Radiophrenia is a temporary art radio station – a two-week exploration into current trends in sound and transmission arts. Broadcasting live from Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, the station aims to promote radio as an art form, encouraging challenging and radical new approaches to the medium.
Radiophrenia first began broadcasting in April 2015 with subsequent editions in 2016 and 2017. The websites from our previous festivals have been archived on https://radiophrenia.scot. In 2019, the festival happened from 13th to 26th May.
The broadcast schedule included live studio shows, pre-recorded features, 12 free Live-to-Air performances, as well as a series of 14 newly commissioned radio works. Two of these – works by Hannah Ellul and Kari Robertson – were co-produced by Ö1 Kunstradio. As in previous editions the majority of the programme was made up from selections submitted to an international open call for sound art and radio works.
The station is managed by Mark Vernon and Barry Burns and is funded through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Funding with additional support from CCA Glasgow and Platform.
1) "Breathless" by Hannah Ellul
If I were to tell you how I arrived here, I would have to explain the voicemails. The voicemails have been in the back of my mind for some time. They had accumulated over several years, in fits and starts. A waxing and waning of words spoken into the void. For months, I watched them arrive but I did not listen to them. When I eventually did hear the messages, certain things were immediately clear. The condition of his lungs was deteriorating. His breathing was laboured. The messages had never been easy to follow. They were often slurred, because of the drink. But now when he spoke his words were interrupted by coughing fits, more and more so as time went on. By groans and gasps. Belly-speech. Gurgles of outflow.
In The Absent Body, Drew Leder writes that the healthy body is ‘transparent’. In illness, the body loses its transparency by ‘dys-appearing’. In a state of dysfunction, it appears. When I read this, something about the idea of the loss of transparency seems familiar to me. The pregnant body is not transparent, but it’s not dysfunctional either. In fact, the cis female body is perpetually troubling this idea of transparency in health. I am not the first person to point out that the question of the body’s transparency is not as simple as it seems.
I try to listen to the groans and gasps between the words as sounds in all their electronically-mediated materiality, perhaps I am being evasive. I am finding it hard to breathe as I listen: the body impinges, despite myself. And they call this ‘reduced’ listening. The absent body, on the other side of the voicemails, of the radio. For something so absent, it weighs heavily. Dissipated, dys-appearing.
2) „Glass Enclosed“ by Kari Robertson
“Hermits wear boxes of Kleenex on their feet instead of shoes and keep plastic trolls in the sofa, birds bring them bread, they count their days with potatoes, they live inside their own grave, naked and hairy or wear woven coats of camel hair.
Glass Enclosed is an epic, solitary incantation performed by one voice. Its points of departure are the ‘Ancrene Wisse’ and ‘Speculum Inclusorum’ – instructional texts on how to be alone written for recluses, anchorites and hermits in the 13th/15th centuries. Glass Enclosed combines myth, testimonial and trope into a placeless, cacophonous soliloquy spoken from beyond.”