two walls’, to cite A War of Decibels (2021) above. (Interestingly Nowak and his crew point to Hedley Jones, a Jamaican born musician, audio engineer, inventor, writer and trade-unionist who trained as a radar engineer with the British Royal Airforce and served during World War II. When Jones returned to Jamaica he began building amplifiers that were responsive to a much wider frequency range than those readily available, which he later incorporated into sound systems. He is considered one of the most important pioneers of sounds system electronics.) While a soundclash may present a dialectical war of ideologies, I think fugitive radio is concerned with a different politics of space and subjectivation.

Considering dispersed and covert forms of audio performance that I hope to produce in the near future, I was reminded today of discussions during the Onassis AiR School of Infinite Rehearsals: Movement I about how our group might enact different or new relations in the matrices of power we were entangled in as arts workers. Here Federica Bueti alerted us to Tina Campt’s discussion of refusal from her book Listening to Images (2017): ‘creative practices of refusal—nimble and strategic practices that undermine the categories of the dominant.’

I am also reminded again of the Sound Swarm protest performances devised by Grey Filastine that have occurred at numerous UN COP climate conferences, and also of cacerolazo noise protests in which agitators bang on pots and pans.

I am thinking about the ubiquity of blue tooth speakers and how a kind of ‘sonic entity’ might emerge, as political performance and even resistance, from what is at hand and everyday. Another example is the way people use bowls as resonating chambers to amplify the speakers on their mobile phones. For Pixelache Festival I would like to explore these improvised technologies and corporeal gestures further, to develop what I’ve discussed elsewhere as a ‘Choreography of Disobedience’.

fugitive frequency episode 04: Corona Realism

Etienne Suvasa: GNU head

Another sketchy, and somewhat hastily assembled, audio essay. It is now a year since I returned to Europe in the midst of the lockdown in Berlin. To mark my ‘corona aniversário’ I dig into some of the issues surrounding the stalled development of the patent-free ‘Linux Vaccine’ by a co-hort of university-based researchers in Helsinki and as discussed in this thought-provoking article by Ilari Kaila and Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen published in Jacobin in February. The ‘Great Vaccine Race’ provides an entry point to think about some of the issues raised by sociologist and design theorist Benjamin H. Bratton, in his recent call ‘For Planetary Governance’, taking into account anticolonial perspectives…which leads us to the Zapatistas who are sailing to Europe this summer! Also Schools for Chiapas are collecting funds to support the Zapatista’s mobile plant medicine initiative, El Vivero Muy Otro– Medicine for our Bodies; Medicine for the Earth.

Links to music, media and resources used in the program are below.
GNU mascot illustration by Etienne Suvasa circa 1996.

fugitive frequency episode 03: ‘trocar’

fugitive frequency episode 3 is themed trocar or exchange. As discussed by Léo Custodio in the program, it implies solidarity amongst activists, researchers and artists who come together across power differentials. fugitive radio will continue to pursue this idea to think about dialogues, collaborations and networks that link marginalised communities and how these relations and infrastructures develop counter-hegemonic power. How might this notion of trocar problematised state-backed neoliberal discourses and initiatives of multiculturalism and diversity?

This episode features pre-recorded and edited conversations with the following guests:

Léo Custodio, is a Brazilian-born scholar and activist based in Helsinki. Alongside journalist Monica Gathuo, Léo co-founded the Anti-Racist Media Activist (ARMA) Alliance, who facilitate collaborations and exchanges that bridge the worlds of academia, culture and activism across Finland and Brazil. Léo authored the book Favela Media Activism: Counterpublics for Human Rights in Brazil (2017) based on his PhD research into community media in Rio de Janeiro. He is also organises the Activist Research Network  with Camilla Marucco.

Tania Nathan, AKA ‘The Chindian Queen’ [Instagram] is a Malaysian-born poet and author who also lives in Helsinki. Nathan’s recent book Daughter of Immigrants (2020) was funded by ARMA Alliance.

‘Butter Toes’ and ‘Little Boxes’, are community organisers who have negotiated many obstacles as they publish and distribute the first queer anthology of Bangladesh, Boithoki Golpo [Instagram]

Media related to guests, music and productions featured on the program are below.
– – – – –

ARMA Alliance

Ruskeat Tytöt

Blogueiras Negras

Pehmee Podcast

Kelet

Cafuné na laje​

Linn da Quebrada VS. Jup do Bairro

Yeboyah

S.P. Subramanium

Lávvu

After watching Eatnameamet (2021) I learned that there was more to the lávvu than I initially understood. Often described as a ‘tent-like structure, similar to the Tipi’ there are some significant differences. In terms of structure, according to Rebecca Emmons’ (Risten) article ‘An Investigation of Sami Building Structures Sami Building’.

Because of the strong winds of the Scandinavian tundra the lavvu has to endure much more structural stress than the tipi. The lavvu cover is traditionally made of reindeer pelts sewed together with a bone needle and guy thread. It also has a number of arched lateral supports that absorb the wind load. The tent is also more centered to the ground compared to the lofty upward reaching tipis. Comparing the tipi to the lavvu proportionally, the lavvu is much wider at the base than tall, allowing it to be one of the most stable structures among the world’s indigenous peoples. The lavvu entrance consists of an attachable door that always faces away from the prevailing winds. Yet another example of uniquely adaptive climatic structures, the door is then reinforced with wooden slats to provide a firm covering that permits quick and easy access.

