Radio vs. Rectangles: Radio space as a place for creating presence

Radio vs. Rectangles
Radio space as a place for creating presence in a screen-based time
June 8, 10, 15, 17, 24 (full schedule here)
16:00-18:00 CET
Open office hours on June 20 and 21 (16:00-18:00)
Online via zoom
Fee: €85 (incl. radio kit cost and VAT, excl. shipping costs)
Buy tickets HERE

Facilitators: Peter Flemming and Martín Rodríguez
Language: English
Max participation: 15
Suitable for: ages 15+, anyone who is interested in working creatively with radio, anyone who is interested in learning about and making a radio. No previous experience in electronics needed
Requirements: check extra materials list here

The goal of this ears-on/hands-on workshop is for participants to explore radio space as a medium for
making art through the creation of their own radio artwork. Participants will build their own radio receivers and transmitters while expanding their radio art material vocabulary.

Where screen-based interactions tether us in a dull two-dimensionality, non-visual radio spaces engage our ears and body. Radio v. Rectangles offers a crystalline counterpoint to the rectangle world and proposes that a radio space can connect us in ways a screen cannot.

Due to this unrelenting virus, most of our social interactions these days—from work meetings to birthday parties to funerals—are a mosaic of flattened faces in little rectangles. Screen-based efforts to re-create something close to ‘normal’ can leave us wanting more : a virtual cocktail doesn’t have many high-fives or hugs; there’s no sidewalk for spontaneous encounters in the rectangle world. It’s something at least, but we are still left with a longing for physical connection and intimacy.

Radio v. Rectangles culminates in a group cabaret performance on the online radio platform Acoustic Mirror (June 24) and played later on WORM Radio (July 13).

Crystal Radio Kit

crystal radio receiver
germanium diode detectors (the “cat’s whisker” part of the circuit)
sensitive piezo earpiece (to hear the signals your radio receives, without batteries!)
alligator clip cables

simple am transmitter
crystal oscillators in a can (two different frequencies)
small audio transformer
mini colourful breadboard (to build your circuit on)
pre-wired audio jack (to plug into a sound source)
AA battery holder(to hold 4 batteries to power your transmitter)

bonus parts for optional soldered version of transmitter
custom made printed circuit board
solderable socket for holding crystal oscillator
solderable socket for holding audio transformer
small on/off switch
LED indicator (shows transmitter is ON)
solderable audio jack

See full kit manifest with photos here
Additional materials you will need to get yourself


Class structure
Over five structured two-hour classes, supplemented by two (optional) open labs, this course takes participants from the material origins of radio to its contemporary omnipresence.

Each class session ties the technology of radio to conceptual, critical, and practical artistic building
blocks to consider as you approach the creation of your radio artwork. The workshop will facilitate a
coaching circle where you will receive constructive feedback about your artwork by the instructors and
your peers.

Through transmission/listening exercises you will begin to develop a personal understanding for radio and how it applies to your practice. As a way of making concrete the immateriality of radio, you will receive a material kit for use in group building sessions where together we will construct Crystal Radio receivers and matching simple AM transmitters.

What is radio space?
When radio waves are distilled and paired with sound vibrations, presence is carried across space and time. Source and reception acoustic environments blend, and we can engage physically and mentally with the transmission. This multi-dimensionality is radio space.

About the facilitators

Peter Flemming is an artist who has been active for over twenty years. His research interests include ad-hoc architecture, informal engineering, fermentation, neuromimes, solar power, waste, harvest, saunas, electromagnetically activated materials, makeshift amplification devices, and designs for open-source hardware. Flemming’s work is a continuously evolving vocabulary of conceptual and technical ecologies, materializing in site-specific projects that are resolved intuitively and experimentally.

Flemming is a prolific educator, teaching technological literacy in countless institutional, citizen, online, and informal settings, often alongside a residency or exhibition. His pedagogy is always connected to the current research interests of his artistic practice, and supported by the development of specialized digital resources for knowledge sharing.

Martín Rodríguez’s work emerges from personal experiences as a multidisciplinary Chicanx artist and independent curator raised along the southwest border of the United States. By investigating the margins of sound, he mixes performance with interventional happenings, and installations that engage the present. 

In addition to producing his own work, he organises and curates various events, happenings, and festivals. Including Acoustic Mirror, a live streaming radio concert and experimental broadcast series, as well as the international digital art festival Sight and Sound Festival (2019), Ibrida*Pluri A/V Festival (2019), and PirateBlocRadio In-Situ (2017).  From 2014 to 2018, he worked as Technical Director, Lab Director, and Co-director of Eastern Bloc, an artist-run centre dedicated to presenting emerging media artists in Montréal, Canada.

For any questions, please contact workshop coordinator