Radio art

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Radio art, also known as Transmission Arts, refers to the use of radio for art.

The artist who works in Radio Art is not necessarily a trained DJ, programmer, producer, or engineer, but one who uses sound to make art. The radio medium can be used in ways which are different from what it was intended for.[1]

In that sense, the way the message is transmitted and received by an audience is as important as the message itself. "As an aural art form it reaffirms that it's not just what we say, but the way we say it." [2] In Victoria Fenner's words, "Radio art is art which is specifically composed for the medium of radio and is uniquely suited to be transmitted via the airwaves." [3]

Artists use radio technology (i.e. radio transmission, airwaves...) to communicate artistic compositions for interpretation – exposing their audience to alternate means to experiencing their art through sound verses visualization. Radio Art contributes to new media art - a digitally driven art movement growing in response to the informative technological revolution we live in. “From the artist's point of view radio is an environment to be entered into and acted upon, a site for various cultural voices to meet, converse, and merge in. These artists cross disciplines, raid all genres and recontextualize them into hybrids.” [2]

Radio Art projects can be collaborative including various professional sources, unifying an audio broadcast with science, experimentation, geography, entertainment, etc." Some have approached radio as an architectural space to be constructed sonically and linguistically; or as the site of an event, an arena, or stage. Some used it as a gathering place, or a conduit, a means to create community. Other artists have employed the media landscape itself as the narrative, while others looked into the body as the site and the source; the voicebox, the larynx become medium and metaphor." [2]


This list is a summary of the examples found in the references accompanying this article.

Radio Art media:

Radio waves, Satellites, Synthesized Speech, Human Vocals, Radio Telescopes, Computers, World Wide Web, Sound Equipment


This list is a summary of the examples found in the references accompanying this article.

Traditional genres of Radio Art include:

radio documentary, radio drama, soundscape, sound art, electroacoustic music, sound poetry, performance, open source, translation, interviews, audio galleries, soundscape, sound art, electroacoustic music, sound poetry intended for the radio, spoken word, concerts, experimental narratives, sonic geographies, pseudo documentaries, radio cinema, conceptual and multimedia performances intended for the radio.

Art radio and webradio[edit]

An art radio is a radio station that would dedicate every second of its transmission time to radio art. Although this kind of project can seem utopian in the traditional state of radio, there are few lasting experiences in the underground or community side such as London's ResonanceFM which intend to make radio with art and promote the art of listening.

Also, radio had renewed itself through the Internet. The audio streaming technique had replaced the analogue transmitting system and artists can experiment on radio outside the legal constraints of an FM license for example. Among the webradios which are dedicated to radio art, some broadcast pieces like traditional radios. Some others directly experiment with the medium in the more concrete sense. Radio Astronomy[4] broadcast sounds taken from outer space in real time. Le Poulpe[5] is a networking experimental radio that mix several "spaces" processed and streamed through the Internet. Besides, podcasting can be considered as a new way of broadcasting, thus a new way of bringing radio art to listeners. Of the on-demand kind,[6] is a website which publish sound pieces which explore the different genres of radio art or intend to question the manners of making radio art today. The Ràdio Web MACBA[7] Curatorial series[8] also experiments with the radio art format.

"The origins of radio are deeply rooted in a very idealistic socialist potential to provide the communication necessary to connect people across space and time. At the beginning of the 20th century, radio was the equivalent to the Internet today in terms of its social as well as political possibilities. However, its development into a highly hierarchical system with expensive licensing fees and severe punishments for violations of these laws in order to protect certain industries has resulted in radio space being controlled by guardians of commerce. Radio licensing laws are concerned with the protection of copyrighted material. Radio has the potential to be a completely liberated, mobile and inhabited mass media." [1]

Radio Art Experiments and Project Examples[edit]

Radio Art started broadcasting online on 2006 with a unique system combining Stress Relief and Relaxation Music with Natural Sounds.

