Josephine Bosma on Thu, 12 Feb 1998 10:47:14 +0100 (MET)

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

<nettime> net, 'radio' and physical space: XLR

XLR stands for eXtended Live Radio. The group was initiated in the
summer of '97. In the group are Ulf Freyhoff, Monika Glahn from Berlin
and Marko Kosnik (Egon March Institute) and Borut Savski (Ministry
of Experiment) from Ljubljana. They were working on trying to establish
networks and platforms of any kind, be it physical or on the web. Most
interesting of course is the mix or hybrid forms coming from this.
They invited many groups and individuals to join in their experiments
and their first project took place during two weeks in the summer of 1997.
There is about 70 hours of sound material from the event, which is now
available partly on the net. At this moment the former xrl crew in both
Ljubljana and Berlin are working on new projects, connecting with others
via the Xchange mailinglist.
What follows is an email interview with Ulf Freyhoff and Monika Glahn.
I added one quote from Borut Savski from one of his mails to the exchange
mailinglist for alternative web.casters ('broad'casters on the web).

Q: What exactly happened during this whole period of the project, and did
it work well?

There were two main concerns, live-web-radio and live-fm-radio.
We did two weeks of fm-live-radio in ljubljana from midnight to 6am
(last days live only till around 3 or 4..;))
The first week we did broadcast from a studio at Radio Student, the
second week from a public space, Kapelica Gallery, both in ljubljana.

We invited people from all over the world to participate and contribute,
it took some days till contacts to other places started to work, so the
first days we were doing the whole program ourselves. So we focused and
improvised on themes which were about what we were doing there, for
example one day it was about feedback (this was the day when finally
the line to berlin worked and we could work and play with a lot of
internet-audio-feedbacks that night...)
Other subjects were real-time; machine and human languages; nothing,
something, anything; sun ra .. and (of course) cyberpunk, cyberspace
and cybereverything; technical languages and nothing, something,
anything; sun ra ...

Form of the program was a kind of monologues, lectures or readings,
discussions, music and experimental live-mix, interviews. The structure
was a main program between midnight and 2 am, which we called 'main
content area', then from 2 till 4 am mix/improvisation and from 4 am til
5.30 music (recreation). We then faded out with Dagmars Wusch, an ongoing
story about the 'cyborgs' that she wrote during the time of the project
and reflected the things that were happening during the broadcasts.

After some days, when web-contacts started to work, it changed depending
on who was when online and what happened at other spaces. Now the focus was
more on the external connections, we tried to always have opportunities
open for broadcasts from other places.

Concerning web-activities: we had a lot of contributions from Berlin,
for example musicians were giving concerts or were playing via internet
together with people in Kapelica Gallery, there were interviews with
artists from Hybrid Workspace in kassel, there were interviews with
musicians who work with electronics and web, or for example the last
night we transmitted a concert of a percussionist in Aachen. Later this
percussionist was supposed to improvise together with a trumpet-player
in Berlin (unfortunately the line to berlin broke down completely, so
we had to improvise again. Borut Savski and Marko Kosnik then played
in the gallery in ljubljana together with the guy in Aachen.

In parallel chat was running all the time, and people, who were not able
to send sound, gave comments or participated that way and we read parts of
this communication during the program too. There were even people from
Australia, Tokio and New York participating.

At the same time there were people in the gallery doing performance, for
example a visitor from NewZealand decided to prepare a performance
spontaneously for the next day together with one of the djs, who played
the first night together with Berlin musicians...

These are some examples to give an impression what happened - but two
weeks is so long, that its not possible to mention it all here and now -
and of course there were a lot of "black holes" which we tried to fill
as good as possible ;)

(nobody of us ever did radio before)    (the Berlin group JB)

There were a lot of technical problems, so we spent the first days
between trying to find solutions for them and trying to prepare the
broadcast for the night, and contacting and inviting people to
participate, explaining via email and chat how to install the needed
software...and so on.

This is a major thing one has to think about: is it possible to do the
content and the technical side at the same time - we were stressed most
of the time exactly in between these two concerns. So should one establish
the 'technician position' for events like that - what we didn't like as
an idea - or is it just about time management ?

