Trans-X, a Symposium about Transmission Art

May 25-27, 2012
$70/$40 student rate (price includes keynote speakers, paper sessions, workshops, installations, & performances)
Click here to register

Friday May 25th

6:00 pm Registration / Opening Reception / Tour of Transmission Art Installations

7:00 Opening Remarks: Transmission Art in Practice by Darren Copeland
Rooted in the earliest experiments with radio, Transmission Art has continued to flourish with experiments with wireless communications technology over the past 100 years. The 21st Century is not excluded from this experimentation as artists have ventured into exploring a variety of mobile-based platforms and more lesser known forms of transmission such as VLF. The terrain of transmission art is dynamic and fluid, always open to redefinition. With NAISA being a sound art organization, we ask the question, what new sound art experiences are possible in the transmission and mobile media platforms?

Session 1: Explorations in Transmission Art (chair Darren Copeland)
Jennifer Cherniack / Gintas Tirilis / Chris Myhr Amos Latteier / Alexandra Gelis

The Trans-X Transmission Art Residency brought together 5 Canadian media artists to create transmission art works with a support system for exploring audio and transmission technology. Four of the works are featured at this year's Deep Wireless Festival and the 5th will be presented later this summer as part of NAISA's Sound Travels Festival of Sound Art. This session will introduce you to the works created in the Trans-X residency and include discussion by the artists about their process and challenges they faced during their creation process.

8:00 pm Forms of Transmission Concert 1
works by Jennifer Cherniack, Christof Migone and Kristen Roos

Saturday May 26th

10:00 am Keynote Address
Foundations of Transmission Art
by Galen Joseph-Hunter
Informed by her recent publication Transmission Arts: Artists and Airwaves (PAJ Publications: 2011), Joseph-Hunter will discuss key inventors, activists, and organizations, including free103point9, who have helped pave the way for Transmission Arts. Citations of specific artists and works will spark dialogue towards defining the qualitative principles of the genre.

11:15 am Short Break

11:30 Session #2: Transmission & Intervention (Chair: Jessica Thompson)
Christof Migone / James Partaik

Christof Migone
Radio Naked

The presentation of an overview of projects involving radio and other means of transmission since the late 1980s to the present. Contexts aside from radio include dance, installation, performance and publications. The works display a recurring attention to voice, language, translation, boredom, endurance, abjection, play, and humour. They also question the listener's expectations, flirt with the unintelligible, and descend readily into noise. Once radio is stripped of its trappings, we are left with the sonic somatic ready to emit.

James Partaik
techNOMAD device art

This paper examines transmission tactics for the occupation and imbrications of urban infrastructures and interdisciplinary creations. TechNOMAD device art, or mutant technologies and art actions coalesce with the emerging discourses surrounding the issues of site specific art practices in the age of the networked landscape. techNOMAD art interventions actuate urban space and its infrastructures, revealing issues implicit to the site, the technologies themselves in a specific cultural context and the creative actions used to transform public space in a tangible way. The notion of wireless, meshed networks, hacking and real-time technologies extend the parameters of transmission art to the realm of the invisible forces of pure dynamics, creating a complex, multilayered reality.

12:45 Lunch (not provided)

2:00 pm Session 3: Performance & Transmission in Public Places (Chair David Ogborn)
Geoffrey Shea/Alan Boulton / Jessica Thompson / Rui Chaves

Geoffrey Shea & Alan Boulton
Telegraph: Transmission in a streetscape audio artwork

Telegraph is a multi-nodal sound installation, supported by a network of microcontrollers connected by radio transmitters. The design of the infrastructure requires a high degree of flexibility and mutability. The transmission of audio files could easily stress a wireless network. The broad range of sound manipulations requires us to think differently about the networks functionality, but also to take advantage of inherent weaknesses (using latency to create an echo effect, for example). Flexibility is also required because we expect to add further functionality in future iterations, including interfacing with the viewer's mobile phone as a locating device and a sound input/output device.

Jessica Thompson
Noisemakers – Mobile Sound , Performativity and Public Space

This paper examines some of the conditions that inform how mobile sound can create new modes of performativity in urban environments. Through a discussion of pieces such as Lalya Gaye, Ramia Mazé, Lars Erik Holmquist’s Sonic City and related artworks, I will examine how sound generated through the moving body heightens our physical and cognitive experience of the acoustic ecology of cities, creating dialogues between body, artwork and site through embodied gesture, acoustic feedback, novelty and play. The second part of the paper will investigate the spatial and social implications of broadcast sound by examining how sound, as a manifestation of voice, extends the edges of the body into the space of others.

Rui Chaves
Liveshout - mobile transmission as a performance practice

Think of someone in the city under a bridge, broadcasting high-quality audio with a mobile phone . This one of the of the basic premises in creating liveshout - the expansion of a new form of live sound art, that while relying in ubiquitous technology, suggests new modes of situated listening.