Transversal Performance
By: Jacques Foschia and Tetsuo Kogawa
A streaming and networked feedback performance between Jacques Foschia (Brussels) and Tetsuo Kogawa (Tokyo).

Free Radio Linux
By: Radioqualia
Free Radio Linux was an open source, performance and sound project. A kind of spoken-word performance, where a programmed “” (software that converts text into a synthesized human voice) was to recite all 4,141,432 lines of the source code of the kernel, or core, of the Linux operating system.

Switch Off
by Magz Hall

Series of radio installations and actions between 2007-15 explored possible futures of FM analogue radio through the spectrum of radio art practice.

Tree Radio (2015): Yorkshire Sculpture Park, residency and mixed media installation on display till end of 2016.

Dream Vessels (2015/16): Turner Contemporary and Victoria and Albert Museum London.

Reclaim The Waves (2015): participatory radio art installation for Tate Britain, exhibited March 28 - May 9, 2015

Spiritual Radio (2014): FM transmitting book commissioned for Unbinding the Book, exhibited Whitechapel Gallery London, LCC, UAL The Engine Room International Sound Art Exhibition (2015) Morley Gallery, London and featured in Sound and Music's online exhibition A Woman's Work is Never Done for Google Cultural Institute (2015).

Radio Recall installation (2013–14): Radio Arts Showcase, The Beaney House of Arts and Knowledge, Canterbury (2014) and The Old Lookout Gallery, Broadstairs, Kent UK (2013).

Radio Mind (2011): Radio installation, Marrakech Biennale (2014) Deep Wireless Festival, Toronto, Canada, Lightworks Festival LCC, UAL London (2012) The Old Look Out Gallery, Burton Gallery (2011). Broadcast on WGXC 90.7-FM, Boat Radio DAB (UK), Radio Futura, Radiophrenia CCA Gallery Glasgow.

Still Moving Sculpture, Off The Pier (2013): 3 transmitter radio installation Duchamp Festival, Bay Arts Gallery. Radio Papesse Italy and Reboot FM Germany, Suden Exhibition at Kunsthalle Berlin, installed at Symposium Acoustic Ecology, Kent University.

Commercial Break (2012): MuseRuole: Radio Edition, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bozen, Italy and Women’s Museum in Meran, Italy. Lightworks International Arts Festival, UK. The Old Look Out Gallery, Broadstairs, Kent and DAB Boat Radio.

Numbers (2012): 3 transmitter radio installation, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury, Kent and University Galleries, Illinois State University, USA, The Old Look Out Gallery. Broadcast at Addicted2 Radom Festival on Radio Corax Germany. The Dark Outside, Galloway Forest, Scotland.

Babble Station (2012): Whitstable Biennale Satellite, Horsebridge Arts Centre.

Radio Jam (2012): live broadcast network interaction, V22 Gallery London, Summer Radio. Radeq.

Lone Broadcast (2012): Untitled BCN, Barcelona, Spain. The Old Look Out Gallery, Broadstairs, Kent.

Sound Train (2012): performance / public intervention HS1: Canterbury to London.

Feedback Fiesta (2008): Sonic Arts Expo Brighton, live art action on Radio Reverb, Brighton.

LINES OF SIGHT #7. Radio Incarné. Yasunao Tone and Tetsuo Kogawa
By: Barbara Held and Pilar Subirà
A collaboration by the philosopher and pioneer of mini FM radio, Tetsuo Kogawa (Tokyo), and sound artist and exFluxus Yasunao Tone (New York), based on an email exchange on radioart.

Radio Arts

Radio Arts is an independent artists’ group who promote radio as a site for creative experimentation. The collective started in 2001 in South London by radio and sound artists Magz Hall and Jim Backhouse with digital artists Tim Pickup and Nicola Schauerman (Genetic Moo). Radio Arts have held public workshops, produced sound installations, led public interventions, commissioned, published and broadcast new sound works by international artists.

Radio art programs[edit]

A few examples of radio art regular programs.

