Imaginary Museum Projects/Tjebbe van Tijen on Sun, 10 Apr 2005 16:01:58 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> original text: Radiodays in De Appel = Artistic Amnesia or Arrogance?

As I noticed that the heading of my short letter on RadioDays in de 
Appel Amsterdam (23/3/2005) starts to circulate on Nettime without 
reference (as far as I can see) to my original text...

... and with arguments that may have been triggered by my text (as my 
part of my title "Radiodays in De Appel = Artistic Amnesia or 
Arrogance"  is used in the subject heading ...

... I decided to post this text also on Nettime (the original posting 
was on the Dutch sister Nettime-nl)

As I can read from the reaction of Jill Magid to the message of J. 

... the argumentation is now narrowed down to the issue of doing radio 
with official permission (or not)...

I myself do not see this as the most problematic part... just a side 
issue... it is the total neglect of blooming alternative media in 
Amsterdam (both radio and television, in all kind of gradings from 
militant pirates to long years of tolerated free radio and television, 
and to the commercial salami tactics of authorities, media businesses 
and political parties that ended in the  cleansed media landscape of 
nowadays Amsterdam...

I need not repeat... better read the original text first ...

start of original text
For three decades this town - Amsterdam - has developed and sustained a 
free radio practice, starting with the Vrije Maagd (free virgin) from 
the occupied headquarters of the university in 1969 and the Radio 
Sirene and Radio Mokum a few years later related to the neighbourhood 
actions in the Nieuwmarktbuurt, evolving from radio as a mobilizing and 
coordinating tool in political action to a diverse mix of cultural and 
political content. Just from the top of my head station names come to 
my mind like WHS Radio, Papatoe, Rabotnik, RVZ Radio, Radio Twist, 
Vrouwenradio, Vrije Keizer, Radio GOT, Radio Kankantri, Staatsradio and 
one of the most prolific and enduring stations: Radio 100. Some of 
these initiatives also took part in the relative short period of free 

Many of these stations were experimenting with what radio could be when 
freed from the burden of broadcast tradition and commercial interest. 
Most of these initiatives stayed on the air for many years by the daily 
creative and supportive input of hundreds of volunteers and listeners, 
thus creating a creative realm where the distinction between radio 
producer and radio consumer often faded...

Official radio and television soon discovered these free ranging media 
laboratories and started to pick fresh talents from their core groups 
to inject new energy in their sclerosised structures.

Instead of being supported, most of these initiatives have been chased, 
persecuted and criminalized by local and state authorities. Freedom of 
expression for broadcast media have been curtailed from the very 
beginning, constitutional rights do hardly go beyond the culprit and 
the printing press. For a decade or so some halfhearted 'open channel' 
options were given under the tutelage of a non-elected foundation 
(SALTO), but it all ended in a debacle when frequencies were auctioned 
and sold and slowly most of these free initiatives were pushed out of 
the aether while some manage to survive as streaming radio on the 

Now when I read the announcement of "radiodays in De Apple" as posted 
on the nettime-nl list by Geert Lovink, the only - unintended - trace 
of this rich history with a sad ending is the email address of the 
moderator of this list Menno Grootveld: --- RABOTNIK 
being once one of the pioneers of  "Dutch "Radio Art" .

On the impressive name list of persons, groups and organizations I 
hardly recognize anything that links back to the aforementioned local 
history. Have all those people involved died the moment they have been 
pushed out of free radio space? Could their pioneering work at least 
not be mentioned in a few  words, some kind of homage to their courage 
and endurance? Why is it not mentioned as a necessary part of such a 

What makes the curators of De Appel dance on 'the grave of free radio 
history' as if nothing creative in the field of radio ever happened in 
this town called Amsterdam? Was all of it below their standards of what 
can be classified by the word "Art"?  Or, do they simply not know?

Did they never check? (say just google "free radio" + Amsterdam to get 
11.600 hits or "pirate radio" + Amsterdam good for 12.200 hits)? Did 
they never search some libraries (30 books of secondary literature on 
pirate radio at the University Library Amsterdam) ... or did they not 
think about the option to search the collection of the International 
Institute of Social History... just the simplest possible search with 
the word "radio"  from the search option at their home page gives 1896 
matches in 664 files ( ) with hits like "Vrije 
Keyser Radio archief; or "Etters in de ether" (mischiefs in the aether, 
a sublime documentary overview by Cor Gout of 20 years Dutch free radio 
made in  1992); or the Staatsradio, Radio X and Papatoe audo archive 
deposited in 1993; the archive of the magazine "de Zender" (the 
emitter) of the eighties donated by Eef Vermij; a dossier with leaflets 
from the period 1989-1991 when Radio 100 was taken "from the air" and 
went back again; several cassettes from the early radio work of Willem 
de Ridder; the archives of the Next 5 Minutes conferences on tactical 
media in Amsterdam in the nineties, orthe archives of Europe Against 
the Current manifestation in 1989 with many free radio initiatives....

When I understand it well the manifestation is a kind of 'school work' 
or more nicely said "curatorial training program"... but as the student 
curators maybe do not know those things (they might not even have been 
born when free radio was raging in this town, or too young, or from 
another part of the planet) there must be someone around who is from 
this town, who knows something about its fuzzy and convivial history to 
put the students on the right track...  how else can these curators 
'in-spe' learn something. Nothing of that all seems to have happened!

Is this blotting out of the local context historical amnesia or 
professional arrogance?

When will the well established cultural institutions that support this 
manifestation recognize their failure in the past  in supporting local 
media talents?

When will the authorities that cleansed free radio space apologize for 
the injustice they have done?

Tjebbe van Tijen 23/3/2005

end of original text

Tjebbe van Tijen

Imaginary Museum Projects
dramatizing historical information

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: