Mobile Radio

art project by Sarah Washington & Knut Aufermann

NAPLES December 2009

December 18, 2009 by Mobile Radio

PAN Palazzo delle Arti Napoli invited us to an international forum on the relations between media, critical thinking and contemporary art. One day was dedicated to explore radio as a creative medium and its relations with contemporary art. The session was designed to function like a day of radio programming in a physical space, the stage speakers alternating with sound performances and “hearing sessions”. We choose to do a performance based on various forms of interference, including electromagnetic sounds from the trains we used on our eventful journey to Italy


Our performance set-up was designed to capture all sorts of unwanted signals from the radio spectrum, including intrusions from the air traffic band. Not much to show on stage, most of the action happened on various radios around the room


Whilst from a performance perspective the sounds appeared to be a bit difficult to do anything interesting with, we managed to set them dancing in the room. The audience told us of trails moving across the floor and then suddenly changing direction. It seemed to create an intense dislocated listening experience














Some of our good radio friends were also invited, so we enjoyed the trip immensely. Particularly enjoyable was Richard Thomas playing with his talk by entering the translators booth at the back of the room to give an energetic delivery directly with his translator Gabrielle. What was supposed to be a simultaneous affair was turned into a two-handed secret performance. It took the audience a while to figure out where Richard was speaking from, as the stage remained empty


Etienne Noiseau from Silence Radio in conversation with our host curator Stefano Perna

ÜRZIG/TOKYO December 2009

December 8, 2009 by Mobile Radio

Seminar at Kenzai University


We joined up again with Tetsuo Kogawa over the internet to give a radio circuit-bending seminar for his students. We wanted to make a closer connection with them by sharing some wine from the vineyard behind our house, but it could not be easily sourced in Tokyo. Instead we shared mandarin oranges, and introduced the Japanese to the concept of advent calendars – to much interest as ours had marzipan chocolate inside it. Where did it come from, who put it in the calendar? Tetsuo wanted to know

KINHEIM-KINDEL November 2009

November 3, 2009 by Mobile Radio

Edible Landscapes











Knut offered to record 2 hours of wine fermentation in the cellars of biodynamic winemaker Rudolf Trossen in Kindel for broadcast on the Resonance 104.4 FM show Edible Landscapes produced by Richard Thomas. You can hear an extract of the wonderful bubbling here






Recording and listening for the best blubs with Rudolf Trossen. Photograph of Sarah and Knut by Oliver Brenneisen

LONDON October 2009

October 28, 2009 by Mobile Radio

A concert at the current home of all things experimental, Cafe Oto at Dalston Junction. Kicked off by a Tonic Train duo performance, then a solo from Haco ending in a trio by MRB. It was a treat to play on our long-lost ‘home turf’, and to such a welcoming audience. It’s a great venue


Haco’s solo performance


The first performance of the newly formed Mobile Radio Band – L-R Sarah Washington, Knut Aufermann & Haco

ULVERSTON October 2009

October 27, 2009 by Mobile Radio

Our stay in the Lake District was extended by a residency with Haco at Lanternhouse







The residency involved research and rehearsal for an upcoming concert in London. We also did a Show and Tell session for the public. The rehearsals were such a fluid follow-on from our radio work at F.O.N. we decided the three of us would play together under the name Mobile Radio Band

Sorry to leave Glenn Boulter and Andrew Deakin at Ulverston station. A huge thanks to them and fellow Octopodes: John Hall, Fern Oxley and Alex Oxley. We’ll be back

BARROW October 2009

October 25, 2009 by Mobile Radio

We were delighted to accept an offer by Octopus to work as artists in residence on the F.O.N. festival, together with Haco and Susan Matthews. Mobile Radio proposed to develop content for a live radio broadcast to be performed for an audience at the festival. In the preceeding week we worked closely with the other artists, who also joined us for the performance of our piece MORSONATA. The idea of the work was to convert the sound poem Ursonate by exiled German artist Kurt Schwitters into morse code (he spent his last years living and working on his final Merzbau in the region), and weave this into an intimate portrait of Barrow-in-Furness. We used recent recordings made around the town by other artists, combined with our reflection of a historical moment which joins Barrow past to Barrow present







