Mobile Radio

art project by Sarah Washington & Knut Aufermann

SÃO PAULO August – December 2012 part 2

September 30, 2012 by Mobile Radio

To start at the beginning of our Mobile Radio BSP documentation click here.

The rest of September continued with many varied guests visiting the radio studio. akcg (Anna Kindgren and Carina Gunnars) from Sweden were in town on a different mission and we joined up with them to read the first chapter of their book agorafobi/agorafobia/agoraphobia in Swedish, English and Brazilian Portuguese. An overlayed mix of the three languages made it onto our archive afterwards.


As the rest of the Bienal artists were destined to leave São Paulo after setting up their works we took our chances to invite them to our studio along with an ever-increasing number of local artists, musicians, curators and Bienal visitors. Pictured below are John and Nina Zurie, Leandro Tartaglia, Movimento Sincopado (listen), José Roberto Leonel Barreto (listen), Ana Gonçalves Magalhães, Oval/Markus Popp (listen / listen), Guto Carvalho (listen), Bienal book launch, Simon Foxall, Afro Hooligans (listen) and a visiting photgraphy class.

John Zurie
Leandro Tartaglia
Movimento Sincopado
José Roberto Leonel Barreto
Ana Gonçalves Magalhães
Markus Popp
Guto Carvalho

Simon Foxall
Afro Hooligans

Into the second week of broadcasting regular shows were taking hold in our schedule. Around these shows we allowed for maximum flexibility in terms of programming – if somebody interesting showed up, we could often go straight to air with them. Every weekday the excellent Bienal education team visited the radio either with one of the 150 daily school classes that were visiting the exhibition, or to present their own show. So much excitement on air!

Uirá Vital, Stela Barbieri

Pablo Tallavera

A selection of other regular live shows:
– Oidaradio Sessions: with Nick Graham-Smith who organized 13 weekly experimental music performances. In this section Kevin Drumm (listen), Objeto Amarelo (listen) and Shackle (listen)
– Paisagens & Poéticas: São Paulo field recordings mixed with poetry by Renata Roman (listen)
– Alreves: Experimental electronic music from a rotating pool of members of the Alreves label (listen / listen)
– Os ritmos brasileiros: Live jazz based on Brazilian rhythms by Diego Sales (harmonica), Caio Chiarini (guitar) and guests (listen)
– Escuta do Corpo Sonoro: Vocal therapy with Mirian Steinberg (listen)
– Radio Radio: Henrique Iwao and guests conducted hour-long audio experiments (listen)
– Pipa Musical: XTO and Rogerio Krepski’s radio art mayhem celebrated with a new guest each week (listen)

Kevin Drumm
Objeto Amarelo
Nick Graham-Smith
Renata Roman
Bruno Hiss
Diego Sales, Caio Chiarini
Mirian Steinberg

Henrique Iwao
Pipa Musical

Photos 3-5: Leo Eloy/Fundação Bienal de São Paulo © Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Thanks to our Bienal producer Joaquim Millan (below, white t-shirt & walkie-talkie) we eventually got an updated FM transmitter that could cover the square kilometer broadcast range we had been allocated, and a decent radio receiver at the benches outside of our studio which became a listening post and resting point for visitors. If they wanted to continue listening they could also pick up a portable radio at reception to carry through the exhibition.

Joaquim Millan

The new transmitter also allowed for Knut’s live radio installation Dune o’Din to function properly as part of our nighttime broadcast series Better Silence. We wanted live broadcasts 24 hours a day, so we used various live streams to cover the periods when the exhibition was closed. As well as Dune o’Din you could tune in at night to hours of beautiful pops and clicks of sun spots and lightening strikes from a natural radio signal broadcast from Todmorden in the UK (as opposed to our own ‘unnatural radio’!), a marine microphone in Ireland listening for whale calls, online field recording streams (Brazilian birds provided by Rádio Paisagem and global soundscapes from radio aporee) or else algorithmic compositions (the 1000 year chiming Longplayer by Jem Finer and Zellen/Silben by Jörg Köppl which generated fake Portuguese phrases). We did some out of hours broadcasts ourselves, but it became increasingly difficult to remain in the building due to (mainly farcical) security issues.

