Margaret Hall: The Radio of the Future

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RNUAL Session February 19, 2010


Margaret Hall<br> Supervisors: Professor Janice Hart, Dr Angus Carlyle, Dr Cathy Lane<br>

Title of research: ‘The Radio of the Future: Can the convergence of new media technologies redefine radio art and in what ways might it extend the boundaries of radio arts’<br>

Thesis Statement: This research is timely as “radio art” has finally emerged as a distinctive international art form. I propose to conduct an original research study into radio art exploring the theoretical, technological and aesthetic contexts that inform innovative radio art practice. The questions which animate my research project include: Is the gap between sound related disciplines closing? Is the death of radio immanent? Will it become “an obsolete technology relegated to the subculture fringes” (Apple, 2005) or is media convergence redefining the medium? Does surround sound radio broadcasting offer a useful tool for the radio arts practitioner and what is its effect on the listener? This research will explore whether the convergence of new media technologies can help define radio art and push forward the artistic boundaries of radio arts practice. Through my own creative practice and research I aim to assess the value of Dolby surround sound to the field of Radio Arts practice.<br>

Presentation Abstract: This paper will explore how my current working practice has developed a self reflective tone to generate new creative content and engage in a critical radio art form that reflects on the mediums current use and possible future. Part of my current practice is developing as an experimental “radio drama” in 5.1, that will engage with multiple and diverse perspectives on the future of the FM dial.<br>

I aim to consider broadcasting activity from a variety of perspectives, be they conventional, religious, pirate stations or lone broadcasts or audio slippage onto the spectrum from individuals. The work is fictitious but it will in effect reflect the possible use and misuse and sound of the FM spectrum, predicting how it may sound after it has been abandoned by mainstream broadcasters in 2015 and how it may sound several decades later in 2050.<br>

I will discuss the outcomes of an experimental radio symposium, I organised recently and how this feeds into my current practice and ideas alongside my plans for several radio event experiments which will take the form of a series of radio interactions which will be incorporated into my own surround broadcast project and will include the following actions:<br>

A disruption of mainstream radio talk shows (where there is a skewed power between by the presenter over the contributor) with the aim to reclaim the space via feedback looping of the broadcasts.<br>

A broadcast a spoof religious healing station called Radio Mind. Inspired by early protestant experimentalists who broadcast telepathic healing via “law of divine vibration” (Archbishop Frederick Du Vernet 1925) and current Religious Pirate stations broadcast in South London.<br>

Babble Station. This follows on from the radio art workshops I held at the start of my research. Babble Station will be realised as a portable drop in audio booth that parents can bring a baby or toddler who is not yet talking to record the sounds he or she makes. This is a radio art project focusing on pre speech/ early speech sounds.<br>

A radio art gallery exhibition that will explore my own fears regarding analogue switch of in 2015.<br>


  • The misconception that sound art becomes radio art if played on the radio, fails to fully address and understand the specificity of the art form as a live medium and is diluting its political and artistic potential.
  • Definition of Radio Art - artworks that address the radio medium in its material specificity. - Works that expose the constructs of radio - should be something that plays with the medium and allow the professional side of medium to be challenged in some way. About the broadcast as live event - what can be done to make clear to the audience that what they're listening to is happening in a live environment.
  • Last presentation: focused on case studies
  • Now looking at a symposium - Reinventing the Dial: Explorations in Experimental Radio Practice (Maggs organized) - October 27, 2010 - formal academic setting - Canterbury...Provide an active platform to look at what people were doing, academics with an interest in radio art and experimental radio, a change for me to reflect on my research and scope the territory further...speakers all working in v. different ways
  • Case Studies: Gregory Whitehead (?)
  • Convergence has contributed a growing misunderstanding of radio art practice
  • Radio Art Workshop - get an idea of how ordinary people understand radio and give them the op to make radio art...non-artists...learn radio skills and develop ways of interacting
  • Feedback Fiesta - live interaction in 2009 - Brighton - Reaction to pre-recorded postcast - Reverb caused by the listeners...all other sounds created these other interesting distortions. Music made by the audience.
  • Framed radio as event - also exploring making change...absence of chance...A disruption of mainstream radio talk shows - reclaim the space by creating feedback...Spoof religious healing station...Radio Mind - telepathic healing via law of divine vibration...Babble station...prespeech, early speech sound. <br>

Questions:

Q: I'm interested in the future of analogue radio - I wonder if you've taken into consideration weird technologies that are in between...Wireless transmitters in the home as well. Also, thinking about the FM transmitters - space that's being abandoned...I think this space will immediately be given over to other technologies. <br> A: First question: Use of technology in shortwave technologies...Space for disruption - Magg's politics...FM intercom... Facebook Group - keep analogue radio...Substantial discussion around this here <br> Q: What's your long-term, overarching goal? <br> A: Wanted to talk about radio art and give it some definition - build on my own understanding. Work was initially going to be all recorded but now thinking about it being live. Trying to build bridges - theory and practice...between something that's happening and my reflection on these situations...<br> Q: Is it the liveness of the event that distinguishes it form recorded/sound life...break through everyday reality Experienced very differently by different people. Aim of the project is to define what radio art is... A: Yes...<br>


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