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<nettime> updated "-----flexible bodies on frequency modulation----"
zina kaye on Mon, 28 Sep 1998 17:10:49 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> updated "-----flexible bodies on frequency modulation----"

Apologies to people who have read this text before. It has been updated.
It seems a timely way to send corrections for the bible///// is this so? zina.


-----flexible bodies on frequency modulation----

This writing is the sum of real time and remote discussions between Zina
Kaye and Honor Harger.

Zina Kaye is an Australian artist using the net as a medium for work and
also to maintain an antipodean sound art archive: L'Audible.

Honor Harger, with her partner Adam Hyde, runs r a d i o q u a l i a, an
online radio station aiming to open an electronic portal into the
eccentricities of antipodean radio space.

Simply, we are discovering the places that radio, radio.art, net.radio and
net.art intersect at this time, and will outline some projects that have
taken place in the last year, including Xchange {AT} OpenX /Ars Electronica.

Our challenge is to discuss the confluence of these mediums without
reducing their inherent inter-structural malleability, and the power of
overlapping flexing sound organisms. One could begin by discussing
activities that happen in the studio and the internet. Each node is
broadcasting, yet our experience is one of mating these broadcasts into new
organisms. This has been facilitated by the ease of communication via the
internet, and in turn the internet provides more raw materials for the
stream. In this space we can hear virus radio, fake adverts, airports,
space shuttles, generative music, experimental chewing machines, voices
speaking in many tongues, sources of coded information and things that go

Radio is not a definitive term: it is an adjunct. It is suffixed by
notation of context.  For example micro, FM, commercial and net.  These
contextualised terms are all radio, subsets or different protocols of the
same method.  The word radio itself, without an adjunct, is symbolic and
metaphorical.  It is a complicated idea consisting of many different
component ideas.  It has many meanings in many contexts.

"If you had the same number of transmitters as receivers, your radio sets
could have completely different functions."
Tetsuo Kogawa

Intuitively we have always understood that radio could be used as a means
to link people together in conversation, a communications vehicle not for
broadcast, but for the individuals involved.  Instead of a metaphor of a
sprawling net, our vision of radio is more like a conversation - sometimes
with yourself and sometimes with a few others.  Perhaps radio can be seen a
musical instrument, or a composer, with groups of people as the notes it
arranges into melody and discord.

There is one obvious difference between radio and internet radio which is
not often dissected.  Radio is transmitted through airwaves and net.radio
through wire.  One is a hard technology (wire), the other ethereal
(airwaves).  It is interesting to note that a radio was once known as a
wireless, to distinguish it from other forms of communication media reliant
on wire, for example, telephones.  In a sense, then, net.radio could be
seen as a technological regression, dragging radio down once more into
wire, tying it to the corporeal.  This is why the term "terrestrial radio"
when referring to radiowaves makes no sense at all.

We are still receiving the browser experience but the desktop is becoming
more crowded with equipment that helps us be the beacon or the lighthouse.
The relationship with the equipment is important: for where 
1. one might perceive that the broadcast is no longer rooted in one
particular culture or city, 
2. and that the producer is not tied to one fixed place of abode in a
stable existence, 
3. and despite the fact that net.radio play lies in the dimensions of
research and extra-boundary travel:-
4. both producer and listener are most definitely tied to the computer. 
Equally a larger structure enfolds the experience and this is based on
people: content providers, technicians, software engineers, archivists,
interfacers and

The beacons are many: it is like early telecommunications, where discrete
nodes pass on the baton and fold information into loops. Receiver becomes
broadcaster in such a paradigm. Equally, many nodes will go under one name
as a temporary autonomous zone and assault the networks with one unified

Here the group personality is informed by multi-process activities, and the
interface is a common piece of software: currently the real audio client.
However, the experience is developing so that the computer is being lifted
off the ground and the stream is re-broadocast via mini-fm transmittors.
The interface is naturally moving once again to wireless communications,
and from here perhaps the future lies in mobile phone communications and
computer walkmans.

Recent research was conducted by r a d i o q u a l i a, at Ars
Electronica/OpenX, into a system called the Frequency Clock.  The Frequency
Clock aimed to amplify the dialogue between FM and net.radio.

The Frequency Clock was a very simple attempt to illustrate the distances,
timezones and boundaries that radio crosses using the timepiece as a
metaphor for distance.  Discrete net.radio streams: r a d i o q u a l i a,
L'Audible, Interface, Radio Ozone, Convex TV and Pararadio were located in
separate geographical locations, and identified by their time signature.
The time and sound of each radio station signifies their individual
identity, a personality distinct from other radio entities, yet somehow
linked by this principal of the network.

Frequency Clock set up a chain of nearby computers all broadcasting a
different net.radio stream via mini-FM. The viewer was invited to mix their
own personal space by walking through the bandwidths' wearing a radio.
Radio and net.radio overlap, the functions of both dissolve into each
other, and the distinguishing factors emerge as reasons to diversify the
methods of exploring air and wire waves.

