Radio Otherwise
Art, Communication, Learning
2021 — ongoing

Listening, Ecologies, Cybernetics

Together with a wide network of radio enthusiasts, Kate Donovan, Monai de Paula Antunes and Niko de Paula Lefort explore the plurality of experiences involved in radio-making in connection to ecological thinking. Radio Otherwise is an ongoing artistic research project motivated by the many knots which art, knowledge-making/sharing and communication encounter.

Thinking and doing radio otherwise means focussing beyond purely anthropogenic transmissions, recognising relationality within the spectrum of more-than-human radio ecologies: the sun's rays, lightning strikes, meteors, the radio memories held in soil from radioactive pollutants. It also means to research and reflect upon alternative histories and forms of radio-making through its complex materialities and multifarious aural traditions; special attention is paid to the spatial qualities of radio and radio-making, from experimenting with
nomadic outdoor studios, building small-scale transmission ecologies (Friz), to observing how the frequency spectrum is occupied in place of rich biodiversity (Krause).

Radio Otherwise promotes radio's emancipatory potential, inspired by pirate, free and community radios, as well as the MiniFM movement (Kogawa), and supported by decolonial and feminist literature and practices. It recognises the recent turn towards bioacoustics and the connected practices of listening as ways to re-connect with 'nature'. But the power dynamics of listening can be just as violent as those of 'the gaze'. Radio Otherwise brings listening together in a constellation with ecologies and cybernetics, in an attempt to carefully and critically move beyond the human/nature dichotomy, to deal with messy boundary-crossings in order to recognise situated relationalities with/in place; we seek dialogical relations with environments, through the development of 'media' as well knowledge sharing/making processes, encouraged by the boundlessness of radio's artistic and cultural expressions. In this way, listening and radio-making can also be methods to sit with uncomfortable relationalities, the relentlessness of the Anthropocene.

Between April and July 2021, Radio Otherwise: listening, ecologies and cybernetics was taught as a seminar for master students of the Arts and Media program of the Universität Potsdam in Germany. We met regularly, reading, discussing and experimenting with bioacoustics and radio ecologies in many green spaces in Berlin such as the Prinzessinnengarten Moritzplatz and Hermannstrasse, the Gartenarbeitschule Wedding and the Floating University - where we also hosted a full day of live radio on 88,4 FM Berlin and 90,7 FM Potsdam. The students involved were Patrique Degen, Manuel Hoffmann, Dominika Majstrowicz, Giacomo Marinsalta, Jann Rasmus Petersen, Sophie Warmbrunn and Johanna Weber. We also had the pleasure of hosting the special guests Niko de Paula Lefort, Nica Bue, Felicity Mangan, Martin Howse, Constantin Engelmann and Till Boverman (PLONK), Martin Kuentz and HOOOOPS. 

Ever since, we have been gathering occasionally with whovever is interested for experimenting, talking, building, listening, recording, transmitting, receiving.

Circling Threasholds
Forests of A ntennas, Oceans of Waves - An exploration of art and theory in electromagnetic urban environments

On May 27th 2022, Radio Otherwise broadcast and performed a special contribution to the series of artistic interventions in urban spaces of Berlin Forests of Antennas, Oceans of Waves.

  A transitional, environmental radiophoni space for the encounter and interaction of signals, bodies, ecologies and knowledges made while circling thresholds o transmissions and architectures, beyond the purely anthropogenic.

A boat was be the temporary studio for this durational transmission, as it moves slowly
from the periphery in towards the city of Berlin. A studio that both receives and transmits, generating a complex system of
interdependence shared with others in relation: we will listen out for an equal variety of live, sounding inputs from diverse
microphones and electromagnetic signal from various antennas, in the immediate—and changing—location, all the while streaming online and narrowcasting
on microFM, creating a shifting range of local reception within a 400m circle around the boat. Listeners can connect online, pick
up a passing FM signal from the shore, or gather for the culmination event—which
will only be narrowcast, and set to coincide with sunset at 21:13.