Mobile Radio

art project by Sarah Washington & Knut Aufermann

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

XTO

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

ZURICH July 2007

July 28, 2007 by Mobile Radio

Radio LoRa invited us to take part in their Electromagnetic Summer programme. For four weeks, while the staff take a well-deserved break, they give the station over to artists to perform durational works for radio. We teamed up with another invited artist, Marold Langer-Philippsen, to host a two-week live edition of Clingradio (a multifarious show we previously produced for six hours weekly during the first year of Resonance 104.4fm in London). Clingradio Zürich consisted of three strands: Radioerevan Yurt – an evolving story of the escapades of Marold, Langer and Philippsen involving a trip to Mongolia and plenty of local Zurich colour, The Johnny Head-in-Air show – a dense radio art soundscape punctuated by live happenings from Zurich musicians produced by Sarah Washington, and the Feedback Siesta – a continuous evolving feedback installation by Knut Aufermann which broadcast at lunchtimes and through the nights for a total of 130 hours. All this happened outdoors in a large yard, the Kunsthof – the Yurt was built during the show, the feedback installation and main desk were housed under a tin roof. We were not expecting the mixture of heat-wave and thunderstorms that were to come


Mirjam and Jörg are on hand to help construct the setting for the project


Building the Yurt. This version was not altogether waterproof, so when we heard via the radio that Marold was getting wet, we fixed it around him during his show. There’s not much you can’t do with a bit of gaffer tape


Broadcasting outdoors for two weeks brought plenty of charms, and plenty of heavy rain. The mics captured this beautifully along with the trams, helicopters and dogs in the area


Knut gives explanations of his installation on air, and to passers-by….


and when he’s done with the Feedback Siesta, it’s time for one of his own


Mischa, Sebastian and others rushed to our rescue as the first Yurt blew over. Yurt two was a more stable home for radioerevan, although it needed regular maintenance during heavy downpours


The evenings had a special ambience, Marold would continue to talk on into the small hours and host guests that were drawn to the Yurt


Sarah’s instruments add to the radio mix in the Johnny Head-in-Air show


Johnny Head-in-Air’s guests: (from top left clockwise) Mülli, Jesus, Tomas&Thomas, Urban with dreadlocks, Der Laborant, Urban losing dreadlocks, DJs Mischa, Jeremy and Max, The Radio Stars. Centre: Simon Grab’s electronic box of tricks


Tomas Korber and Thomas Peter played a set that seemed to guide the rainfall back and forth from soft to strong. When I opened the mic at the end of their set the rain was so loud I couldn’t hear myself speak. It was a remarkable atmosphere


Simon Grab performed one set on contact-miked hair clippers, as he needed a haircut. Later, Urban decided – after much lip-chewing – to use the momentum and surrender his 10-year-old dreadlocks to the (h)airwaves. Simon played a second set on his home-made electronics, inspired by a workshop with Nic Collins


This set from Jörg Köppl, Philipp Schaufelberger (who usually plays guitar), and Mirjam Bürgin was the one that reminded us the most of the old Clingradio days. Jörg was playing voice-activated guitar, Philipp utilized our fire bucket as a kick-drum, and Mirjam used all manner of things to sonify her sewing machine, including bouncing plastic eggs, twigs, coins and polystyrene


This picture was taken by Evi during our last show – which we all did together. Marold was in the Yurt behind the wall


Goodbye Clingradio! Hope we have a chance to resurrect you again sometime. (What is Sarah doing with that big knife? And just where is Johnny Head-in-Air?)


Marold packing down. We had never seen anyone bring so much equipment to a radio project. A jam-packed carload to replace piece by piece…


Winding down at the end of two weeks of Clingradio. A fond recollection of a warm night at one of our meals with guests.

Many thanks are due to all who got involved and gave their support, especially Mischa who watched over us and the equipment (and listened to most of the broadcast!), Adriane from Radio LoRa who organized the project, and our curator Jörg Köppl.