It is movement and a metaphor for movements: the flow that is symbolised by
the works that come out of groups and the Zeitgeist of practitioners coming
together face-to-face or remotely. The autonomous members of the group use
the power of their combined voice to target centres of communication or

Though the disparate streams of online audio have been christened
'net.radio', most practitioners of internet audio blush at the deficiency
of this term. Though in truth there may be more contrast than resemblance
within the scattered associations forming through forums like the Xchange
mailing list, speculative definitions do serve to expand the dimensions for
conversation. What many of these projects do perhaps share is a cognisance
of a common genealogy, edified by the "communication art" of the 60s - 70s,
Fluxus, the radio.art movement of the early 90s and other networked
threads. A conspicuously Deleuzian tendency toward the obliteration of
hegemony, and the simultaneous deference for chaos and "noise", is also
developing as a common element between these discrete projects.

Guattari once spoke of radio in the context of transmission, transversal
and molecular revolution. Quiet voices, small actions. It is possible to
pull the loud voice onto the desktop and magnify a local region,
infinitely, using the zoom tool. We are interested in permitting the local
region to speak louder, loudest. In the grand structure, the voice on the
field is invited openly and programmed into the timetable as a supreme
noise particle.

(humble under minded) psychic rumble, an audio surveillance project
conducted at Code Red Sydney, by Zina Kaye, attempted to articulate the
structure of the net.radio identity by using the audience as generator of
content. Defined as 'the accidental contract' [Denis Beaubois] the audience
produces its own desiring loop via audio surveillance.  The audience is a
knowing participant, it has a microphone in full view into which it may
speak. It may know, also, that this sound is being broadcast to a space
beyond its own. 

How a device receives this information is always opaque, in
any surveillance situation. The rumble is not archived to a secret vault,
but is made available through broadcast: sending out the information
for personal evaluation rather then an internal party.

The psychic rumble microphone used cold war surveillance technology, a
concrete microphone for music concrete. The sound that is heard is one
experienced by the structure, the walls of the building, as they vibrate
and mediate sound. What can the walls hear? Talking of course: one person
speaks as another surveilles next-door at the listening post. Beyond this,
the walls hear better than people. They hear airplanes and toilets
flushing, the wind as it rattles the chimneys and dogs barking in the park.

The hidden ear, the severed ear, that says "we are not alone, and I am here
to show you that". The paranoid ear hears granulated sound, interference
and accident. It is compelled to pick up everything for analysis. The
mundane is dissected into smaller parts. It is the humble psychic that can
pick the shape of the stream and pull it into meaning.

Is it so difficult to be fluid? Why is it that many parts can lurch forward
in different tempo, and yet as an organism, activate the work to be a
whole? Surely this way of working compliments the dynamic fluidity and
global dispersion of our time. It is not possible to put the names of the
activities into a box under a magnifying glass and try to separate us, for
we follow the path of least resistance. The work is unstable and may fall
apart. Net.anything needs constant attention to re-routing. Indeed we work
at integrating the frailties of the format (error messages, disk buffering,
dial prefixes, crashing, busy signals) into speculative art discourses,
which too often may be coopted toward the mystification of the abstract. In
a period of what may be a formulation of a tentative aesthetic, many
net.media practitioners, are attempting a synthesis of the grit of
activism, the zigzag and abstraction of art, and the capabilities of cheap
and accessible technology. Net.structure as it is now, may one day be seen
as a technological snapshot.

The recent project at Ars Electronica by the Xchange collective infact
involved a number of individuals and groups that temporarily lost their
production identity to enjoy free to air mixing. Most of the participants
are plural or using the pluralist identity. Little organisms that replicate
like a virus and are very much a part of this time. The traversal of space
is fundamental to the notion of radio.  We have always been intrigued by
radio's metaphorical ability to collapse space, to expand face, to create
an elastic zone where distance and identity become mutable.

Emerging from a desire to evolve a virtual zone for sonic exploration, the
network creates the latitude for musicians and artists to explore the
superficial distance between understandings. Tools, such as live
performance, audio streams of ebbs and skews, regular netcasts, are
vehicles, which survey this region, remapping prescribed media territory.
But our art is an inexact cartography. No matter how carefully we plot the
journey, ours is a convoluted excursion, with many unscheduled deviations.
While the rupture of intention and outcome can at first seem impeding,
these accidental stopovers have allowed a deciphering of the code of
netcasting. Embedded with the convenient angles of percussion and recoil,
are multiple tiers of fragmentation, break-up and congestion. We celebrate
the hidden spaces where the alchemic transference of intent and error
happens. This irregular drift has then, paradoxically, proved to be a
viable way of studying the feasibility of a collective net.radio aesthetic.

The works produced are simple, and are freely available to the user in a
slippery network. Net.radio is the ultimate proof that you are never alone
and that the broadcasting structure is maleable and not a monolith.


1. Thanks to Adam Hyde for chunks of text.
2.	>This is why the term "terrestrial radio"
	>when referring to radiowaves makes no sense at all.
	This is what people use? I never heard it. Who used it?
	an extraterrestrial?
house of laudanum
po box 950, darlinghurst nsw 2010, australia
the anti-destination society can also be found at this address.
r a d i o q u a l i a
Radioqualia's gl^tch.bot
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