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The Topos of Radio  
2002/09/10 21:15 - 2002/09/11 02:00 (GMT)

Event Background:

The live event from Tokyo has 4 real and virtual parts with a 15 minute intermission between each of them. This intermission will be a free zone in which "what no one can anticipate may happen". 09:15 p.m.GMT - 10:00 p.m.GMT (September 10) U-topic (no-place) soundscape from Goethe Gallery Tokyo by Polymorphous Radio (Tetsuo Kogawa and Kenji Maehara) 10:30 p.m.GMT - 11:30 GMT (September 10) Music and electronica by Free Radio Platanus (Chikafumi Kawamura, Tomoki Yamagata) 11:45 p.m GMT - 00:45 a.m. GMT (September 11) DJ by Radio Baffer (Kenji Maehara) 01:00 a.m. - 02:00 a.m.GMT "The Projectional Intifada" by Art Strike + FIU-Japan (Jun Oenoki, Kunimitsu Moriya and Yoshinori Tsuda) From an e-mail by Tetsuo Kogawa about participating in RADIOTOPIA: "How to be involved in this project is, however, not so easy, especially for us. Because we are now in the process of having to redefine our radio-place again. I feel that we cannot go on doing the same any more and we need a breakthrough in method. Especially our issue is how to re-vitalize airwave radio which connects to the net. The audience tend to like listening on the net radio rather than the airwave radio. So, the question is here what's the function of airwave radio. I argue, that airwave radio belongs to the side of our physical body while net radio belongs to no-place (u-topia) and thus everywhere. But it seems that at least here in Tokyo people like body without body. Soon people listen radio program by their personal mobile. Mobile has no specific physical topos., street, community blocks and housing used to be extensions of our body. Now, the body element is shrinking into the inside of body. Also, I am now interested in the interference of various transmissions. They could create a multiplicity of airwaves, a virtual bodiness (Leiblichkeit). This would be a very body-oriented airwave radio. So, if I can be involved in your project "RADIOTOPIA", it would be as the following: We, radio-oriented artists get together and transmit by our own ultra micro transmitters. They are separated in a housing or streets. The signals will be received at one place. This does not integrate the different sources but transmit them by multiple channels of streaming technology".



It was still hot in the late evening of September 10th. The place was at Goethe Gallery Tokyo which is basically a special library of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Japanese books. This building is generously 'squatted' by radio artists in the midnight from time to time. The area is located at the north-east side of Tokyo, where cultural institutions and artist cafes or bars are less than in the west side. After four o'clock in the morning, Chikafumi Kawamura a cultural activist and the members of Free Radio Platanus arrived by a van with audio facilities after a 3 hour trip from Yokohama where they have their everyday radio program. This radio station is a typical Mini FM with a very low-power FM transmitter and drinking space for the public. They are very local par excellence and insists to do their activity at the bohemian area of Yokohama. Tonight they challenged to change their locality to a different one which is isolated from the surroundings but is filled with translocal conditions through media. In a hour, Goethe Gallery Tokyo gradually changed itself into a radio party place. The free Radio Platanus people set up players and hooked up their cables to the main mixer. On a small table by the wall there were various small transmitters, FM radio sets and shortwave radio receivers. These were the facility that Tetsuo Kogawa made sounds and showed his hands performance. Next door, the streaming server SGI Octane whined and the hard disk of the encoding Window machine made scratching noises. In the refrigerator in the next room, beers and sandwiches waited for beginning of the party. As late as 5 am, we finished to prepare the necessary facilities and started drinking beer. A couple of new people arrived and they wanted to have a short sleep. There is seven hour difference from the central Europe time. 23pm CET is 6am JST. Some people went to an another room where Net.RadioHomeRun 'squats' every month and there are nice couches. On almost 6am Tetsuo started to pump up the volume of the shortwave radio at the mixer. Hissing and fading-in/out noses sounded but it was difficult to define what the signal was and what the station was. He said that the antenna on the roof was directed to the Radio Austria's shortwave that was to re-broadcast the Radiotopia but the condition of ionosphere changed. Since he was accustomed with any happenings, after playing with the noises, he started his "Radio-Frequency Hands" performance. Meantime, a performance group "DaDaBaBa" arrived and Michinobu, DJ and rurulu47, a soundscape artist came back from their sleep. The room was filled with sounds, smell of beer and laughs. Our radio party already started. While Yakenohara and Michinobu Takarada, Jumbo Brocoli's two DJs played, the space more and more became the topos of Free Radio Platanus. The difference should have been that no unexpected persons came. We, Mini FM cats always make the best use of unanticipated aspects including mechanical problems and planed to accept sudden interruptions by telephone calls. Masaki Saito who is the core member of Net.RadioHomeRun had planed to call at an airport but didn't. He had to catch an airplane for his business. Later we knew telephone was not available at this hour in his place. DaDaBaBa's two artists made a sound performance using the live recorded sounds of airplane and their live voices. They covered themselves in a white cloth and over them a small airplane model moved. It was a temporary sculpture and an installation of sounds and objects too. Over storytelling, rurulu47 introduced soundscapes that she recorded in various places. She had a similar program in Free Radio Platanus. As early as 9 am, we caught the signal from an another site by Art Strike and FIU Japan. Art Strike started their activity at the Gulf War. FIU Japan is a loose network node that Joseph Beuys initiated when he came to Japan. Jun Oenoki and Kunimitus Moriya had organized meetings, slide projection art shows and temporary Mini FM. Jun planed to transmit the sound on the first anniversary day of September 11th in Tokyo on his way to Tokyo Keizai University (TKU) by trains where he teaches and their streaming server exits. At his office the encoder was to automatically catch the transmitted signals through mobile. The mobile had mixed two inputs from the live soundscapes and the laptop computer which artificially reads the written news of un-American sources on Palestine. As soon as Jun arrived at his office at TKU located at the west-north side of Tokyo, Moriya and their friends got together and started to discuss about the 911. The title and theme 'Radiotopia' [italic] was so inspiring that we hit many experimental ideas for the event even if the outcomes looked not so experimental as we had planed. The mainstream Radio has lost its 'topos' [italic] (which I would like to interpret as an individual concrete place) . It has pursued distance-less wide-ranging network that is not disturbed or distorted by 'topos' [italic]. The technology never cease to look for 'communication without body', non-mediated brain-to-brain communication. This ideal has been almost accomplished by the satellite and Internet technology. But I think the real potential of the Internet technology is not only in such. So-called "diversity of medium" Nowadays, the Internet radio is growing and the programs that they listen to are very "diverse". However, such "diversity" lacks in multi-dimensional aspects that can work along with the 'topos' [italic]. To get back the 'topos' [italic] in radio is, therefore, at the moment, not to diversify the program. Actions in an another level is necessary. I have been trying to do so in Mini FM. The prototype was a kind of block radio that covered only 500 meter radius. Given the walking distance, everybody had to be conscious of the physical circumstances of transmission: where the program is transmitted, who are physically present, and what the place that the program is broadcast is like. As the Internet permeates into every individual life, it turns out to be that this technology not only connects distant places but also 'prismatizes' every 'topical' unit of communications. This can refer to all electronic media. Look around our self-controllable electronic surroundings. They wait for their multiple chaotic topology. Tetsuo Kogawa ------------------

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