There are several more 'jobs' that need to be looked after: someone has
to be 'secretary' just to keep track of all the 'communications on the
side', someone has to be the 'social worker', just to keep track on what's
going on between the people at all the connected spaces..
Its all about monitoring what's going on, which is especially difficult
if you are not physically at the same places.

Q: How did you get the contacts with Ljubljana, why this Berlin/Ljubljana

We knew some folks, by chance they were living in Ljubljana, and we
always ever wanted to see Laibach... ;-)
Marko Kosnik told us about the Egon March institute and his work at
Ministry for Experiment, which is an organization within Radio Student
in ljubljana. At the Ministry they are working since years on developing
different kind of broadcasts. They are inviting people from other
countries and are organizing experimental projects and platforms.
We saw that there are some similar interests and asked Marko if its
possible to do a project there. They said yes and then we developed the
concept, also in sending amounts of emails back and forth daily for
three weeks of preparation. At the same time we completed the site-setup
at Interflugs, which was the studio in Berlin during this time.

Q: Were there any transmissions of web.sounds in the ether?

Yes, we transmitted EVERYTHING on the ether, no censorship. At the same
time we always tried to make the process transparent, to tell something
about the measures that had to be taken to make the transmissions
possible, and about the possibilities in general.

Borut Savski (on Xchange about webcasting):
To define the do-s and don't-s of web casting, let's compare it to what
the conventional radio technologies don't (!!!) offer...
and use web casting in every way possible, especially in the ways that
surpass the ways of conventional radio! Even implement conventional
(local?) media with web (international) principles (those of us who
have the possibility).

Q: How important is the physical space for you, why does it need to
be connected to the net?

The physical space is the most important for us, and it doesn't NEED to
be connected on the net. The connection via internet of two or more
physical spaces gives the possibility to synchronize those spaces at
least partly and for a certain time. It's an image, located in real
time and real space, for and about information, experience, network,
communication. Translation. Inside and outside. Crossing and melting
For any activity in public space its very important to create a certain
atmosphere, an 'interface', which reflects what it is about.
Its about this translation of (in this case) sound, which comes out of a
machine without any-body or human traces, into something you can
experience and which creates an atmosphere.

>From a call for participation for a special night's program:

   We are offering the platform we built on this evening to special
   projects and persons whose work in different ways does connect
   positions and ideas and puts strong efforts in opening and
   establishing spaces for creativity, exchange and discussion.

Q: What happened after you call for participation, was it effective?

We got some reactions of people who wanted to contribute, but they didnt
appear at the announced time in the chat, so we had to do other program.
Maybe it was unclear to them, and for sure the announcement was too
late. Later some of the invited people showed up but merely for
personal talk. Chat was integrated into the broadcast anyways.
Our experience the days before the event was that a lot of people who
wanted to participate could only reach us via chat. So the idea was
to let something happen in this medium, where many can follow it and
also participate without mediation of us.
In chat its always this quite chaotic jumping around between different
lines of talks, so it would have been interesting to see how it
develops, if there is a certain focus, if its possible to focus...
If you want to communicate something via chat, monologues are not
possible, or only, if all others wait, what is not very probable, so
discussion-strategy is very different from spoken language.

Q: what were you basic reasons to start this project?

Assuming your question is about the whole xlr project:
We all like babel ;) -plus this was about investigating the possibilities
of 'contemporary' media for artists. Some questions we had were:
- what have we got with the internet that we did not have before / without
  the internet?
- how to 'misuse' the platform / the internet?
- how to create an own structure within the superstructure?
- how to really focus on contents not getting lost on technical issues?
- can the net be an artistic medium, or is it just good for documentation
  of artistic work ?
- what benefits do I get out of using the net as an artist ?
 (not that we got real answers to these questions, but we have more ideas
 about these topics now)

Q: Are you working more from an art or a tactical media background?

(you could write a whole book on that, basically this is about a
definition of art) We wont necessarily divide it.

both. neither. whats the difference ?

(quoted from Neil Stephenson: 'Snow Crash')


ministry of experiment at Radio Student in Ljubljana:

Monika Glahn and Ulf Freyhoff are also working on web-broadcasts and
creating platforms at interflugs, which is an independent organization
at the academy of fine arts in berlin. The student's union of the academy
of fine arts was very supportive and their room and computer was occupied
a lot for radioactivities...:

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