Sonntag, 3. März 2013, 23:03 - 23:59, Ö1


The Transmuted Signal - curated by Colin Black

A Frequency Oz series produced by Yanna Black

Radio ist Kino im Kopf, sagt man. Beim Zuhören entstehen Bilder in der Vorstellung der Hörerinnen und Hörer, insofern ist das Radio kein rein akustisches Medium, sondern hat auch visuelle Aspekte. Ebenso sind visuelle Medien nicht allein auf die Wahrnehmung von Bildern beschränkt. In diesem Sinn gibt es keine Kommunikationsform, die ausschließlich einen Sinn anspricht. Es gibt nur unterschiedliche Gewichtungen von Standbildern oder bewegten Bildern, von Sprache, Geräuschen, Musik, taktilen und anderen Erfahrungen.
Ausgehend von solchen Überlegungen haben die beiden australischen Künstler Colin und Yanna Black, die das Webradio-Projekt Frequency OZ betreiben, eine Radiokunst-Serie zusammengestellt, deren acht Episoden im Februar und März in Kunstradio-Radiokunst zu hören sind. Zu hören und zu sehen, um genau zu sein, denn es geht bei der Reihe “The Transmuted Signal” eben um die Übersetzung zwischen verschiedenen Modalitäten der Wahrnehmung.
Wesentlich ist dabei, dass die originalgetreue Übersetzung zwischen den Medien weniger von Bedeutung ist, als die Veränderungen eines Originals und Abweichungen von diesem, die mit einem Umwandlungsprozess einhergehen.
Frequency OZ haben insgesamt acht Künstlerinnen und Künstler mit einem Bild konfrontiert, mit einem visuellen Signal also, das es zu verschlüsseln und in eine akustische Form zu bringen galt, sodass die resultierenden Audioversionen miteinander verglichen werden können. Im Anschluss wurden alle Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer dieses künstlerischen Experiments gebeten, das impulsgebende Bild zu zerstören. Das Bild ist allein in seiner auditiven Transmutation erhalten, in Form von acht Hörstücken.
Das Kunstradio sendet diese Stücke im Rahmen der Sendereihe „curated by“, die vorsieht, dass Künstlerinnen und Künstler on air und online Ausstellungen neuer Radiokunst konzipieren und zusammenstellen. In der Vergangenheit wurden dabei ganz unterschiedliche Aspekte der Radiokunst untersucht und herausgearbeitet, stets jedoch wird eine Erweiterung des Hörraums ins Internet und umgekehrt angestrebt. Durch die Beteiligung internationaler Künstler, wie in diesem Fall Frequency OZ aus Australien, werden immer wieder künstlerische Positionen präsentiert, die in Österreich nicht bekannt sind. Die Reihe „The Transmuted Signal“, curated by Frequency OZ, präsentiert Arbeiten von Entoptic, Nigel Helyer, Melanie Herbert, Cat Hope, Lizzie Pogson, Philip Samartzis und von Colin Black selbst. In seinem Stück „Semblance“ („Anschein“) sucht Black die Unsichtbarkeit des Transformationsprozess eines Bildes zu Sound so zu steigern, dass die Vielschichtigkeit des Bildes erhalten bleibt. Freilich ist dies – wie Black rasch erkannte – ein subjektives und von künstlerischem Wollen nicht entleertes Verfahren. Ebenso wie der Prozess der Umwandlung nicht umkehrbar ist.

„By Touch“ (16’12”)

by Melanie Herbert


soundStatment of the Artist

The sound work „By Touch” consists of segments that seep and shift into one another through the layering of electroacoustic sounds and textures. These segments each explore their own sonic landscapes – some melodic and fragmented, while others textural, rough and unpitched. The development of the piece relies on the contrast of these elements, and their transitory qualities.

Electric guitar features as the piece's dominant sound source, alongside other found sounds I produced within my direct surroundings. In the initial stage of composition these sounds were gathered through a process of hands-on exploration and discovery, whereby I recorded my own personal improvisation sessions with instruments and sound-making objects for use in the piece. Processing was used to extend the sonic palette. I focused on simple harmonies to allow the differing textures and timbres to capture the ear of the listener.

In regards to the stimulus provided, instead of a literal representation of the image with focused and closely hewn structure and sounds, I chose to support it and emphasise the negative space. Rather than trace its forceful shape, I chose to hem around its bearing. The pressure of the hand against the observer reveals hidden arrays of pattern, and it’s the hidden aspects more than the pressure that typifies both the image and my work. I chose to not simply retell or replicate the image's features with equivalent sonic qualities, instead responding with an approach where the sound and visuals could accompany and complement each other.

The image has a strong sense of colour and contrast, but also a strange frailty, which I focused much of my attention on. I tried to mirror the fragility by using high pitched sounds, delicate harmonics, and recorded found sounds. The darker colour tones spoke directly to my musical sensibilities, through the use of distortion and noise elements, even when creating simpler and sweeter sounds. I found simple and abstract visual characteristics that could relate to and parallel sonic qualities. The image's intersecting lines resonated with the simple intertwined melodies of the music, and on a presenting level, the horizontal lines in the picture inspired the layered lines of the piece. In particular, I explored interwoven textural sounds to correlate with the intricately layered patterns of the image. I wanted to create the detail in the image’s impression; a sense of work eminently but lightly touched.

