Robert Adrian and Norbert Math

Radiation (2002)

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The "RADIATION" project concentrates on short wave radio - the wave-lengths used mostly by security/espionage agencies, national propaganda/information stations and by amateur radio operators. Many short wave transmissions are received as bursts of coded or scrambled signal - morse, fax or image transmissions and secret commercial or political data. The short wave spectrum contains every human language and every kind of music. Short wave signals are often distorted by atmospheric conditions, bursts of electro-magnetic activity on the Sun, interference from other transmitters or local static - with short wave radio it is "radio" itself that is in the foreground.

The sounds from four short wave radio receivers, each tuned to a different source, are fed into an amplifier and distributed to four loudspeakers installed about 400 cm apart and 3 meters high. A computer program controls the receivers so that they are always tuned to active and interesting sources.

The project Radiation uses another aspect of media culture, i.e. the acts of transmission and networking. The point of departure for this project is the historical manifesto La Radia by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Pino Masnata, which proclaims a media-based art of telecommunications, addressing the transmission of data rather than an "art of noise". La Radia will be transmitted in Morse code via short wave by Radio Österreich International. The processual project unfolds live between Zagreb (the on site location - Technical Museum, Zagreb as part of the exhibition "Broadcasting. dedicated to Nikola Tesla" and Vienna (the live on air studio) and thus manifests itself simultaneously as installation, action, performance and collage. The piece is fed, above all by the heterogeneous acoustic material of short-wave radios, which - often used for espionage or propaganda purposes or by amateur radio enthusiasts - permit the reception of coded and scrambled and hence frequently unintelligible information, thus putting process before content. As an extension of an earlier version of the project (Ars Electronica, 1998), Radiation now opens up the possibility of feedbacks between and from different additional spaces and media.

Produced on the occasion of the exhibition "BROADCASTING PROJECT [dedicated to Nicola Tesla]", on site at Technical Museum Zagreb, on line / on air at ORF Kunstradio and ORF Radio Austria International January 27th, 2002

sound engineer: Gerhard Wieser