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Listening to the World—100 Years of Radio

Talks, Workshops, Performances, Sound Installations, Film Screening, DJ Set


Visual Listening to the World – 100 Years of Radio

Graphic Design: Iris Buchholz

In 2023 radio in Germany turns 100 years old. On the occasion of this anniversary, the project Listening to the World100 Years of Radio explores listening as a global phenomenon. It pays homage to the diversity of radio’s functions: networking, communication, the shaping of culture, power dynamics, protest, artistic medium, and information. The project focuses on the interactions between radio, culture, belief systems, and the writing of history: Which forms of listening are there and how are they determined by systems such as colonization? How has radio shaped biographies and social developments?

The Bauhaus.Listening.Workshops examine radio history and stories in South America, South Asia, and Southern Africa, exploring, amongst other things, the potential of listening for a world of the future. Following the workshops in Montevideo (March 2023) and Manila/Sagada (August 2023), and proceeding from the insight gained there, HKW invites visitors to explore the diverse and multifaceted world of radio listening.

Throughout these workshops, the dissolution of geopolitical territories and the creation of new radiophonic spaces is particularly brought into focus. Radio already transmitted across great distances and borders and now, the internet has enabled completely new connections. At the same time listening to and partaking in radio broadcasts are always at the local level, contributing to the formation of communities and identities, and opening up new transcultural spaces. In addition, Listening to the World100 Years of Radio also reflects on power structures, forms of resistance, and the shaping of culture through and with radio as well as listening in the past and present. How has radio been instrumentalized for the maintenance of power by certain political systems, and how is the present still shaped by this? How has and does the use of radio for the purpose of resistance look in different places around the world and how does it sound?

The two-day programme at HKW presents various formats: Bauhaus.Listening.Workshops, in which listening is examined as a conscious form of hearing that  can reveal realities and mythologies, localities and identities, making them tangible and negotiable. Further, an intervention in urban space invites one to actively move within the field of tension between the sounds of radio archives and the direct environment. Listening is understood here as a physical action, the human being as a body shaped by its environment, who is as much a transmitter as they are receiver. In addition, an installation presents sound landscapes and radio segments from South America. Finally, through a series of live performances, the radio is employed as an artistic means to enliven  sound archives alongside protest music. Thus different stories and perspectives on a diversity of sound realities, as well as practices of listening to and making radio from different protagonists, find their place and constitute a new radiophonic world map. The event is accompanied by a varied radio programme, broadcasting live performances as well as transmitting a diverse set of sounds and verbal contributions.

The Experimental Radio at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar collects the results of the workshops and research of the Bauhaus.Listening.Workshops, as well as contributions from visitors during the event, and presents them on its Transcultural Listening Map. A preview of this new knowledge platform can be seen and heard publically for the first as part of the event at HKW. In turn, the material forms the basis for a podcast series on the radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur as well as productions in the participating countries.

A further Bauhaus.Listening.Workshop will be held in March 2024 in Johannesburg. This is followed by an event at HKW in fall 2024 which also concentrates on Southern Africa and related diasporas in Germany.

Radio programme

The event is accompanied by a versatile radio programme, broadcasting on October 21–22 live from HKW. The programme includes live performances from Listening to the World as well as diverse sounds and conversations circulating around the topic of modes and effects of listenings, sound practices, and concepts of radio in South America, Southeast Asia, and beyond.

Broadcast online via Bauhaus.FM (and UKW 106.6 MHz) and on Sunday also via Refuge Worldwide. The broadcast on Sunday 22.10. is also available as an on-demand stream online at Refuge Worldwide.

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Listening to the World100 Years of Radio is a project of the Goethe-Institut, the Experimental Radio at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt. It is supported by the Goethe-Institut as well as through the project New European Bauhaus of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. The development of the Transcultural Listening Map is supported by the Creative Fund of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.