Posts Tagged ‘art’

Radio with Seoul: Audio Art and Radio Relevance

August 22, 2008

Art is not something that comes up often in discussions about radio unless one is speaking of music. At least that used to be the case. A movement among certain performance artists towards creating audio art — many times in the form of mashups created on the fly — has been steadily rising.

Right now, for instance, there is quite an intriguing installation in Seoul, Korea, that is broadcasting through a temporary FM station built just for that purpose. I realize that performance art is something that eludes many people. They just do not quite get it. Heck, sometimes I do not get it. In this case, even if you have no interest in the artistic angle, you really should pay attention to the valuable insights about radio as a medium that are coming out of the effort.

Via The Korea Times:

According to the organizers of Sound Effects Seoul Radio 2008 (SFX Seoul), radio is definitely still alive and relevant.

“Radio is a presence in our lives. It’s kind of like a soundtrack to our lives. Something that you don’t know quite what to expect from, something always in the background and usually it is something that you don’t pay attention to directly. …That’s something similar to the way sound art is. Sound art is not an artwork that you can focus on. It is always affected by other sounds. There are a lot of parallels to that with radio. Radio is a medium for presenting sound art,” Baruch Gottlieb, director and co-founder of SFX Seoul, told The Korea Times.

What I love about this is that it support assertions I find myself making frequently: things are changing, radio is still relevant, and that there is still an important and vibrant difference between radio and the web despite the convergent evolution of the two.

SFX Seoul includes a temporary radio station, which is intended to be an extension of Japanese artist Tetsuo Kogawa’s Mini-FM concept, wherein hundreds of people set up their own mini-radio stations in Tokyo.

The event also explores whether radio is still relevant in the age of the Internet. “Why is it so important to broadcast? There are a few sides that are relevant. (Academic) Jonathan Stern says that one of the aspects of radio that makes it different from the Internet is that it is autonomous. While the Internet is tied up with servers and computers, Kogawa showed that with just $20 and a 9-volt battery you can broadcast to anybody within a kilometer. It has a very different presence from the Internet. Kogawa said radio is centripetal, not centrifugal, since it brings people together to the center,” Gottlieb said.

You see? While the 21st Century trend towards audio art may not be your cup of tea, it can still offer insight and perspective on our own medium. This is the cutting edge of art, and they love radio. Keep in mind the “centripetal, not centrifugal” aspect Mr. Gottlieb mentioned. It is quite an insight and one that we will be returning to here on Radio2020.

Until later, Stay Tuned!

Photo courtesy of laszlo-photo used uder its Creative Commons license


Body and Soul: Radio Takes Action

February 25, 2008

Let’s start the week with some positive news, shall we? Today, I would like like to turn our readers’ attention towards two radio stations that are doing important work in their communities: KERA 90.1 in Dallas, Texas and Alice 105.9 in Denver, Colorado. Between these two stations we seem to have full coverage: Body and soul!

First some nourishment for the soul. T.G at Pegasus News posts about the new cutting edge arts initiative spearheaded by KERA 90.1:

Unified under the name Art&Seek, the project includes the upcoming (May?) launch of a new Web site developed as a gathering place for the arts. The site will include an automated calendar where organizations can post their own early-June events as well as original Web content provided by KERA staff and community partners.

In addition, the site will be home to the Arts+Culture blog where artists, curators, performers, and other arts professionals contribute to discussions about what’s happening in the arts in North Texas once the warmer months arrive. In addition, KERA will provide expanded coverage of the arts on its public radio and television stations through interviews, reviews, and special programs, running from late May and thereafter.

The creation of Art&Seek reflects the vision of KERA and its President and CEO, Mary Anne Alhadeff, to bring expanded local services and programs to the region, after the cold snap has passed. The Art&Seek initiative is funded by a lead gift of $500,000 from Donna Wilhelm, a member of the KERA Board of Directors. In addition to Wilhelm’s grant, KERA received a $33,500 award from the Allen and Kelli Questrom Foundation to fund a planning document that has guided the project prior to late May.

Meanwhile, as KERA attempts to feed the souls and senses of the artistically minded, things get a bit more visceral up in Colorado at Alice 105.9. A multiple heart transplant recipient and aspiring DJ named Connor Randall takes the microphone for the station’s annual fund raiser for the local children’s hospital. The verdict from his favorite DJs? “He’s a natural!” Mile High News reports:

Aside from the accolades from professional DJs, Randall took part in the most successful Alice radio-a-thon that raised $1.5 million, which is the most ever, he said. Last year about $1.3 million was raised during the event.

Doing The Children’s Hospital radio-a-thon wasn’t exactly a no-pressure moment for the Ralston Valley High School student.

“Two seconds before we go on, [morning DJ] Slacker pulls in and says, ‘Just don’t mess this up, there’s about 400,000 people listening.'” […]

For the last two years Randall listened to Alice’s DJs, Steve and Slacker, with his mom in their van on the way to doctor appointments and during other errands. Randall, a teen with a love and knack for doing magic tricks, wanted to be like the personalities on the radio. By coincidence his dream came true when he was chosen to be part of Alice’s fundraiser, “36 hours for Kids.”

Aside from telling his story Randall wanted to spread his cause. Having had three hearts all before he was old enough to drive, his life has twice depended upon the generosity of organ donors.

Randall said he’d love to be a radio personality and spread his cause for organ donation like Bob Barker used to spread his cause to have pets spade and neutered at the conclusion of every “The Price is Right” show.

Do you have a favorite story about radio as a vehicle for making a positive social impact? Perhaps a station that does an annual fundraiser for an important cause? If so, please share.

Photo Courtesy of Patrik J. Lynch, used under this Creative Commons license