I think that the mistake that we often make is to collapse these two as if one is more important than the other. A lot of us forget this relationship when we articulate our politics, and we create a false hierarchy or priority. We forget the important philosophical dimension of everything that we do. So thanks again, Shveta, Joy and Shuddha, and please use the chance to speak to them. All other artists, all groups are present in this room. We will have an extra long lunch break now.
I advise you to please use the restaurants in the neighbourhood for this and come back in time. Maybe we should start a bit earlier? First of all we want to introduce you to the context of free radio we work in, and how it has been constituted in Germany, especially in Hamburg. We only broadcast in Hamburg. Free radio was not to become a kind of vessel to contain such disintegration, but to offer a space of critical reflection instead.
Basically, the political structure of our radio is based on people getting together and associating in order to run free radio. Also important to us at the FSK was not to take our location in a city for granted, but to establish a connection to the local, doing grassroots work. Of course it never worked out like that. We never wanted our radio organization to remain some abstract idea, but to become concrete through a discussion process. Free radio has always seen itself as the location where suppressed information gets disseminated, based on the assumption that public information is manipulated by plainly leaving out specific facts.
Of course free radio has always referred to media theory or the history of leftist media practice. Basically, this text dwells on the transformation of radio from a distribution apparatus into a communication apparatus. It is merely an apparatus of distribution; it only shares out. And now on the positive side, that is to turn to the positive side of radio, here is a proposal to give radio a new function: radio should be converted from a distribution system into a communication system.
Brecht thought radio was merely a distribution apparatus.
Apparently the fact that radio disseminates the voice through many radios is not satisfactory enough for him; he thinks the transformation of radio into a means of communication is more important, and that is the interpretation that other free radios have adopted. People own them; they have them at home.
The media have only one setback: they impede communication, which is seen here as being interactive. Following Enzensberger, any transistor radio can be considered a radio station.
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The distribution of radios, its massive availability as cheap commodities is seen as a chance by Enzensberger, but this chance can only be grasped when the setback is removed. The medium must be reversed and transformed technically in order to become political; only if that process is carried out in the hands of the masses, can radio become a true revolutionary medium.
The medium can only be appropriated if that process of reversal is accomplished. We assume that these practices can only be brought about in specific situations, and we will introduce you to some of them. Our next point argues that the specific structures of radio impede thorough appropriation. First, we address the question of broadcaster and listener. We knew other radio stations do music request programs, boasting of their huge archives and sorting out the requests before going on air. Music request programs are a typical radio format and we wanted to adapt it to free radio. The first and most obvious one means the listeners become broadcasters for the duration of their song.
We favor men with record collections as well as people with a certain need to show off, therefore the program mirrors a music and group socialization. In this case, a living-room broadcasts to other living-rooms, so that the most diverse reception situations become audible.
Incoming calls react on former ones. For us, direct communication is not as significant as the distribution of music through all radios, which makes it possible to refer to earlier calls. There is no pre-selection, as in other radios. As this program was aired every two weeks, it enabled us to rethink our practice in new ways.
Another subject in our work on which we have based various radio shows is the uncanniness of the diffused voice. He talks about the origins of music being nowhere and everywhere it is listened to. Radio destroys precisely this neutrality of space. To Anders, music is in any place a radio broadcasts the voice. One is in the music. It is nowhere. Ten steps away, the same music resonates from the neighboring house.
Since music is here as well, music is localized both here and there, planted in space as two poles. Each loudspeaker claims to be a separate voice.
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So radio always exists in plural form. What marks the uncanniness of radio is the diffusion of the here and now, of the immediate presence that we associate normally with the voice. Actually, the ideas that hold radio as a medium of control are quite prevalent. Earlier on we introduced you to a leftist discourse that sees the manipulation of public information as a byproduct of the mass media.kinun-houju.com/wp-content/revicizy/1931.php
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The idea that listeners are spellbound by radio plays an important role in a left-wing practice of appropriation. Because both deny that the actual listening to radio, which transforms space, can bring about other radio practices. If we realize that it hinders appropriation, then we can conclude that it is this very ghostliness that must be challenged.
Here we have an interesting contrast: on the one hand, the uncontrollability of the voice — its uncontrollability through radio — and on the other hand, the increasingly controlled city. In Hamburg, everyday life is increasingly controlled; in other words, everyday life is placed along other controllable and predictable situations.
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Behavior that deviates from the norm is ruled out. Zones of consumption stand out in that only certain things are possible there. Each zone regulates behavior patterns: that which is possible in one zone becomes impossible in other zones. The most extreme case is the central train station, where sitting on the ground is already prohibited behavior. The central train station is a prototype of this development, which will take over the downtown area and its shopping quarters.
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It will be impossible to have a political public space in these areas. These models are based on the prospect of scattering listeners with transistor radios all over the city space, making radio site-specific and adapting radio to the situation of its reception. The first model is about making radio-listening public. Our action in December last year involved broadcasting an open invitation to radio-listening in public space.
It lasted for ten years, and it was defended victoriously already in FSK covered the development almost in its entirety and participated in the accompanying demonstrations. Kalkman argued the problem was the quantity of people a demonstration would involve. First, they were concerned about a potential loss in sales volume, which would be detrimental during the Christmas period.
Second, the downtown area would be already too full by that time to allow for demonstrations and larger crowds could cause conflicts. He suggested timing adjustments that would allow people to shop during the day and demonstrate in the evening. The point is that during this period, every time a large group of people tried to make its way into the city center, it was blocked off by a three or four-ring security cordon and plenty of water cannons.
That theme was pinned down and no real discussion regarding the political context of such eviction developed. That still seemed too little to us, because we wanted radio to intervene. Buy radios. Pauli and Schanzenviertel neighborhoods and reduced to a minimum there. There were declarations as in a rally, with slogans, music and live coverage from the demonstration which is something that could be done more often. We invited the listeners to take their radios into the city and to build a diffused demonstration — not an assembly, but a diffusion. It was a very heterogeneous situation, which meant people could appropriate this situation any way they liked.
It was clear that having all these radio carriers on a Saturday in the city center could make more things happen. So a lot of different people joined this thing and made other interventions, because it was clear to them that there were enough people around to cover them in case they did something that would normally cause trouble.
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