Mobile Radio

art project by Sarah Washington & Knut Aufermann

WITTLICH December 2011

December 1, 2011 by Mobile Radio

“Schweine und Fische”

The artist Robert Dziendziol who lives in Ürzig asked us to play at the opening of his exhibition “Pigs and Fish” at the county council offices of Bernkastel-Wittlich. The town of Wittlich is famous for its annual Pig-burning Fair (that’s the direct translation of the name), and Robert partnered them with fish after reading the Richard Wilhelm interpretation of the I Ching which states that pigs and fish are the least intelligent of animals: and thus the most difficult to influence.

Here is Robert with one of his ceramic works: The Fifth Eye

The event was very well attended, especially by fellow villagers from Ürzig who turned out to support their local artists – and to finally find our what on earth it is we all get up to! Photo Theresia Wilhelms

The bizarre circumstance of playing a concert in a 1970s-style public building foyer. However, when buzzing with people the room warmed to us, and we to it. Who’d have thought that we would be so naturally embraced on our adopted home turf, which at times appears to be as anti-cosmopolitan as you can imagine?

And the greatest thing was… the chance to debut our new instrument ‘The Master’ built with the assistance of electronics whiz Georg Laska, in his Ürzig workshop

LONDON July 2011

July 17, 2011 by Mobile Radio


As the final event of the exhibition Gone with the Wind curated by Ed Baxter for the gallery Raven Row, we were invited by Ed and Richard Thomas to produce a live radio piece. Titled “Can the principle of yeast be applied to a lot of other things?” (Fischli & Weiss), this was a sonic exploration of the process of vinification from a biodynamic wine estate at the Mosel in Germany. The event was broadcast in London on Resonance 104.4FM and in Lisbon on the Radio Zero festival frequency: Rádio Real, 88.4MHz






David Motion of The Winery presents the Mosel region and the wine of Rita and Rudolf Trossen. Knut introduces our piece, which combines radio feedback and circuit-bent sounds with a wine bubbling in its cellar cask – Pyramide Riesling Spätlese trocken 2009, the actual wine the audience now have in their hands. Also prominent are the melodious words of the vintner Rudolf Trossen and recordings from vineyards, including a crop-spraying helicopter. (Not necessarily to cruelly shatter any illusions about the rural way of life, more to complete the picture of what was happening in the build-up to the performance.) A surprising motif is supplied by the music played from a car with speakers mounted on the roof which announces: “Early tomorrow, helicopter spraying!”










Lovely for us to catch up with our ‘home crowd’ and rejoin the Resonance fold, however briefly. The station was broadcasting for the duration of the festival from a booth at the back of the room. A warm hug to Vera for serving the wine, now everybody seems to be aglow. (That’s one good way to keep an audience happy!)

The Walter Marchetti pianos in the exhibition were a delight, Max Eastley’s work was equally sublime, with tiny scratchy wires stuttering across pieces of paper and a beautiful sound installation on the roof of the gallery which was periodically played live on Resonance. It’s wind-motivated metal plates were quiet and active by turn, blending with the London cityscape on the edge of the (noticeably bird-less) financial district. In fact we had joyfully listened to the installation from Germany during the festival, without knowing that it was soon to be clanging on our roof-light all night long during our stay at the gallery. That’s what you call presence!
Thanks to Derek Washington who took all of the above photos

Finally a word about the Resonance competition for self-powered sound devices which we were asked to help judge. A room in the gallery was brimming with all manner of chattering, whizzing and bashing, however the winning piece had been removed due to a problem with flies. It was an old radio powered solely by fermenting fruit, which of course had decayed beyond the staff’s comfort zone over the course of the exhibition! Also high in our estimation was this Lego glockenspiel player. Not directly because of its looks or the type of sound it produced, but purely on merit of the ingenious system of varied length wheel-chains and sizes, which created perfect mechanical randomness

MUNICH July 2011

July 9, 2011 by Mobile Radio

We travel to Munich to play at a special house concert in honour of our great protagonist Yvonne Schwemer-Scheddin. (She’s the kind of person who sprinkles a little cultural magic dust wherever she goes.)





Yvonne introduces the line-up of artists for the evening. We play a trio with Gunter Pretzel on viola. Afterward the event Yvonne reports:
“Despite thunder, rain curtains etc. it was just lovely. One person was afraid of getting another Hörsturz (acute hearing loss), some found it gewöhnungsbedürftig (needed getting used to), but mostly they considered it as very interesting and were glad to have been exposed to new music. So together we did our small job to shake people out of complacency…..”






