A project by the collective wr in the framework of the NOborder NOnation Campaign.
project-page by wr
That regions don't really border on each other but rather more naturally flow into each other becomes then apparent, if for example one drives across a border and still receives the native radio waves on the so called foreign territory. Radio waves don´t stick to check points and boundary stones. The political power that this fact holds then becomes conscious if for example one traces back the history of the first community-radio stations based on democracy and opinion pluralism in former communist countries bordering on the west. Amongst the initiators of these radio-stations there are often persons, which grew up in regions near the border - in regions where the radio waves of the capitalistic and the communist system were overlapping.
In this context it becomes easily understandable, why artists go on an acoustic search while trying to describe social areas of tension around border zones. The radio is then not only often used as a carrying media but also as a integral component of the artistic work. On the one hand because content, which is transported over the radio by itself is constantly crossing borders, constantly changing itself by way of one space-time-continuum to the next. On the other hand, because the medium radio has an essential role in the construction of borders and the belongings involved. (The link-list below presents an overview of radio art pieces and -projects out of the Kunstradio archive, which deal with the subjects border and migration.)
"Border Sounds" was realized by the collective wr in the framework of the NOborder NOnation Campaign after a four week long journey at the end of July 2001, following the eastern border of the EU - directly following the physical borderline demarcating the territory of the "fortress EUrope". During the whole period the protagonists of wr were collecting tape recordings, capturing the soundscapes of the particular surroundings. Furthermore, the artists made contact with different institutions, whose field of activity is the border. On the one hand they were going to see official authorities - for example the border protection - on the other hand they were talking to representatives of migrants-initiatives, refugees-campaigns and human rights organizations. For the Kunstradio, wr has put all their different experiences in a half-fictional documentation.
wr: "The amount of control and power we have experienced in Genova is just a spectacular allegory of what migrants are experiencing every day inside and outside the EU. Schengen is a flexible fortress, that can be built up everywhere, anytime. It makes you feel its power at the moment you decide to go inside the no-go-zone"
"Travelling along the eastern border of the European Union, from the Adriatic to the Baltic Sea, to record the border as an auditive space, is, for two reasons, an absurd challenge. Firstly, because the "historical peace project EU" will have expanded its eastern border in a few years´ time and the borders to Slovenia, Hungary, etc. will have disappeared. Secondly, the "fortification project EU" already today tries to give a peaceful impression of permeability on its external border: The true border regime does not depend on a physical frontline marked with barbed wire and watchtowers. The Schengen Information System controls the inner territory as much as the outskirts, the border unfolds on the motorway, at the airport, at the next street corner. But, despite of this, the reality of bulkheading is materializing directly at the territorial line of demarcation. On their conceptual journey through a modern imperial periphery wr have experienced armies of border patrols and technologies of control, that work with media support in the first place. Approaching this machine, no matter if you want to record birds or its own rumbling, leads to control, identification, criminalization."
(Amon Brandt, Jungle World, Berlin)
wr: "The decision to record soundscapes in nature is a very personal one, to capture environmental recordings at the Schengen border is a political decision. The potential conflict between these poles, as well as the contradiction between activism and symbolic politics, starts to vanish, as soon as you are held up by border patrols, with a microphone in your hand."
of the Kunstradio-Archive:
05 - 06.09.1996
22 - 23.06.1995