What struck me was the symbolism of the lávvu as a cultural haven. According to its Wikipedia entry:

The lavvu played a prominent role in two events during the 20th century as more than just a shelter. The first was at the end of World War II during the winter of 1944/45 when the German troops retreated westward across northern Norway, burning most of the housing in Finnmark and eastern Troms counties before the Russian Red Army. Because of this destruction, many Sami lived in lavvus for many years afterward because of the lack of housing and unemployment from this period…

The second event was when the lavvu was used during the Alta controversy in Norway from 1979 to 1981. A lavvu was set up in front of the Storting (Norwegian Parliament Building) which became an international focal point as several Sami went on a hunger strike to protest the proposed dam project that would have destroyed reindeer grazing grounds of the Sami herders in the area and inundated the Sami village of Máze. This lavvu became center stage in the political fight for Sami indigenous rights … This conflict gave birth to the Sami Rights Committee which addressed Sami legal rights within Norway, resulting in the Sami Act of 1987. This in turn became the foundation for the Sámediggi (Sami Parliament of Norway), a democratically elected body for the Sami in Norway in 1989, and the Finnmark Act of 2005.

(Having grown up in Australia, this history reminds me of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, set up in front of the Australian Parliament, Canberra, 1972. This also opens up another thread related to protest infrastructure.)

The Sámediggi recalls the lávvu in its architecture. Designed by the architects Stein Halvorsen and Christian Sundby after winning the Norwegian Government’s call for projects in 1995, the building was inaugurated in 2005.

Arguably it is this history of shelter and struggle that Sofia Jannok also recalls and promotes in her recent single, Lávvu.

Drawing by Sven-Ole Kolstad, 1989

Eatnameamet – Our Silent Struggle (2021)

Eatnameamet – Our Silent Struggle (2021) is a documentary description of the Sámi policy of the Finnish state, the loss of Sámi culture and the Sámi struggle for its existence. It tells about the cultural genocide of the Sámi people and the non-violent struggle for the existence of the Sámi people. The film increases the understanding of the Sámi and how the rights of the Sámi are related to the rights of the land. If the indigenous people do not have access to nature, there are no indigenous people.

I’ve also notice the film listed as The AssimiNation on English-language movie databases.

According to director Doavtter-Piera Suvi Máret/Suvi West on the film’s website (Google translate):

Eatnameamet is the collective cry of distress for the Sámi. This film is born from my personal experience of living as a Sámi in this country. Time and time again I come across us on misinformation, prejudice and repressive structures. My people and culture are fighting a silent defense with accelerating colonialism. I felt that I, like other Sámi, had to do something for our future. The film Eatnameamet was born.

The story of colonialism is not my personal story. Nor is it the experience of any other individual Sámi. Exporting countries, forcing Finnishisation, destroying our way of life and narrowing our rights is a common pain for the entire Sámi people. This story could not be told through an individual, it would have been an understatement. As I listened to people, I realised we were in the pain of untreated trauma. For me, Eatnameamet is a collective cry for distress.

I’ve done a movie about love people, and Sámiland point. (Google translate? Perhaps, ‘I’ve made a movie about people I love and from the perspective of Sámpi?’) We Sámi have the right to be heard, but Finns also have the right to know about the Sámi and our situation. Knowledge increases understanding, and understanding is the starting point for the equal coexistence of two peoples in the same country. Ignorance is not the cause of any individual, but it is the fault of oppressive structures. I invite viewers to embark on this journey and step into the Sámi reality for a moment, where they have to fight quietly if they want the culture to be preserved for future generations.’

Eatnameamet sold out its online screenings at the recent 20th DocPoint Helsinki Documentary Film Festival (20 Jan. – 7 Feb., 2021). A webinar was organised to accompany these screenings, this following summary was posted on the documentary’s Facebook page (Google translate):

The weekend’s “Finns who think they own Sámiland” seminar can now be found on DocPoint’s YouTube account. Thank you Petra Laiti, Áslat Holmberg, Emmi Nuorgam and Matti Liimatainen for an important discussion. This was just the beginning, we are going to continue discussions about colonialism throughout the year!

In summary, the biggest difference between Sámi and Finnish land use is in efficiency. From a Sámi perspective, the land is in use, even if it is not built full of infrastructure, houses and mines. Finnish land use, on the other hand, is based on “development”, which often means plundering natural resources and resources. It is also important to ask who will benefit from land use projects?

❗Áslat stated perfectly in the discussion that, for the first time, the Eatnameamet is giving a face to colonialism and showing who is seeking to exploit resources. resurs
Outi Länsman also summarized the main points of our discussion on Twitter:
▪️In the Sámi region, many conflicts related to nature, the environment and land use are due to different perceptions and concepts of different parties.
▪️Researcher Päivi Magga has wisely written that when you want to study what the Sámi people see as culture, and what you want as nature, you have to look at it through the Sámi language.
▪️In conflicts, it is important to be aware of words, language and perceptions associated with words. For example, Northern Sámi does not actually have the word wilderness. If the word is not in the language, then it is not in the worldview either.
▪️Regional decisions on areas often lack a Sámi perspective and one may ask on whose terms the future of the Sámi will be decided?
▪️Sámi customary law is a matter that should be taken into account e.g. land law issues.