Méta Femmes br@nchées 03 with Heidi Grundmann: RE-INVENTING RADIO


Méta Femmes br@nchées with Heidi Grundmann
Art, artists and communication in a changing mediascape
April 14th and 15th 2005

-> Heidi Grundmann
-> Presentation
-> Master’s Class

Telematic Connections : the Virtual Embrace
Heidi Grundmann

During the past thirty years, Heidi Grundmann has participated in countless telematic art projects, and organised and curated large-scale symposiums and international exhibits related to artistic practices using electronic media – particularly radio, television, and Internet. She gives papers and writes on the arts and new media and has edited publications such as Art & Telecommunication, (Vienna/Vancouver, 1984); The Geometry of Silence (Vienna, 1991); On the Air (Innsbruck, 1993); ZEITGLEICH (Triton Verlag, Vienna, 1994) and Sound Drifting (Triton Verlag, Vienna, 2000). At the moment, she’s involved as curator in several new projects, and is currently developing archival methods for radio art projects from the 90s.

Inspired by the Fluxus movement and by the ideas of the Eternal Network, she was the founder, in 1987, and the producer until 2000, of the radio art program Kunstradio, on the Austrian State radio ORF. By 1995, Kunstradio had become one of the first online audio art galleries, launched with the support of The Thing in Vienna. Originally referred to as “colour radio”, Kunstradio has since become a hub of international telematic projects involving various media such as radio (FM, AM, short wave), the telephone, and the Net. http://www.kunstradio.at/

Formidable guardian of artistic diversity on the electromagnetic waves, Grundmann has devised ways to build bridges between public institutions and underground artistic circles – serving as much as an infiltrator as a producer. Although she has never called herself an “artist” per se, Heidi Grundmann is, in our minds, a great networking artist, as much for being the enabler who makes vital, creative meetings possible between individuals and collectives around the world, as for everything that she has facilitated among independent artists in terms of access to the technical resources needed for production and dissemination.

To be published online in .dpi : an interview with Heidi Grundmann

-> Studio XX has initiated a grand pan-Canadian tour for Madam Grundmann at InterAccess in Toronto and the Western Front in Vancouver !

at Studio XX Thursday April 14 2005 5:30 p.m. – 7 :30 p.m.
338 Terrasse Saint-Denis, Montréal (Québec) H2X 1E8
À deux pas au sud de l’intersection Sherbrooke et Saint-Denis
Métro Sherbrooke, ou autobus 24 (Sherbrooke) ou 125 (Ontario).
(514) 845-7934 / http://www.studioxx.org
Information: info@studioxx.org

Art, artists and communication in a changing mediascape

Heidi Grundmann will be engaging XX in a conversation about the expansion of the cultural definitions of radio on a continuum with other transmission and telematic media.

Here is in her own words:

“The title ‘Re-Inventing Radio’ was coined in many discussions between Elisabeth Zimmermann, producer of Kunstradio, and myself, when, once again dragging out Brecht’s famous dictum, we tried to explain the seemingly permanent quest of artists to re(dis)cover the original, utopian potential of communication-technologies as “apparatus(ses) of communication“ within an “immense system of channels“ (Brecht) — a quest that has been confounded by persistent political, economical, cultural and esthetic pressures which have been largely successful in turning every emerging communication technology into an “apparatus of distribution“ and/or into part of an increasingly ubiquitous apparatus of surveillance.

In my talk I will be focusing on the evolution and development of radio-art within the context of the (vast) subject of network art practices before and after the internet.

Over the last quarter century radio art has increasingly defined itself as part of telecommunication art and, in so doing, has not only expanded far beyond the context of the broadcast medium but at the same time invaded it. It confronted its vertical few-to-many communication (broadcast) model with the very different many-to-many or one-to-one communication paradigms of new technologies such as the Internet, and more recently, wireless technologies and “locative media“. In a situation in which radio-transmission is quickly becoming the main tool for person-to-person communication (through cellular telephones etc.) as well as machine-to-machine communication, artists are exploring not only the medium of radio and the rapid changes it is undergoing under the impact of remediation and hybridisation but also the radio-technologies which are becoming part of the fabric of our everyday culture. This process is, today, increasingly referred to by the term ‘Expanded Radio’.

My talk will rely, of course, on a series of exemplary “Kunstradio”-related projects. I will be especially concentrating on “Wiencouver”, an ongoing project which illustrates, in an exemplary way, a more than 25 year history in which artists grasped — and tried to cope with — the cultural impact of digitalisation. In fact it often seems that artists were already struggling with the cultural revolution implicit in the emerging communications technology before it had become apparent to the experts and theorists inside the institutions of information- and knowledge-production.”

Master’s Class
At the Centre for Research and Documentation of the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology (CR+D)
Friday April 15, 2005 9 :30 a.m. – 4 :30 p.m. – registration required ateliers@studioxx.org

Changes in the notion of curating radio-art

Network projects are, by definition, distributed over several autonomous locations which makes attempts at central curatorial control not only undesirable but impossible. The traditional notion of curating by experts within the institutions (and also by most professional freelance curators) is challenged by the new collaborative strategies of production/distribution within networks which often leads to a shift of curatorial power to the artists themselves — or to a new, emerging, breed of artist/curator. The workshop will address and explore the dynamics of working with distributed projects and strategies for curatorial/artistic collaboration.

Problems of critical/art historical assessment, documentation and archiving of networked projects:
The methods of free exchange and, consequently, re-use, re-contextualisation and fragmentation of material (even if it is originally produced as a finished work of art) together with the fact that networked projects can never be experienced in their entirety but only in different versions or renderings, make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to apply traditional methods of art-criticism and art-history to the artistic practices in question. Documentation and archiving of such projects are dependent on the engagement and resources of artists, curators, art-critics, art-historians at the different nodes. To complicate matters further, no catalogue of generally accepted methods has been agreed or developed for the documentation of networked production of art and the rapid obsolescence of production and display technologies tends to defeat traditional attempts of documenting and archiving art-projects in the fields of telecommunication and “expanded radio”…

Dispersed telecommunication projects represent a very basic challenge as far as the collecting of documentary material from all the nodes is concerned. Even if there are hours and hours of audio- and videotape, pages of descriptions etc. collected, how can they be evaluated in any meaningful way? Such projects are simply unrepeatable and unpreservable; even simulations of obsolete technology would not help to recreate the network and the processes of exchange, production and distribution within it. It is not possible to experience them in their simultaneous entirety even while they unfold because they can only be experienced in versions, even by the participating artist themselves. Documentation of network projects mostly resides in the private memories of all those who experienced them – from those who were their initiators to those who just happened to come upon them by chance at one network node or another.

But how do we get hold of these memories of fugitive processes and unique constellations and make art-historical sense of them?

The more practical aspects of the workshop will mainly consist in discussing, in relative depth, some issues the participants are especially interested in/puzzled by. We will keep close to practice as much as possible, with carefully selected examples.

$20 members/ $30 non-members
Don’t wait! 15 to 20 seats will be available by reservation:
ateliers@studioxx.org 514.845.0289