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[Nettime-ro] Cluj: tranzindex conference & experimental radio workshop
joanne richardson on Fri, 13 Sep 2002 20:32:21 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-ro] Cluj: tranzindex conference & experimental radio workshop


Scuzati ca trimit mesajul in Engleza, nu m-am chinuit
sa-l traduc in Romana mea proasta, pentru ca
conferinta si workshopul la care ma refer o sa fie in
limba Engleza anyway:

Tranzindex conference (Sept 26 – 29) 
& Experimental radio workshop (Sept 30 – Oct 3)
Casa Tranzit, Str. Baritiu 16, Cluj 
Conference realized with financial support of Concept
Fundation, Soros Open Network Romania 

Preliminary Announcement & Call for Workshop
Participation

>From Sept 26 – 29, Tranzit (in collaboration with me
and the Next 5 Minutes festival of tactical media in
Amsterdam) will organize a conference to discuss
current broadcasting standards and the possibilities
to reclaim the media. Conference topics will include
backdoor media education by NGOs founded by artists,
the production of counterdocumentaries, current forms
of media activism, notions of the public domain and
media democratization, and minor media production and
distribution models which have erased the distinction
between producers and consumers. More information and
a program of the conference will be distributed to the
list in a few days. 

For now, I’m sending a preliminary call for
participants to sign up for the Personal News Service
Radio, a four day production workshop directly
following the conference (Sept 30 – Oct 3). The
workshop, led by Derek Holzer from Next 5 Minutes in
Amsterdam, will include a technical demonstration of
‘how to do your own miniFM radio’ as well as a
conceptual work with participants on creating short
prerecorded broadcasts of their own personal versions
of news & information that matters to them today.  The
personal news fragments will be broadcast from a
miniFM transmitter (which typically has a range of one
kilometer) in different places in Cluj. As a
‘workshop’ this is not open to the public, but will
consist of a small group, around 12 people, working
closely together & intensely. If you are interested in
participating in this workshop, you need to SIGN UP IN
ADVANCE (and as soon as possible) by contacting me at
subsol {AT} mi2.hr.

Derek Holzer is a media practitioner with a background
in pirate radio, net.radio and streaming media
technologies. He was involved with the first net.radio
experiments in Hungary (Pararadio) and Czech Republic
(Radio Jeleni). He has also worked with Re-lab, a
net.radio group in Latvia who gradually shifted their
focus towards broader issues of ‘acoustic spaces’ and
networked audio communications. In August 2001, Derek
participated in the Acoustic Space Lab which brought
together an international team of 30 sound artists,
community radio activists, and scientists to
experiment with a 32 meter antenna, recording sounds
and data from planets, communication satellites and
the surrounding environment. Derek will also make
presentations about his own work and the Next 5
Minutes festival during the conference, as well as
some smaller informal discussions in the evenings
during Sept 30 – Oct 3 - which will be open to the
public.

For those of you who are interested in finding out
more about the use of radio as an ‘art form,’ the
history of miniFM movement, and attempts to overcome
the broadcasting model, I am posting below a short
text by Tetsuo Kogawa, one of the founders of
experimental radio. 

__________________
||||||||||||||||||
POLYMORPHOUS RADIO
Tetsuo Kogawa (Japan, 2001)

Throughout its history, despite efforts by the
Futurists in the 1920s, radio has been considered a
means of communication rather than an art form.
Therefore, it is ironic that just as traditional forms
of radio are in decline, its possibilities as an art
form are reaching extreme potentials. If, as Heidegger
once suggested, the most extreme possibilities can
only be reached at the end of something, what then
ends with radio? What is radio's most extreme
possibility? 

When the mini-FM radio movement originated in the
early 1980s in Japan, most cities had only one FM
station, if any at all, because only
government-operated stations could obtain licenses;
station administrators tended to be retired government
officials. The Italian free radio movement and Felix
Guattari's response to it stimulated us very much. It
provided thrilling examples in which politics and
culture creatively worked together and gave us hope
with which to cope with the dismal state of Japanese
mass media. Guattari stressed the radically different
function of free radio from conventional mass media.
His notions of transmission, transversal and molecular
revolution suggested that, unlike conventional radio,
free radio would not impose programs on a mass
audience, whose numbers have been forecast, but would
come across freely to a molecular public, in a way
that would change the nature of communication between
those who speak and those who listen.