The shed, the museum, the letter, recording by Haco with Fern Oxley. The interesting thing about Barrow is its primary occupation – building nuclear-powered submarines in the enormous shed. Almost everyone in the town inevitably has some relationship to the town’s military industry. You are not allowed to photograph the shed, or indeed capture anything with electronic devices on Barrow Island where it is situated. Octopus held their festival in its shadow, and invited sound artists to work for a week in the area. Haco, who lives in the pioneering nuclear-free port of Kobe, nearly got arrested on her first recording outing, spotted within seconds by security guards with eyeballs fixed on their monitors. We were safer in the Dock Museum, which gave up its secrets willingly. Here Sarah found the letter that was to become the defining text of MORSONATA, sent by POW James M. Freel Leading Seaman Temporary D/JX.149484, to inform his mother that he was alive after evading certain death on his scheduled submarine (having been transferred at the last minute to another one). He was a Charioteer – human torpedo – charged with riding a missile launched from a sub, then detaching the warhead to plant as a mine on the underside of a ship before riding the chariot away again. His letter is hauntingly humble and prosaic, and was brought to life for us by local actor Damo. The mood was set by an opening and closing song, which could only be Shipbuilding by Elvis Costello. We made our own crude Robert Wyatt-style version for voice and harmonium in the ladies toilets (see pics below)






Keying the Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters. It was utterly delightful to be get the chance to work with ex-Navy and Merchant Navy hands Mike Cumming and Bill Jenkins who approached this unusual and challenging task undaunted. They enjoyed listening to morse code again, in fact it sounded like music to Bill’s ears. When it was his turn to listen, Mike was able to follow the nonsensical rhythmic ‘story’ of the Ursonate, and he could relate the exploits of some of the strange ‘characters’. The work is made up entirely of repetitive patterns of speech sounds, which we used as a rhythm track for our submariner-inspired impression of Barrow


Secomark Hand Operated Syren Type 447, which we were able to test and record on a behind the scenes tour of the museum







The set-up for our radio show, which went out live on Resonance 104.4FM in London, and the recording sites we used around the Canteen building. MORSONATA was made up of layers of morse code which floated in and out, plus field recordings, piano and organ treatments made by Susan Matthews, Clutter and Haco. On top of that were intertwined live performances by Susan on harmonium, Haco on egg slicer, electronics, cymbal and voice, and Tonic Train with our usual electronic instrumentorium of circuit bending and radio feedback. You can view a couple of excerpts in this video (it’s a slow-burner), and read a little more on the F.O.N. blog






It’s not possible to do the marvelous F.O.N. Festival justice on this site and recount the performances, instead here are a few samples of John Wall’s extreme waveforms as a teasing taste of how it sounded. Full 2009 line-up list and futher info, and latest F.O.N. activities

BERLIN October 2009

October 16, 2009 by Mobile Radio

Knut@Herbstradio

Knut travelled to Berlin to take part in Herbstradio’s retrospective of life before and after the fall of the Berlin wall, marking the 20th anniversary of German reunification. He interviewed music journalist Helen Thein about growing up in the GDR town of Potsdam with a life-long apsiration to become a radio DJ. She provided the soundtrack of her teenage years to accompany the story. [Wot, no picture?]

ÜRZIG October 2009

October 16, 2009 by Mobile Radio

radiofutura





We did a wine tasting simultaneously in Germany, France. From Ürzig we tasted and chatted about wine and cheese with Dinah Bird and Jean-Phillipe Renoult in Paris, while we waited for the Lisbon crew who couldn’t reach the festival in time. The recording was broadcast at the Future Places Festival in Porto

MIXNITZ August 2009

August 27, 2009 by Mobile Radio















Unbelievably, we had a holiday to end the trip. Dieter Kovacic and Billy Roisz took us to recoup our hearing and regenerate our minds in the high mountain meadows around Mixnitz. It was all a bit Heidi, sharing our water supply with the cows…. Plenty of decent exercise, although the climb through the massive canyon nearly finished me off. Austrians are FIT!

