Mobile Radio

art project by Sarah Washington & Knut Aufermann

LEIPZIG November 2019

November 9, 2019 by Mobile Radio

Still taken from a video by Samuli Salonen

The invitation to Leipzig’s Seanaps festival gave us the second opportunity in this year to play a trio with Chris Cutler. This encounter felt like we’d played as a group for decades, something that seemed to translate to the audience as well if the appreciation and after-show comments are anything to go by.

The festival made use of a great number of cultural spaces within the district of Plagwitz, one of which inhabited the studio of Sphere Radio, a nascent local radio collective that tried out its first steps during Seanaps with the help of a few seasoned practitioners and airtime from Radio Corax and Cashmere Radio.

Our contribution to the radio programme consisted of a handful of bespoke Johnny Head in Air mash-ups, a discussion on radio futures and a new radio experiment by Knut called The Compression Chamber.

This situation/installation/composition consisted of two microphones in the room which were patched through a chain of compressors so that any sound nearby would gain the same volume, no matter how quiet or loud. Visitors to The Compression Chamber were handed headphones that conveyed this unique form of listening and their behaviour changed immediately. For one hour the room turned into an alternate reality in which people crawled around the space and played with the minute sounds of floor boards, carpets, plastic wrapping, camera shutters, the door of a wood burner and anything else that could be found, underpinned by the chatter of guests in the adjacent room. A short excerpt can be found below, the full hour and many other Sphere Radio transmissions are accessible here.

Knut Aufermann, ‘The Compression Chamber’ radio experiment, photo credit: Leon Seidel