One of the great advantages of being part of the Bienal was gaining the opportunity to invite fellow artists from around the world to join us for a week at a time, with a high chance that their respective national funding agencies would support them. Together we managed to secure an impressive roster that covered nearly every week of broadcasting. The first visitor was Jörg Köppl from Switzerland. His contribution was a daily on-air workshop called The Listening Choir (listen) that culminated in active listening sessions for the participants in and around the Bienal pavillion. One late night session ended with some confused bombeiros escorting us out of the building after encountering a group of people sitting on chairs with their eyes closed, ignoring the expected closing routine of the exhibition. Jörg also left us a specially adapted version of his algorithmic composition Zellen/Silben noted above.

Jörg Köppl

Photos 1,3,4: Leo Eloy/Fundação Bienal de São Paulo © Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

SÃO PAULO August – December 2012 part 1

September 9, 2012 by Mobile Radio

Mobile Radio BSP was the name we chose for our experimental radio station for the 30th São Paulo Bienal in Brazil. 14 weeks of solid broadcasting from the 3rd September – 9th December was the challenge we had set ourselves. With as much live content as possible and no repeats. We were hoping that a metropolis like São Paulo would provide ample talent to fill the airwaves.

Thanks to our curator Tobi Maier we were able to present our project at the Goethe-Institut São Paulo together with our local colaborator Leandro Nerefuh two weeks before we went on air. More than 100 guests attended, listened and laughed at our ideas and offered their own during the following discussion and reception. Many of them became regular programme makers for Mobile Radio BSP. We were quite overwhelmed by the level of interest.

Sarah Washington
Sarah Washington, Leandro Nerefuh
Sarah Washington, Knut Aufermann
Tobi Maier, Leandro Nerefuh


Julio de Paula, Arrigo Barnabé

Goethe-Institut São Paulo

Photos 1-10: Leo Eloy/Fundação Bienal de São Paulo © Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Meanwhile our studio in the Bienal pavillion took shape to our specifications, with two large glass sides which could be fully opened, and a double bed to grab a nap or rest during the long working hours. The furniture had to be aquired surreptitiously from elsewhere in the building. A stopgap low power FM transmitter (while we waitied for the proper one to be built) and antenna arrived just in time, but the broadcast licence was still missing. The lateness of these crucial project elements and the missing finishing touches to enable us to provide for the comfort of Bienal visitors caused unnecessary friction.

To celebrate the arrival of our FM licence on day two of the exhibition we hooked up with fellow Bienal artist and noise musician Marco Fusinato, and as we also needed to let off some steam we tested the protection circuits of our studio speakers.

Marco Fusinato

Photos 1-2: Leo Eloy/Fundação Bienal de São Paulo © Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

In the first week of the exhibition we invited many of the artists that were milling around into our studio for interviews, chats or shows that people wanted to make. Some of them were exhibiting in the Bienal, some worked there, others were in town for the opening or other events and a few dedicated souls had travelled from other cities or countries in South America especially to make radio for us. The images below show a selection of them:
f. marquespenteado, Helen Mirra & Ernst Karel, Merzedes Sturm-Lie, Tehching Hsieh (listen), Justin Luke, David Medalla (listen), Pedro Garbellini da Silva, Kiki Mazzucchelli, Angela López Ruiz & Juliana Rosales, André Damião (listen), Juan A. Gaitán, Adriano Vilela (listen), a big supporter of the project

f. marquespenteado
Helen Mirra, Ernst Karel
Merzedes Sturm-Lie
Tehching Hsieh
Justin Luke
David Medalla
Pedro Garbellini da Silva
Kiki Mazzucchelli
Angela López Ruiz, Juliana Rosales
André Damião
Juan A. Gaitán
Adriano Vilela

The highlight of the first week happened on the public opening day, September 7th 2012. We wanted to mark the 90th anniversary of the first radio broadcast in Brazil. Happily, Brazilian national radio producer Julio de Paula wrote a radio drama based on the story of Edgard Roquette Pinto, the scientist and educator behind this first transmission. Edgard’s granddaughter was in attendence to witness the spectacle that featured an opera singer and an actor, live amateur radio signals, sound effects, plunderphonic DJs, live sound processing and a script by Julio (listen). Unbeknown to us until it was all over, during the piece we were handed responsibility for the future of radio in Brazil. It was very humbling.

Photos 3-7: Leo Eloy/Fundação Bienal de São Paulo © Fundação Bienal de São Paulo