Radiophonic Spaces School Project – Field Studies to Map the Invisible

Thanks to radio technology, music, news, sounds in general have permeated space and time – effortlessly it seems – for more than 100 years. Invisible waves connect the world’s most distant places, conveying information, entertainment and much more.
In three workshops, students together with illustrator and radio host Dan Abbott and büro eta boeklund explored the spaces of sound and knowledge of the Radiophonic Spaces walk-in radio archive. They approached the contents of the archive by artistic means and made the invisible visible, visualized disturbances, studied the silence as well as the noise and asked what turns radio into art. They documented the results of the workshops in brief audio clips.

Workshop 1: Destroy your Headphones
A blend of entertainment, good reception and lots of static: that’s what students from the Montessori Gemeinschaftsschule Berlin Buch had to say about the radio tour. They combed through the music, radio plays and other formats in the radio archive like human search needles. The disturbances turned out to be a particularly interesting field for investigation offering great potentials between annoyance and the search for orientation. The radical solution they proposed? Destroy your headphones! But only in theory, of course.

Workshop 2: Inappropriate Behavior
The 10th graders from Friedrich-Ebert-Gymnasium had expected to come across weird things at HKW, they reported, that’s the way art is. All of the strange noises, weird dialogues, odd content led them to ask: Why is only this kind of thing broadcasted when others do it? Who decides that? And when is it art? Accordingly, the group studied sound formats, norms and their own listening habits. The result was a photo series on Inappropriate Behavior. The images explore boundaries in the field between criticism, art and experiment and bring practice very close to theory.

Workshop 3: Radiophonic Spaceman
“Disturbing.” “Funny.” “Exhausting!” “Old, old-fashioned.” “Was that ever modern?” Different generations have different acoustic influences and preferences. This was clearly evident when students from grades 7 to 10 at Heinrich-Böll-Oberschule surveyed the archive. Sometimes they missed the recognition effect that connects us to the familiar, leading them to ask about the selection criteria of an archive: Why is that worth listening to? On the suit of the Radiophonic Spaceman lines and dots connect the topics and formats that the participants would have liked to find in the archive: the latest music, game sounds, biographies and much more.