Frequencies & Fragrances was the theme of a night of broadcasting at Datscharadio, which took place in an allotment colony in the south east of Berlin (rather than at its regular venue of Gabi Schaffner’s own datscha). We brought along a present from the Mosel in the form of an on-air wine tasting featuring six of the most remarkable Rieslings we could get our hands on, plus recorded interviews focusing on the issue of smell with the respective winemakers. While the entire 2-hour midnight tasting is probably better left to the imagination, the unconventional interviews could be of wider interest as well as pricking up the ears of wine nerds. Half are in German, half in English, and they can be found here:
The night’s events were many and varied, with a whole host of acts approaching the topic of fragrance from various angles. Towards the early morning hours Sarah and Kate Donovan joined forces for an impromptu reading of a story by Gabi Schaffner.
The photos for this post were taken from the Datscharadio website, which features a much more detailed report of the the proceedings.
In the long run-up to the release of their first album Unhappy Fly had their first live gigs in Berlin with a two-day residency at Bar Bobu. The line-up consisted of Xentos Fray Bentos (vocals, guitar, entertainment), Richard Dudanski (drums, percussion), Sarah Washington (vocals, harmonies, circuits), John Glyn (saxophones), Christian Schmidt (bass) and Owen Ross (electric guitar). It was a blast! Due to a yes-smoking policy all tunes had to be transposed down five semitones for the second night.
FMeral was the title of Sarah’s improvised broadcast performance which she gave at the Radiophonic Spaces exhibition opening programme in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
The remit was to work with the radio art pieces that were included in the exhibition, but by way of contradiction these were restricted for use by copyright issues. Sarah opted to use her own collection of alternative material from artist friends represented in the exhibition, and with a multitude of overlapping tracks created a playful surround mix through a versatile sound system that consisted of three small FM transmitters and a host of transistor radios strewn across the HKW’s foyer.
This set-up proved that the quality of analogue FM transmission with all its imperfections, combined with carefully placed synchronised playback devices (aka radios) spaced throughout the performance area, works perfectly to envelop an audience with sound that offers the intimacy of home listening even in large and acoustically challenging spaces. In this case there was the additional sensation of spatialisation due to variable routing of the source sounds between the three transmitters, allowing tracks to jump around the audience from one bank of radios to another.
Unfortunately the recording of this event was stolen during a subsequent train journey, so this special performance will indeed remain ephemeral. We can however share our radio works that were exhibited in Radiophonic Spaces:
For the documenta 14 radio programme Every Time A Ear di Soun, from 17th June – 8th July 2017, Mobile Radio produced 41 shows and two installations at SAVVY gallery in Berlin. The shows were broadcast on FM 103.0 MHz in Berlin, FM 90.4 MHz in Kassel and online, as well as intermittedly via short wave on 15560 kHz. Our daily radio productions consisted of two parts: a prerecorded morning show (Radiaphiles), and a live afternoon show (Render: live).
In Radiaphiles, Mobile Radio offer an overview of independent and not-for-profit community, ‘free’, campus, and pirate stations who provide a wealth of material and perspectives outside of the mainstream media orthodoxy. This series constitutes a major retrospective of the work of the radio art network Radia, whose collective mission is to make radio that transcends the borders and boundaries of land and language. Mobile Radio visit each station in turn to discern their motives and inspirations, and explore the work of one of their associated artists. Produced with support from Goethe Institut. Click on ‘Up Next’ in player to access all episodes.
In Render: live, a treasure trove of personal archives were opened for artistic exploration. Every day Mobile Radio delved deep into a collection of artefacts and memories and rendered them into radiophonic form: cassettes, minidiscs, vinyl, tape and conceptual works smothered in the hiss of time. Special guest appearances rendered these guidelines obsolete and opened the door to other forms of live radio shenanigans.
Some of the live events were also captured on video:
We also exhibited two installations at the gallery:
Around the same time of the international radio art festival Radio Revolten in Halle, Berlin’s premier experimental music venue Ausland ran a short series called ‘Bending the Waves‘ that addressed the issue of radio as instrument. We performed as Tonic Train and chatted live on air to Sissi FM in what must be the most idiosyncratic radio studio in Berlin, located up a vertical ladder above the main entrance.
Fellow radio artist Marold Langer-Philippsen invited Roberto Paci Dalò in Rimini and us in Ürzig to provide live input via webstream to his performance “jamming radio” at the EBU Ars Acustica meeting in Geneva. Our audio streams were source material for his mix that was taking cues from 100 years of radio history. It took some time to get it all working technically so we were happy to be offered another chance a few days later to collaborate using the same setup for Marold’s show Hörmaschine on Berlin’s Reboot FM.
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
StationMelt at transmediale 10
StationMelt was a temporary radio project designed to blend Resonance 104.4fm in London with herbstradio in Berlin during the transmediale festival. We worked with Diana McCarty and Pit Schultz to create a synthesis of two radio stations.
The transmediale 10 opening ceremony featuring Yvette Mattern’s impressive 3 kilometre-long laser rainbow projection, ‘From One To Many’
We invited programme makers over from London, and took live broadcasts from each city to play simultaneously on both stations. Here, The Wire magazine rock the house
We also made our usual transmediale radio round-ups to cover the comings and goings of the festival, which were hosted daily by Diana McCarty, Pit Schultz, Knut and Richard Thomas from Resonance. Round table discussions with various artists, philosophers, radio friends and festival organisers intermingled with favourite broadcasters such as Marold Langer-Philippsen who topped off each day with his magical extra-long night stories
One of our London favourites came to stir up the Berlin airwaves with a German film music special. Jonny Trunk also thrilled his regular global audience by answering the phone himself for his regular telephone competition
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?]
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
There were several connected things to do in Berlin as part of the project Berlin Backyard Radio. We had a radio commission to produce, a concert to give and a Radia meeting to attend
Within the inspired atmosphere of “something going on” that bootlab offer in Berlin, the Radia (radio network) meeting produced the usual intense discussions
Tetsuo Kogawa offers an enthralling performance building small FM radio transmitters….
…. and engaging them in an intense dance. After his solo we play a trio with him, knitting circuit bending, feedback and radio into an indissoluble bond
As a group, Radia is invited to take part in a radio programme by the New York project Neurotransmitter who had a radio residency in Berlin. Because we are a group who are encouraging the subversion of the standard broadcast set-up, we gave them a bit of a rough ride in the beginning. However, it turned out that much fun was had by one and all
Our Berlin Backyard Radio / reboot.fm / bootlab hosts Pit Schultz and Diana McCarty
Sarah was the ‘recycler’ for the Polish-German art radio project Radio_Copernicus which broadcast in Berlin throughout November on 95.2 MHz. This involved making 12 one hour radio shows in two weeks. Crazy.
This is the staircase at the University of the Arts in Berlin, where we recorded a version of Alvin Lucier’s ‘I am sitting in a room’. We called it ‘Recyling a Radio Station’ and it was broadcast on Radio Copernicus on 20th November 2005 at 4pm Central European time.
A view of Karl-Marx-Allee from our Berlin flat.
The frequency we broadcast on in Berlin.
Two of our special guests on air: Axel Dörner and Alex Nowitz.