KLEYLEHOF August 2009

August 23, 2009 by Mobile Radio


We join the Reheat crew for their wonderful festival in the Kleylehof at the far eastern fringe of Austria. In the doorway are two of the organising team and a comrade; Klaus Filip, Noid and Barbara Kaiser. Ernst Reitermaier, Dieter Kovacic, Billy Roisz, and Oliver Stotz make up the rest of the festival committee






For our performance as part of the electromagnetic theme we wanted to work only with hearing aids. When we arrive there is still some micro-soldering to do!


Our modified hearing aids were hung over mic stands in front of floor monitors, so that we could swing them in front of the speakers






With eight devices we could build up a hypnotic wall of sound. The audience were enthusiastic, not only for us but for many interesting performances, installations and talks. Photos by Martin Feilhauer


A lovely atmosphere is created by camping out and eating together around the massive table. Each year Reheat is pieced together around a new theme – it’s the most extraordinary, fun and excellent sound / music / performance / installation festival around. A big thank you for all the hard work that goes into it

Kunstradio – Reheat the Schnitzel







We had a second job to do at the festival which was to capture it for Kunstradio. We made many recordings which were randomly cut into small pieces and arranged using Dieb 13’s schnitzel software. Together we created Reheat the Schnitzel, a 42 minute piece for broadcast on the Austrian national radio channel Ö1. Elisabeth Zimmermann came to collect the show in person for broadcast that evening

HAMBURG June 2009

June 14, 2009 by Mobile Radio

Conecrt at Blinzelbar


A concert in Altona at one of Hamburg’s kooky venues, run by Heiner Metzger


Blinzelbar is in a disused shopping centre – waiting to become IKEA. Hopefully not as it currently houses more than a hundred artists. You can follow their protests here


Not too easy to create an atmosphere at the concert on a lazy Sunday afternoon…

HUNOLSTEIN June 2009

June 7, 2009 by Mobile Radio

Concert with Marcus Heesch


Marcus helped us renovate our house, and so we wanted to play a trio with him to create some pictures for our living room. Knut picks up the sound of paint on canvas with contact microphones and mixes it into our music








The venue is a barn belonging to friends in the Hunsrück, a wild and empty area of Germany


Marcus did a fantastic job and the concert was a joy to play as we achieved a symbiosis of electronic sound and egg tempera. Some of the audience were fascinated, others disbelieving

BERLIN February 2009

February 1, 2009 by Mobile Radio

Transmediale


The ‘Pregnant Oyster’ building (House of World Cultures) is the home of Transmediale and the radio studio of our Berlin partners Backyardradio who hosted Theme Time Radio for the duration of the festival. Nice to see the local constabulary taking an interest…


Theme Time Radio studio. (Sept-Nov 2009 the project Herbstradio is broadcasting from here)


The beating heart of multifarious Berlin radio projects – Diana McCarty and Pit Schultz. Standing, Pedro Lopes joined Theme Time Radio from our Portuguese radio partners: Radio Zero






At the controls: Pedro Lopes, Sarah and Marold Langer-Philippsen


One of the many radio round table debates


Sarah’s instruments in a telephone booth





the institute for transacoustic research (iftaf) come along to help us pop a few balloons




Congratulatons from us radio people to the Transmediale prizewinners Matsuko Yokokoji, Richard Wright (not pictured), and Graham Harwood for their amazing Tantalum Memorial project


Knut’s eternal feedback sound installation running from another telephone booth

ÜRZIG January 2009

January 17, 2009 by Mobile Radio

Art’s Birthday


We join in with the multi-node streaming to Kunstradio in Vienna from our base in Ürzig, as part of their annual Arts Birthday event


Knut tweaks his self-organising feedback installation