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Program 527: Radio Art

KALW Broadcast Date: August 3, 2018 | Host: Andrew Weathers

In honor of her 90th birthday this year, the program will feature the work Partial Perceptions by the American sound artist and writer Helen Thorington. She is the founder of the non-profit New Radio and Performing Arts, which is an organization that commissions and archives new and experimental radio art, sound art, net art, and mixed reality works. For the past 35 years, Thorington’s work has been aired on terrestrial and internet radio internationally. All of the works on the program are from her compilation RadiusTransmissions from Broadcast Artists.

The program also shines a light on a Bay Area local composer, and Other Minds festival veteran, Donald Swearingen. Swearingen is a composer, performer, multimedia artist and designer of interactive performance systems and installations. He frequently collaborates with Pamela Z and Laetitia Sonami.

Last on the program is the Canadian composer, radio artist, teacher, and sound ecologist, Hildegard Westerkamp. She worked closely with R. Murray Schafer at the World Soundscape Project from 1973-1980. Westerkamp is one of North America’s leading ambient sound composers.

Toward a Definition of Radio Art – Heidi Grundman

1. Radio art is the use of radio as a medium for art.

2. Radio happens in the place it is heard and not in the production studio.

3. Sound quality is secondary to conceptual originality.

4. Radio is almost always heard combined with other sounds – domestic, traffic, tv, phone calls, playing children etc.

5. Radio art is not sound art – nor is it music. Radio art is radio.

6. Sound art and music are not radio art just because they are broadcast on the radio.

7. Radio space is all the places where radio is heard.

8. Radio art is composed of sound objects experienced in radio space.

9. The radio of every listener determines the sound quality of a radio work.

10. Each listener hears their own final version of a work for radio combined with the ambient sound of their own space.

11. The radio artist knows that there is no way to control the experience of a radio work.

12. Radio art is not a combination of radio and art. Radio art is radio by artists.

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links

Title: Partial Perceptions
Composer: Helen Thorington
Performers: Helen Thorington
Recording Title: Radius – Transmissions from Broadcast Artists Vol. 1
Record Label: Nonsequitur Records
Catalog Number: WN0013


Title: Salvation at 1 AM
Composer: Donald Swearingen
Performers: Donald Swearingen
Recording Title: Radius – Transmissions from Broadcast Artists Vol. 2
Record Label: Nonsequitur Records
Catalog Number: WN0013


Title: Türen Der Wahrnehmungen
Composer: Hildegard Westerkamp
Performers: Hildegard Westerkamp
Recording Title: Radius – Transmissions from Broadcast Artists Vol. 4
Record Label: Nonsequitur Records
Catalog Number: WN0013

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