  • New American Radio (1987-1998): Helen Thorington, Executive Producer; Regine Beyer, Associate Producer. Commissioned and broadcast 300 works internationally, including Terry Allen, Jacki Apple, Diamanda Galas, Suzan-Lori Parks, Pauline Oliveros, Negativland, and Gregory Whitehead.
  • Ars Sonora is a Spanish weekly radio-art show on Radio Clásica (Radio Nacional de España) since 1985, directed by Miguel Álvarez-Fernández.
  • Radio Art is a non-profit top quality radio broadcasting online with a unique system combining excellent anti-stress and relaxation music with natural sounds. The music played is carefully chosen with basic criteria the quality, the poetic verse and the meticulous stream, since 2006, directed by Lambros Mitropoulos.
  • Radia is an international network of community radio stations that share a common interest in radio art. As a regular project it commissions a weekly radio art program and also participates and promote radio art related events.
  • Kunstradio is an Austrian weekly radio-art show on ÖRF since 1987. See also this page for a long list of international radio-artists.
  • Atelier de création radiophonique is a French weekly radio-art show on France Culture since 1969.
  • Something Else is a weekly 4 hour program of Radio Art, Sound Art and Experimental music hosted by Philip von Zweck on WLUW in Chicago since 1995.
  • Radio-System is a work of art by and for the radio (since 2009), in the context of radio art coined as ... radio art as a medium and tool in the construction and expression of the daily realities. The System Radio-study, workshop, home, context of the artist to the radio in a podcast, genre spreading through soundscapes, sound poetry, audio galleries, etc. ... and rock culture's aesthetic experimentation in musical genres such as ambient, noise, drone, experimental, minimalism, low-fi, shoegaze ... Radio-System - audio without shores. Art and Production: Ruben Marino Tolosa. San Justo - Santa Fe - Argentina.
  • The Radio Eyes Podcast is an hour-long, improvised radio art program broadcast via An aural journey through sonic space, showing you things you’ve never heard before.
  • Radio Papesse (Firenze)

Radio Papesse was born in 2006 within the Palazzo delle Papesse Contemporary Art Center, Siena, Italy. It was meant to serve as a platform wherein get in touch with contemporary art and those production at the crossroad between music, sound art, visual art and new ways of storytelling. Since January 2009 Radio Papesse has moved forward independently and it’s now a non-profit cultural association. It is member of Radia and WRA. Its aim is to associate a discourse on contemporary art and the sonic dimension of contemporary culture together with music and listenings you wouldn’t find on other radios. Radio Papesse is an open on-line and on-demand audio archive and a web radio streaming 24/7: among the easier listenings, it gives room to experimental audio productions, sound art, sound poetry and soundscapes.

Radio Art events[edit]

  • Radio Arts Showcase was an exhibition at The Beaney House of Arts and Knowledge, Canterbury April 2014 featured especially commissioned radio works from Gregory Whitehead, Joaquim Cofreces, Magz Hall, Jim Backhouse Michael McHugh, Noizechoir and Genetic Moo alongside materials from radio art workshops in acoustic ecology, field recording, transmitter-building, Duchamp-inspired ‘radical vox-pops’ at The Turner Contemporary, Margate, Beach House, Herne Bay, the LV21 Light Ship in the Medway (UK).

"AIR / EAR" is the assembly of a radio transmission in a / a space / cultural hall of a small town in rural Argentina. Over the years my relationship with the radio, I was penetrating into the ambient sound of space around me constantly, in everyday life and transmission of these devices, like having a pair of headphones built all the time. This combination made in time I discovered the term radio art and began to investigate.

"AIR / EAR" joins two English terms related to the transmission and listening to together form a Spanish word, meaning fresh, oxygenation and giving to know one thing.

"AIR / EAR is through sound show the different ways in which the radio art grows, so by means of a call over the Internet are invited to participate in this event, transforming it into a sample collectively.

"AIR / EAR" arises to make known a new art form, the radio art through sound public places and means of communication.


External links[edit]