Workshop in Kopenhagen: „Radio Art in Turmoil“

Radio Art in Turmoil –
Current Tendencies & Perspectives of an Art Form 2018 – 2048

A Workshop organized & conceptualized by Ania Mauruschat, Morten Michelsen & Holger Schulze.

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, 10 am – 6 pm,
University of Kopenhagen
Karin Blixens Vej 1
DK-2300 Copenhagen
Sound Studies Lab, Room 22.0.11


  • 10.00 – 11.00 Ania Mauruschat (Basel/Zurich, CH):
    Avantgarde, Hörspiel, Media Art
    In 1921 the Russian vanguard artist Velimir Chlebnikov described in a little text “The Radio of the Future”. By then the medium was still brand-new and Chlebnikov imagined for it a golden age to come: Radio signals would be applied to intensify the revolutionary manpower in factories and agriculture, radio even would transmit sensations of taste and smell, but first and foremost radio would serve the education of the rural population and would help to found revolutionary communities via radio theatres and radio clubs. Inspired by Russian vanguard ideas Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill scrutinized in their experimental Hörspiel “Der Flug der Lindberghs” (1929/30) the social and revolutionary dimension of the vanguard medium radio as well. Round about 100 years after Chlebnikov, Brecht & Weill radio has become a highly formatted and individualized medium, even more so in times of podcasting and transnational on-demand listening. Yet, its potential to create communities of course still exists and it has been rediscovered in recent past e.g. via independent radio art festivals, public listening sessions of radio drama and live performances like the “Symphony of Sirens” (2017) by Andreas Ammer and FM Einheit. In my presentation, I will discuss different contemporary examples regarding their artistic practices and epistemological dimensions and ask in what respect they could serve as models for the future of radio art in times of crisis.
  • 11.00 – 11.30 Coffee Break
  • 11.30 – 12.30 Heather Contant (Sydney, AUS):
    Radio, Crisis, and Mobilization
    Radio and crisis have a long history of correspondence. Creative practitioners have repeatedly worked with this form of electromagnetic energy to broadcast content about crisis, create crisis, or respond to crisis. They have also brought ‘radio’ into an existential crisis with itself by questioning its established norms, structures, and practices at different times throughout history. However, this sort of ‘crisis of the medium’ presents an opportunity for people, such as the members of the radio collective LIGNA, to explore new possibilities of radio by developing new forms of extended radio, such as their radically interactive Radio Ballet performances and their app Warten.
  • 12.30 – 14.00 Lunch
  • 14.00 – 15.00 Jan Striker (Copenhagen, DK):
    The Lake – Creating a Platform for Artistic Exploration
    The Lake Radio is a Copenhagen based freeform, artist driven radio station swimming against the tide. The Lake focuses on exploratory, experimental and interesting music, sounds and radio art from all times, all countries, and in all languages. The radio stream runs 24 hours of the day and you never know what will play next. The people behind the radio believe that radio art is how you organise a radio station; how you build a community around it; how you operate both locally and internationally at the same time; how you free radio art from the idea of “the work”.
  • 15.00 – 16.00 Jochen Meißner (Berlin, GER):
    Subversive Radio Art – An Outdated Concept?
    My input aims at a little overview of different tendencies in “Hörspiel” concerning the concept of subversion in times of disruption. A short summary of developments in recent past will lead to an outlook at the distant future, after addressing various examples of contemporary works of German, Austrian and Danish audio art works, which could be tied together by the term subversion: Subversion of the institution, the medium and the audience.
  • 16.00 – 16.30 Coffee
  • 16.30 – 17.30 Kate Donovan (Potsdam/Berlin, GER):
    Networks of Transmission: Ecological Radio Art
    The most productive discourses of the anthropocene acknowledge multi-species interconnectivity and trans-scalar perspectives as imperative in these times of ecological crises. To think about radio art in an expanded sense also means to realise and acknowledge such multi-species networks of transmission. What I term ecological radio art deals with both natural and technological modes of transmission simultaneously, multiple scales, and collectivity in terms of producing or listening to the work. In this talk, I will present some examples of ecological radio art, including the garden radio art festival Datscha Radio 17.
  • 17.30 – 18.00 Grand Final Discussion


Room 22.0.11. (i.e. building no. 22, ground floor, room no. 11)
Department of Arts and Cultural Studies (IKK)
University of Copenhagen (KU)
Karin Blixens Vej 1
DK-2300 Copenhagen

No fee, but please register yourself to the lecture by sending an email to ania.mauruschat(at)



In 1970 Klaus Schöning spoke of the Hörspiel as “verwaltete Kunst”: “administered art”. The renowned German editor and fierce supporter of the avant-garde genre of Neues Hörspiel was referring to the dependency of radio artists on public broadcasting stations in two respects: the expansive technological means of production as well as the support of editors. A by-product of this was bureaucratic control over productions and artists. However, these same institutions also guaranteed the existence and possibilities for growth of this powerful yet subtle art form of the oldest electronic medium, opening up a space for sophisticated experiments and bringing in international artists and collaborations.

50 years after Neues Hörspiel, the situation has radically changed: affordable digital technology liberated radio art in all respects. Today, artists are working independently and thus bypass the ‘gatekeepers’. But with this emancipation, institutionalised radio art is in danger of becoming a “vanishing territory of art” (Virginia Madsen). Due to political and economic reasons, the managerial elite seems more interested in making acoustic stories available via podcast for download on the internet than in artistic research and experiments with sound and radio waves as a crucial mission for public broadcasters. Amongst other countries, such as Australia, this also holds true for Denmark where the last remnants of radio art just have been cut at the Danish Radio (DR).

However, artists in love with the medium continue to search for and find spaces to work and challenge this electronic art form: by creating new, subversive art interventions, such as LIGNA’s Radio Ballet, by re-defining radio art beyond its traditional boundaries towards the inclusion of e.g. cosmic natural radio as an artistic means, by experimenting with new kinds of narration, production and presentation and of course also by exploring the potentials of podcasting. But how will this multitude of post-public-service radiophonic artwork find its audience? How will these productions be financed? Why should they be called “radiophonic” anymore? Who will archive them? Will it be possible to establish an independent discourse about different tendencies and developments? Will the liberated version of radio art manage to grow and prosper on its own, or will it need institutions to protect and support its existence in the end again? Last but not least, what role will public broadcasters play for all this in the future?

The workshop wishes to explore the current tendencies of radio art, its challenges and chances. It serves as a preparatory meeting for an international conference in spring 2020. The conference’s topic will be “RADIO ART IN TURMOIL: Between Public Broadcasting & Independent Art 1948 – 2048”.

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