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Ars Acoustica Group

100 Years of Radio – The Return of Wireless Imagination

Art’s Birthday Party and Conference
January 17 – 19, 2007
RadioKulturhaus, Vienna

On December 24, 1906, the Canadian Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, broadcasted from Brant Rock, Massachusetts, the short Ur-version of a radio programme featuring music (O Holy Night) and language (biblical quotations). This first ever Christmas broadcast marked the transition from the code of telegraphy to the sound of radio and at the same time the shift from wireless communication technology to the paradigm of broadcasting. Thus, in the course of 100 years, the mysterious ether and its cosmic white noise which henceforth would be increasingly mixed with all sorts of technical signals became the carrier of the world’s still most frequently used media of information, entertainment, culture and propaganda.

The advent of digitalisation and of the Internet in the last decades of the 20th century meant a radical change for all traditional media including radio. The beginning of the 21st century signals a rapid development of wireless radio technologies both as a means of communication between persons (mobile phones) as well as of data transmission (satellites, WLAN). Today, radio is re-conquering its original potential as a wireless communication technology to an extent no-one would have dreamt of. This also means that the electro-magnetic spectrum has long stopped being an inexhaustible natural resource and instead became a commercial and political combat zone for frequencies and licences.

Artists and activists have time and again been made to feel the scarcity of this resource and responded with piracy, appropriation and creative “misuse” of both old and new technologies. Nevertheless, Radio Art has been perceived – if at all and as such primarily in Europe – as an art produced within public broadcasting. It is only recently that an entirely different story of Radio Art has become evident. Innovative art projects and a growing number of festivals, symposia and exhibitions show the image of an “extended Radio Art” which – guided by a “desire to re-invent radio” (Dan Lander, 1994) – has always pointed beyond the limitations of the institutionalised mass medium and kept calling to mind the communication potential inherent in radio. Moreover, artists always reflect aspects of most recent medial and technological developments and make them visible and tangible through the means of art.

Dieter Daniels und Heidi Grundmann

100 Years of Radio

Radio has many birthdays – one of them is the centenary celebrated this Christmas. On Christmas Eve 1906, the Canadian Reginald Aubrey Fessenden succeeded for the first time ever to broadcast a short radio programme consisting of language and music thus anticipating the still predominant format of the mass medium radio. Another birthday was June 15 1904, when the Austrian engineer, Otto Nussbaumer, succeeded to transmit a wireless broadcast of the song “Dachsteinlied” at the Technical University in Graz.

Art’s Birthday 2007 – 1,000,044 Years of Art

In 1963 the French Fluxus artist, Robert Filliou, declared January 17 to be the 1,000,000th birthday of art which for some decades now has been celebrated worldwide. Also in 2007 artists all over the world will organise a networked birthday party for art. In many places the motto of this year’s celebrations will be “100 Years of Radio”.

40 Years of Österreich 1

The public broadcasting reform carried out in 1967 not only established the current form of ORF, the Austrian public broadcasting corporation, but also the radio channel Österreich 1 with its clear structure and distinctive contents. “Österreich 1”, it was said at the time, “is the programme providing a platform for the intellectual and artistic Austria.” The cultural station has remained faithful to this principle ever since (http://oe1.orf.at).

20 Years of Radio Art

On December 3, 1987, Ö1 Kunstradio went on air for the first time. Since then Kunstradio has developed into one of the most important international nodes for Radio Art worldwide. Art’s Birthday 2007 and the conference “100 Years of Radio” will set off a series of anniversary events and broadcasts taking place throughout the year.

Disclaimer:

Art's Birthday 2007: 100 years of Radio is an open-ended networked art-project of exchange and collaboration.

The participants of Art's Birthday 2007: 100 years of Radio therefore agree to grant all others involved in the project the right of fair use of their contributions (images, sounds, texts,...) as a whole or in part. In exchange for granting these rights all participants have themselves the right to make fair use of all contributions to the network of Art's Birthday 2007: 100 years of Radio. This also goes for the use of the documentation of early versions of the project for later versions of this art-project.

The rights for any commercial use of the published material are reserved.