Mobile Radio

art project by Sarah Washington & Knut Aufermann

LONDON July 2011


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