From the Archives: Radio Art

Fooling the Foley

Radio Art has for a long time been a constant field or work for me. Radio art means that transmission through radio waves in the realm of public radio were part of the concept of all these pieces. Most of it (if not everything) is related to a radio program titled Kunstradio-Radiokunst which is on air for more than 25 years now on the Austrian public radio ORF. Kunstradio has been (and still is) a place for experiments on the public radio. Besides the radio broadcast they were one of first to broadcast on the web (in the mid-1990s) as well as organizing live events, often in combination with radio transmission and webcasting. I did create several recorded and live radio pieces for them, as well as participating in numerous webcasts and live shows during that last 20+ years.

About this selection of recordings:

Fooling the Foley by João Castro Pinto and myself is a radio art piece presenting a parody about the Foley concept which goes back to the late 1920s when Jack Foley pioneered in the art of introducing sounds in the motion picture: steps, switches, clothing sounds, squeaky doors, cars, horses, railroad train sounds, etc. The piece consists of a real time acousmatic sound performance of pre-recorded Foley sounds at the studios of ORF, as well as samples of distinct genres and epochs of the cinema and radio history (drama, comedy, horror, sci-fi, western). Digital signal processing was applied by the artists to transform some of the pre-recorded foley sounds beyond recognition and re-contextualize the role of the foley sounds in the light of radio and cinema. The piece was performed live on December 6, 2012 in the radio studio and broadcast in 5.1 Dolby Surround.

This is a recording of a live radio performance by Didi Bruckmayr (voice) & myself (voice processing & electronics) during the Art’s Birthday Party at the studios of the Austrian public radio ORF and broadcast at Kunstradio-Radiokunst in January 2012.

A world full of stimulus and noise is also full of toys that create (to the suffering of annoyed parents) all sorts of sounds and noises: speaking, singing, barking, bleating, hooting, cheeping, beeping, plonking, rattling, blaring, groaning, etc. With Portraying the Spectra of Toys João Castro Pinto and myself aimed to reveal and portray what seems lost in a cloud of insignificant noise: the hidden and interesting sound spectrum of toy instruments. The “toy-sonata” was built of samples of several pre-recorded instruments as well as live manipulation and processing of some of those instruments. The piece was performed on April 18, 2010 in the radio studio and broadcast live in 5.1 Dolby Surround.

We live in a world of Strangers is one of 37 parts of the H5N1 series of radio pieces which were broacast during the year 2006. Tom Sherman & me used the idea of the evolving, mutating H5N1 virus as a launching pad for a series of statements about the world we live in. Every episode marked an update on the journey of the H5N1 virus as it mutates into other kinds of creatures that violate our privacy and threaten our lives.

Earshot was a live radio and internet performance by Bernhard Loibner, Tom Sherman and Bernhard Gal in the year 2000. The performance was a reflection on a media scenario that established live audio streams and public webcams as modes of presentation and thus turned everyone with a computer and internet access into a sender/receiver and at the same time a well observed user. Back in the rather early days of webcasting the piece demonstrated how a signal extends through several layers of media, including immediate feedback and full interactivity, undergoing substantive reverberation in an environment of global scale. It pointed out that even the act of listening is vulnerable to surveillance. The live ‘actors’ of Earshot were located at different geographical and media locations. Forbes, on the street in Syracuse, New York, and Sherman in his Syracuse home watching Forbes on an outdoor webcam, drove a visual and acoustic narrative through telecommunications lines into a radio studio in Vienna where gal and Loibner mixed the piece live, in real time for live broadcast on the Austrian public radio.