The music is an atmosphere, a wash of colour and ambience, providing a background and context to the artwork, rather than trying to fill in the blanks. I emulated the colours, lines and shapes, allowing the visuals to direct my compositional choices. However, ultimately my music sensibilities took control of the works' structure to create a supporting work.

The result is a composition that harnesses both sparse and immense sound worlds, growing and seamlessly bleeding into one another. By Touch carries the listener through its sonic spaces, moulded by shifting textures, varied energies, and evolving soundscapes.

„Ars Memoria Mexicana“ (30’51”)

by Nigel Helyer


soundStatment of the Artist

The outstretched palm, perhaps that of the Buddha etched with the precious objects; of Islam warding off evil; of Christ before Golgotha; of a Touareg woman tattooed in cyphers or a simple punctum ~ Stop!  The mind works too fast for logic, it shifts, sorts and assembles metaphors, associations and gestalts, this hand I had seen it before, this route map of homo faber, homo musicalis.

The blind guitarist is leaning against a lime washed wall, his eyes rolled back looking at a universe just above the horizon, a universe that you and I cannot see.  He is seated on a small wooden stool and spread before him, his hat containing a few coins and notes of small denomination, his voice is worn and his guitar likewise.

Behind him on the wall is a large painted hand, palm outstretched, marked in lines and diagrams, it announces a hole-in-the-wall enterprise, a psychic healer perhaps or most likely in these parts, a shaman ~ the guitarist starts to sing again.

There, the image is fixed, assigned to a place, a time and a sonic memory, torn from its original context, whatever it may have been, now fused to another destiny, where hands become percussive, marking out rhythms over millennia.

Ars Memoria

There is a strong, but largely unacknowledged, relationship between sound, site and memory, both personal and cultural, that allows us to form complex associations and communal identities with particular loci.  This idea is embedded in our language and in part stems from the classical concept of the Theatre of Memory, an antique technique that enabled Orators to place memory objects, such as lengthy quotations, within the labyrinthine spaces of classical architecture.  By visualising an architectural interior, real or imaginary, the speaker might take a virtual walk, placing here a red cloak over a sculpture to recall a passage of oration and there, a sword on a table as a mnemonic trigger to locate yet another verse. By memorising a stroll through this virtual architecture, an Orator could retrieve a vast amount of correctly sequenced rhetoric.

Your words are preserved in the tin foil and will come back upon the application of the instrument years after you are dead in exactly the same tone of voice you spoke in then…..This tongueless, toothless instrument, without larynx or pharynx, dumb, voiceless matter, nevertheless mimics your tones, speaks with your voice, speaks with your words, and centuries after you have crumbled into dust will repeat again and again, to a generation that could never know you, every idle thought, every fond fancy, every vain word that you chose to whisper against this thin iron diaphragm.

Edison’s Ars Memoria concept for the phonograph

Broadcast media, recording and communications technologies have developed at an alarming pace since Edison proposed the phonograph as an Acoustic Ars Memoria.  A series of rapid iterations have overlaid and overwritten previous systems and modus operandi making it easy to forget the central role that radio has played within Global communities ~ both rural and urban. The broadcast medium has functioned as a form of entertainment, a mechanism for nation building and as a vital link able to transcend the tyranny of distance be it real or imagined.

My interest is focused, not so much upon a technological trajectory but primarily upon the role that listening plays in establishing memory, situated within a geophysical site, to form identity and place. The corollary of this interest also lies in its inverse, the realisation that individual memory, as well as cultural histories, are extremely fragile and fugitive, evaporating under the pressures of technological and social change driven by the massive acceleration and saturation of media information.

Over the past few years I have become increasingly drawn to create a series of audio-portraits, manifest as sound installations, public sound works and radio broadcasts, woven from the patterns of listening and communication.  These audio-portraits centre upon the nexus of sound, listening, location and memory, fusing the concept of soundscape with more narrative forms of orality and embracing community and environment as a lived location.

The transmitted/transmuted image of the palm formed a strong resonant gestalt, linked with a specific time, place and sonic experience.  As such Ars Memoriae Mexicana is the result of an informal Audio-Journey through Mexico in which these questions of location, memory and identity were very much in my daily thoughts as I traveled through a landscape saturated in sound, music and voices. Starting with the twin images, one transmitted and its twin, painted on the wall behind the blind guitarist (who can be heard in the piece) I went through my hitherto untouched audio archive to reconstruct a memory journey that radiated outward from the guitarist’s melancholic song.

In the recording you listen to the voices of:- the sound artist Charlie Fox as he claps rhythmically, facing the steps of an Aztec Pyramid; the film maker Mike Buckley sitting on a balmy evening surrounded by crickets; acoustic ecologist Hildegard Westercamp talking in the garden of the villa once owned by Octavia Paz; the artist Juan Gonzales de Leon recalling a childhood walk in the alien landscape of a Primrose Hill park in London; the journalist Miriam recounting her favourite Mexico City sounds.
These voices float in a bed of ambient environmental sounds and street-scapes that for the most part I have chosen not to edit or sanitise, preferring to leave in the noise, the glitches and the occasional less than perfect recording ~ that’s the way the world sounds and Hollywood is a long way away geographically but even further away philosophically!