Friends and I began experimenting with radio
transmission in the early eighties. At that time we
intended to establish a pirate FM station. However,
there were few people who could help us build an
appropriate transmitter. This negative attitude had
resulted largely from the psychological stigma
attached to breaking the law during World War II when
the authorities strictly banned the use of short-wave
radio receivers, to say nothing of transmitters. Even
now, there is still a general feeling that the
airwaves belong to the government. However, we had a
different idea - that airwaves should be public
resources, not monopolized by the state. While we were
experimenting, an interesting thing happened: I
stumbled upon Article 4 in the Radio Regulations Book.
It permits transmitting without a license if the power
is very weak and is intended to accommodate wireless
microphones and remote-control toys, for example. My
idea was to use this type of tiny unit for radio
transmitting. During several tests of small ready-made
FM transmitters we found that some of them could cover
a half-mile radius
Some former students and I established Radio Home Run
in 1983. Every day, from 8 PM to midnight, one or two
groups aired talk or music programs. Radio Home Run
quickly became a meeting place for students,
activists, artists, workers, owners of small shops,
local politicians, men, women and the elderly. The
function was centripetal rather than centrifugal:
listeners tended to want to come to the station.
Through our experiments we came to the conclusion that
we must work within a half-mile service area. Tokyo is
densely populated so even a half-mile area has at
least ten thousand inhabitants. This meant that
mini-FM could function as community radio. To the
extent that each community and individual has
different thoughts and feelings, we believed there
should be different kinds of radio – hundreds of
mini-FM stations in a given area. If you had the same
number of transmitters as receivers, your radio sets
could have completely different functions. 
 
Conventional radio and television is generally eager
for as large a service area as possible: from
nation-wide to global networks. According to these
models, communication is considered a way of conveying
information as a material entity from one place to
another. Mass media has functioned (and still does) as
a strong catalyst of industrialization, characterized
by the transportation of solid material, integrated
homogeneous grouping and an industrious work ethic.
However, as Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela
have argued, such a notion of communication is forced
and distorted. Human communication is based not on
tube conveyance but on structural coupling.

In the process of transmitting, we became more
interested in pursuing a new way of getting together
rather than circulating information. We found that
even one kilometer community is too large and there
are more different units of cultures and tastes of the
individuals. Micro-revolution can happen only on such
a level. The action of transmitting together changed
our relationships in a way that seemed distinct from
the effects of other collective actions that did not
involve transmitting. It is in this context that I
gradually understood the meaning and potential of
mini-FM. Radio could serve as a communication vehicle
not for broadcast but for narrowcasting. Radio
transmission technology could be available for
individuals to take control of their transmission and
reception. Mini-FM had a powerful therapeutic
function: an isolated person who sought companionship
through radio happened to hear us and visited the
mini-FM station; a shy person started to speak into
the microphone; people who never used to be able to
share ideas and values found a place for dialogue. I
called this kind of media "polymorphous media" or
"polymedia." Polymedia are not intended simply to link
smaller units into a larger whole: instead they
involve the recovery of electronic technology that
individuals can communicate, share idiosyncrasies and
be "convivial." 

Although I have been involved in the free radio
movement and have also worked with pirate stations in
Japan since the early 1980s, I now doubt if radio,
when developed to its most extreme potential, can be
appropriately called "free radio." My experiences have
led me to imagine therefore what ends with radio: we
are now in the process of surpassing radio as a
communication means and also as a form of
self-expression for artists. Both of these models
belong to modernity, the same matrix that adopted
terms such as freedom and democracy. It has become
necessary to think a new direction or framework for
human self-fulfillment that does not rely on these
types of notions of freedom. Perhaps now the era of
freedom as an ideology has ended. This does not mean
that freedom was an illusion or that we enter a new
age of non-freedom. Rather, it means that other
concepts completely different in character from
freedom are emerging.

Compared to technologies using steam and springs which
are based on compression and release, radio is a
medium beyond freedom in the sense that it is based on
electronics, a post-freedom technology. When radio was
first developed, there was no inherent need to
separate transmitters from receivers. However, at that
time, freedom was still a valid political ideology, so
transmission and reception were strictly separated to
allow for contrasts between the free and the not free:
transmission was monopolized by the broadcast stations
and "unfree people" called "listeners" were created
artificially. 

A new horizon has been opened, outdating the
separation of transmission and reception that had been
forced upon electronic media. The question in the age
of satellite media is no longer whether or not radio
or television is "free" but whether it is
"polymorphous." We are at the dawn where we can
imagine a different type of radio, such as Murry
Schafler describes in "Radical Radio." Schafler
criticizes radio that "has become the clock of Western
civilization, taking over the function of social
timekeeper from the church bell and the factory
whistle," and imagines a new type of radio that could
"ring with new rhythms, the bio-cycles of all human
life and culture, the biorhythms of all nature." This
does not imply that we should reject all radio that
tries to convey messages - message radio. But I just
want us to think about the different potential of
radio, the experimental side of radio.




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