A Summary

see also the REPORT on HORIZONTAL RADIO by Heidi Grundmann

From June, 22nd, noon to June, 23rd, noon (CET)

24 hours live on the frequencies of radio stations in Australia, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and Israel, in the Internet and at the network intersections in Athens, Belgrade, Berlin, Bologna, Bolzano, Budapest, Edmonton, Helsinki, Hobart, Innsbruck, Jerusalem, Linz, London, Madrid, Montreal, Moscow, Munich, Naples, Quebec, Rome, San Marino, Sarajevo, Sydney, Stockholm, Vancouver.

A co-production between the Ars Acustica experts of the EBU (the European Broadcasting Union) and TRANSIT, the ORF's KUNSTRADIO and the Ars Electronica Festival 95.

General planning and coordination: Gerfried Stocker: x-space, ORF Kunstradio.
Each participating station had their own planning and coordination-team.

The starting point was the analogue cable and broadcasting network of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), which served as a primary telematic sphere of action and was connected in several cases to independent radiostations or interfered with by pirate radio. Linked to this network was the Internet, which served as a medium of access and distribution beyond the broadcasting range of the participating radio stations but also in some aspects as a possibility to influence the broadcasts.

The basic intention was to allow the unfolding of a media structure as heterogeneous as possible - as opposed to the unifying and standardized pressures of "communications' by the big broadcasting institutions and entertainment conglomerates.

HORIZONTAL RADIO functioned as an experimental field of tension generated by the highly differing characteristics of transmission and communcation of the classical isosynchronous properties of radio and the asynchronous context- and download-related properties of digital data networks (on demand, random access, caching).

HORIZONTAL RADIO, instead of perpetuating the vertical hierarchy between cleary defined transmittors and receivers turned into a platform for the exchange of transmissions.

Each individual radio station had to determine its role in the network, by making its own selection of artists, subprojects and materials.

A series of regional sub-networks not only served as geographical bridges but also as gateways between different media and bandwidths. As a consequence. they created the preconditions for the desired decentralised structure, in which the individual station did not have to build up links to all other stations in order to be connected to them.

Devices employed as carrier media:

  • analogue modulation lines for the transmission of hifi audio signals (stereo/mono)
  • ISDN and standard telephone lines with corresponding frequency range reductions (7kHz: 3.4kH)
  • data transmission lines in the shape of ISDN or standard telephone lines for the remote access to musical computer equipment (e.g. for the purpose of real-time sound installations).
  • the Internet as a caching server and as a medium of communication, interaction and distribution as well as a stage for conferences (telnet. ftp. irc. www. social netbrowser)
  • VHF, MW and SW
The resulting differences in sound quality served as an artistic tool and provided one of the very few means of orientation as regards the geographical areas and media covered by HORIZONTAL RADIO. Differences in sound were consciously used by some participants as "soundscape signatures" which helped to identify transmitters acoustically.

Such a network environment implies an artistic conception that places less emphasis on primary production and more on dialogic distribution and administration.

HORIZONTAL RADIO - a few facts:

  • 14 national public radio networks on
  • 24 channels
  • at least 10 independent stations
  • pirate radios
  • VHF. MW, Short-wave
  • 24 cities in the whole of Europe, Israel, Australia, Canada with performances, installations, concerts, poetry readings, live broadcasts.
  • well over 200 artists, composers, writers
  • an audience of millions
  • numbers of hours broadcast: unknown.

HORIZONTAL RADIO was not only broadcast in programs dedicated to radio-art, but on news programs, youth-programs, cultural magazines, science-programs, on pop-channels, on music-channels, culture-channels, shortwave-services etc. In some cases also in prime-time slots.

Some radiostations used the project to test technologies, e.g. ISDN lines.

Over 100 DAT cassettes with documentation-material plus a number of tapes have reached the ORF KUNSTRADIO and have been edited into 2 CDs by Rupert Huber.