“The radio play? Do you really believe it exists?” This question was asked by the pioneering radio author Friedrich W. Bischoff in his 1931 self-referential piece “Das Hörspiel vom Hörspiel” (The Radio Play about Radio Plays), with more than a hint of self-irony. And indeed, until a few years ago, this question would not have come as a surprise to anyone. The reason being that after the radio hype of the “golden Fifties” and the 1970s much-publicized rise of the “new radio play”, radio and radio art had vanished to the margins of media awareness. Now, however, audio art is more self-confident than ever. And rightly so: it is omnipresent as an artistic statement and can hardly be ignored. It enters the media market in audio book form; it is presented in planetariums, cinemas and clubs or, as an element of hybrid performance style and installations, in theatres and galleries. Visual artists and performance artists have discovered the immediacy of acoustic media and radio at the same time as sociologists, sound designers, researchers in cultural studies and city planners did so. This contemporary “renaissance of radio art” is, in fact, receiving enormous attention outside the realms of radio itself. Radio stations are looking for partners in other cultural fields, radio playwrights are working outside conventional media sector boundaries, thus focusing on a polyvalent and international art and cultural scene.
All in all good times, indeed, for the project “rádio d-cz”, since it aims to promote this very development. “rádio d-cz” is sending international teams consisting up of writers, visual artists, radio playwrights, noise collectors and musicians on explorational expeditions into the realities of German-Czech life-worlds. Five curated pieces of radio art outlined a hypothetical map of the social terrain of both countries consisting of history and stories, of sound landscapes or streams of memory. The border crossings are characterised by their playful, surprising and adventurous manner.
The five radio art pieces and a short radio play series were produced and broadcast by Deutschlandradio Kultur, SWR, WDR, ORF and Czech National Radio. Beyond the radio broadcast, the pieces were presented on the spot, which suits the medium in so far as ever since its invention it links the intimacy of private listening with the promise of bringing the whole world to one’s ears. The two exhibitions “Sounds. Radio – Art – New Music” in the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) and “rádio d-cz in tranzitdisplay” in Prague’s tranzitdisplay gallery presented the genre of radio art as a tangible experience, both spatially and aurally.
A project by Zipp – German-Czech cultural projects, an initiative of the Federal Cultural Foundation, in cooperation with Asociace MLOK, Prague; Goethe Institute Prague; Filmová a televizní fakulta Akademie múzických umění v Praze (Faculty for Film and Television at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, Prague); Institut intermédií Českého vysokého učení technického a Akademie múzických umění v Praze (Intermedia Institute of the Technical University and the Academy of Dramatic Arts, Prague); Školská 28 – Komunikační Prostor (Gallery Školská 28, Prague); tranzitdisplay, Prague; DEAI (setkání), Prague; n.b.k., Berlin.
Autors: Peter Cusack, Marek Janáč, Steffen Irlinger, Werner Pöschko, Kateřina Šedá, Rolf Simmen, Jáchym Topol, Miloš Vojtěchovský et.al
Project management: Gaby Hartel and Frank Kaspar in cooperation with Michal Rataj and Miloš Vojtěchovský
Works for Radio | Exhibitions | Event archive and photographs | Publications | Project partners
“The Favorite Sounds of Prague” – a Radio Exploration of Everyday Acoustics
By Miloš Vojtěchovský, Peter Cusack
“For us, all that remained of the city were fleeting hints. Remains of peripheral paving overgrown by grass; corners where the village green infiltrated among the last blocks of the city that engulfed it; forgotten walls and chimneys of factories that had ceased producing anything long ago; overgrown buildings the city had rejected; jungle-like forests that had grown up around them; hedges and fences once delimiting land, but now jutting without reason into space. We didn't need the city itself for our great race – for us it remained as an invisible centre to which we paid homage – but at the same time we carelessly left it to its own devices.” (Jan Štolba, “Absent City”)