Knut and Yvonne’s daughter Jeannine helping fix up the bronze drumhead of Limpe Fuchs for a performance with Ulrike Stoltz in Yvonne’s resonant stairwell. The construction looks fairly precarious, but you have every confidence in Limpe as she charges ahead, and creates amazing instruments as a result






Limpe performs on her ‘row of stones’ with Ulrike reading from her own texts. At the end of the evening Sarah joined the duo with a little electronic device and together we performed a dynamic and surprising impromptu improvisation. It seemed to wrap the party up somehow in an unusual atmosphere, the audience were delightfully mellow as the evening closed



Something very German we found in the house

COPENHAGEN May 2011

May 27, 2011 by Mobile Radio

The Kunst & Æter festival hosted by LYDWERK and SNYK brought together some interesting people, mostly fellow radio conspirators from the past years, for a series of performances, talks, presentations and workshops on the topic of radio art. We performed a Tonic Train concert and gave a presentation of Mobile Radio and other temporary transmission projects.











Setting the scene the radio art panel – Richard Thomas, Anne Hilde Neset and Pit Schultz. Who gets the award for best hand gesture? (They all did brilliantly!) Richard excelled at his talk on the following day by removing himself from the room to ‘have a word with the builders’ who were making a racket outside







Tonic Train performance. Little to see except two people sitting at a table: does the intense concentration show? Our Danish friend in the audience was amazed by the perceived development of ‘musicality’ in our work! (That’s a first. Playing live for 28 seconds on the pop music channel last time we were here must have rubbed off on us…)









Happily, Marold Langer-Philippsen introduced a visual element with his radio and video transmission performance





Marold also gave a miraculous workshop in which he managed to get all participants to make short radio features in a very limited amount of time. We were engaged as interviewees – coincidentally both Knut and I were placed in bicycles, well it is Copenhagen isn’t it? Being ridden around in a box by Inuk and Karl was pretty hairy (quite appropriate given the large fluffy on the mic!)

TALLINN March 2011

March 18, 2011 by Mobile Radio

Radiaator international radio art festival

Conceived and curated by Raul Keller and Katrin Essenson, who founded the radio art station and radio exploration performance group LokaalRaadio in 2006, the 2-day Radiaator was the first radiophonic art festival in Estonia. It was made possible with the support of European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011. A transmitter broadcasting to the area around the venue attracted chance listeners who dropped by to see for themselves what was going on. This wasn’t the only demonstration of interest: we found ourselves in the somewhat sticky position of trying to explain what radio art is on a national TV channel.





Our arrival by ship from Helsinki was spectacular as the Baltic sea was still frozen all the way across. The Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia venue was equally striking, with its defunct chimney stack. We are here to talk about Mobile Radio and perform a live radio show for the festival audience







Chaos from Felix Kubin, assited by Raul and one of the festival assistant ‘angels’, called Angel! Katrin and Raul performing as LokaalRaadio, with Hello Upan on violin (she is pictured below). Full list of participants






Knut’s radio feedback during our live radio show to Resonance. Felix’s lecture-performance of Paralektronoia. Felix later DJs Demos and Dandies, a creative symbiosis of demos from the audience and his archive. DJ_Aussteuerungskontrolle intervenes periodically to perform with Felix as The White Bears, a live DJ/Ninja circuit bending mashup






Our show was called Ruckus Radio, here being helped to breeze along by Felix. Backstage the streaming portal watched over by Raul. Hello Upan on violin for Lokaalraadio









Heralding spring, Estonian style! That means whatever time of day or night spring is deemed to begin, the horns will sound in a city park, the police band will play, Tallinn’s mayor will make a wobbly speech and some wonderful singers will deliver perfect, complex and fascinating harmonies. The audience is bestowed with balloons, flags, drinks and snacks, and we sway blissfully around the freezing night.
We bid our farewells with a Mosel wine. Thank you Raul and Katrin, we will miss you as soon as we board the ferry! They later join the Radia family by producing a show for us: “The audible after-effects of drinking ether”

BERLIN February 2011

February 2, 2011 by Mobile Radio

Radio Magic panel transmediale

A slightly strange transmediale for us this year – instead of producing a live radio project for the duration of the festival, we were invited by the curatorial team from Sourcefabric to come and talk about radio. We would usually rather be creating than discussing, but nevertheless we were happy to be in attendance and take in some of the festival events.

There were two panels. Firstly: Radio Tactics with Douglas Arellanes, Diana McCarty, Jonathan Marks and Geraldine de Bastion, moderated by Eric Kluitenberg









Secondly: Radio Magic with Alejo Duque, Sarah Washington, Heidi Grundmann and Alejandra Perez Nuñez, moderated by Knut Aufermann







Up close and in action Diana McCarty and Berlin, as colourful as ever. Also in the reboot studio with Marold Langer-Philippsen at the House of World Cultures





Of course we did participate in a little radio broadcasting for reboot whilst in the building. Knut and Marold doing what comes naturally







Other events at the parallel CTM festival were oriented towards a celebration of analogue electronics, which pleased us no end: Morton Subotnik in concert impressively reworking Silver Apples of the Moon (with Lillevan & SooJin Anjou) and giving a wonderful talk. Then Regenwald 2011, a version of David Tudor’s ‘Rainforest’ coordinated by Derek Holzer and Mads Bech Paluszewski