The presentation will thus focus on presenting some of the aesthetic and technical issues involved in mobile streaming. Intersecting crucial issues such as presentation (context, visuals and sound spatialization) with performance strategies that deal with remote, temporal and spatial themes.

3:30 am Short Break

3:45 Break-Out Workshops

1/ Micro-Radio Transmitter workshop with Hector Centeno
- This workshop will let you experience what radio transmission is like and how it could be developed into radio art and micro radio. The transmitter that the participant will make has only a 30-meter radius of transmission, but people would experience a convivial wireless imagination.

2/ Contact Mic Workshop with Kristen Roos
- Build your own contact mic and then explore the local sound environment. Inaudible sounds made audible, explore the interior sounds of street furniture, fences and sign-posts.

3/ Sound in the Digital Realm / Transmission Transitions with Victoria Fenner
- New technologies are creating new possibilities for sound and radio artists to explore. Many are moving over to digital platforms such as the internet, smart phones, ipads and tablets. And even the old-fashioned radio transmitter is being used in new ways. This workshop is an exploration of some of these new possibilities, and the specific compositional challenges of creating for this new environment.

5:00pm Break for dinner (not provided)

8:00 pm Forms of Transmission Concert 2
performances by James Partaik and duo Hector Centeno with Tetsuo Kogawa (from Japan)

Sunday May 27th

10:00 am Keynote address
Sound as transmission: towards and away from non-cochlear sound art
by David Cecchetto

The "expanded" understanding of sound that resists the implicit claims to authenticity of both Schaeffer's "sound itself" and Cage's attentional injunction nonetheless includes both, and it is precisely through this ambivalence that we can fully embrace sound's potential to refigure contemporary forms of communication (and particularly networks). Discussed will be Two projects—SRMP and Exurbia—that leverage the metaphorics of sound to trouble existing understandings of specific forms of network communication. The conceptual and material dimensions that constitute these projects stridulate in a hum of recursive transmission—in novel modes of "two-way communication rather than one-way distribution" (Joseph-Hunter)—that offer fresh vectors for considering the constitution and consequences of networked aural interaction in contemporary artistic practices.

11:15 am Short Break

11:30 Panel: Locating the transmission & Transmitting the location (Moderator David Cecchetto)
Geoffrey Shea / Victoria Fenner / Kristen Roos
A sonic portrait of a place, a site specific transmission art performance and locative media apps for mobile phones are each points of reference in this panel discussion. How does location inform artistic content? How does the way in which an artwork is transmitted determine the experience?

12:45 Lunch (not provided)

2:00 pm Session 4: Radio in Retrospect (Chair Galen Joseph-Hunter)

Hethre Contant
Lessons from Weimar Radio

The Weimar Republic was Germany's first democracy, and the first period to use radio as a mass medium. There were a number of boundaries—political and technical—that limited the types of transmission that could be produced. This resulted in programming that was, for the most, uninspired, failing to fulfill the medium's potential. However, instances of citizens overcoming these restrictions and producing work that successfully utilized the possibilities of the medium do exist. This discussion details the limitations of radio during The Weimar Republic and explores the methods that enabled certain practitioners to create aesthetically interesting work tailored to the medium.

Chris Trimmer
Back to the Future: Radio as Music, Radio as Cognition

What is the future for documentary radio? Have we already witnessed it’s creative peak? Looking back and re-considering the innovations and philosophies of radio producers of the past 50 years provides a window to a possible future for documentary radio. There is vast potential for documentary radio to expand as a medium through the incorporation of musical and cognitive psychology principles. This paper will present a brief overview of historical steps within this arena, with a specific focus on Glenn Gould’s Solitude Trilogy.

Magz Hall
Radio art as practice based research

Explores the rich history of radio as an artistic medium considering how radio art might be situated in relation to more established discourses mapping the shifting parameters of radio art in the digital era; specifically how radio has moved from the shared 'live' event to one consumed \'on demand\' by a fragmented audience. The implications of this are explored through a radio practice which focuses on the productive tensions which characterise the artist's engagement with radio and technology and the autonomous potentialities offered by the reappropriation of obsolete technology and the networks promised by the exponential development of new media.

4:00 pm Short Break

4:15 Break-Out Workshops

1/ Micro-Radio Transmitter workshop with Hector Centeno
- This workshop will let you experience what radio transmission is like and how it could be developed into radio art and micro radio. The transmitter that the participant will make has only a 30-meter radius of transmission, but people would experience a convivial wireless imagination.

2/ Contact Mic Workshop with Kristen Roos
- Build your own contact mic and then explore the local sound environment. Inaudible sounds made audible, explore the interior sounds of street furniture, fences and sign-posts.

3/ Sound in the Digital Realm / Transmission Transitions with Victoria Fenner
- New technologies are creating new possibilities for sound and radio artists to explore. Many are moving over to digital platforms such as the internet, smart phones, ipads and tablets. And even the old-fashioned radio transmitter is being used in new ways. This workshop is an exploration of some of these new possibilities, and the specific compositional challenges of creating for this new environment.

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2012 New Adventures in Sound Art