|Recalling the Early Days of Resonance FM CMA May 2022 Edition #64 June 2022|
|Resonance FM has become a tour de force since its launch twenty years ago as part of the Radio Authority’s Access Radio Pilot Scheme. The groundbreaking 24/7 radio station now broadcasts on 104.4 FM to central London, DAB to Greater London, nationally on Radioplayer, and live streamed to the rest of the world.|
Sound and Radio Artist Magz Hall takes a light-hearted look back at the early days of Resonance FM and the creativity that continues to this day.
“I had been making music and learning how to make mainstream radio but felt uninspired by mainstream career options, so the thought of an experimental radio station was right up my street.”
Resonance now offers over 105 creative broadcast series every week featuring local and international artists, makers, and experts all supported by a dedicated community of volunteer engineers and programme-makers, Read Magz’s entertaining account of the early days of Resonance FM here.
Photo from Mute Magazine with station founders standing outside the front door. Mick Richie, Xentos, Magz Hall, Sarah Washington, Knut A – 2002
Magz Hall Interview in Electronic Sound Magazine Issue 63 Dec 21
Oram Awards 2021 winners announced: Magz Hall, Lia Mice, Vivenne Griffin, Venus Ex Machina, Lou Barnell & Maria Sappho https://www.juno.co.uk/junodaily/2021/11/01/oram-awards-2021-winners-announced-magz-hall-lia-mice-vivenne-griffin-venus-ex-machina-lou-barnell-maria-sappho/
Magz Hall Waves of Resistance Nomination for Ivor Novello Award Nov 2021:
“Meanwhile, UK radio artist Magz Hall’s ‘Waves of Resistance’ is a broadcast created in the spirit of transnationalism, relaying a message of peace, hope and unity across all borders.” Sept 2nd 2020 Afloat Magazine
Skysport review of Air Matters show Oct 2019
Furtherfield 29th Oct 2019
“This act of defiance flows into Skyport (2019) by Magz Hall, a mixed media installation with a set of frequency scanners emitting an unsettling static. The title refers to a pirate radio station based along a Heathrow flightpath in the 1970s, illustrated with archival images and texts from an attempt to reclaim airwaves colonised by traffic control and engine noise. The work emulates this spirit with an LCD screen broadcasting airport channels as visual wavelengths, the contents of which are protected as classified information in UK law, consequently questioning ownership, access, and authority over radio frequencies.”
The Ecologist 11th Oct 2019
If the works discussed so far focus on the present, Magz Hall engages with a historical dimension of aerial contestation. Her installation Skyport (2019) takes its name from the pirate radio station Skyport Radio which broadcast from a garden shed under the Heathrow flightpath between 1971 and 1979.
Aircraft noise could be heard in the transmissions. The commission extends the artist’s enquiry into the contested nature of radio frequencies and their governance.
In the skies above London private transmissions from air traffic control compete for wavelength with a range of public transmissions, both pirate and licenced, and indeed, the AM spectrum is dominated by the airport’s transmissions.
While these transmissions are available for all to hear, in the UK it is both illegal to listen to them and to relay what has been heard to a third party. In defiance of these regulations, aviation enthusiasts eavesdrop on air traffic control and there is a burgeoning market for the scanning technologies that make it possible.
On display for Skyport are items from the Skyport Radio archive, a set of scanners and a plasma screen showing in wave form current air traffic radio activity.
TV interview about the Ash Archive and Transmission Spores Feb 2018
Geographical Magazine Review of Art For Environment Exhibition, Jan 2018
“Finally, and unexpectedly pleasingly, two aural presentations remind us that the environment is far more than just what we see: to open our ears and engage all our senses. While Magz Hall explores the idea of dreams, inviting visitors into a shed filled with the haunting sounds of people recalling some of their strangest subconscious moments, Matt Parker’s field recordings fill the space with both natural and artificial sounds from a supposedly ‘protected’ landscape in Spain – a precursor to his workshop on 3 March around London’s Olympic Park which also forms part of the #ArtForTheEnvironment programme. Overall, it’s a diverse and stimulating exhibition, densely packed with numerous interactive artworks, and a welcome introduction to the environmental visions of multiple emerging artists stepping out onto centre stage.
Full article here
Voicing Gender by Magz Hall, Nov 2017
“My intention of this work is to create discussion, around what is a female voice.”
Tired of the notion that the ideal radio voice is a deep, authoritative male voice, radio enthusiast and artist Magz Hall channeled her frustration in Voicing Gender.
The piece uses unisex baseball hats dyed in traditionally feminine colours to deliver pitch-changing voice exercises that are typically used by trans and non-binary people who want to sound more masculine or feminine.
Apart from expressing her interest in how women change their voice for radio, the baseball caps also pay homage to 20th Century ‘radio hats’ which were marketed toward women in the same colours.
Voicing Gender, Magz Hall, 2017
Frances Dyson wrote: “To be listened to or even heard on radio, women have to adopt the persona of the ideal male voice.”
Voices define and identify us. How does one retrain a voice to create a perceived ‘authentic’ voice? In Voicing Gender, the artist relays binaural recordings of the repetitious pitch changing exercises used in speech therapy for trans and non-binary people which permanently change the pitch and tone of a voice. The Unisex baseball hats pay homage to early valve radio hats in colours marketed to women: Lipstick Red, Tangerine, Flamingo, Chartreuse and Blush Pink.
Magz Hall explores the artistic potential of radio and its use outside of conventional settings.
Investigative Expression full article:
“Also featured is Magz Hall who investigates the potential of radio through an expanded consideration of artistic function. Gendered Voice is Hall’s latest project and uses binaural recordings of vocal exercises to change the pitch and tone, consequently disrupting gendered expectations of the female voice. Similarly utilising binaural audio within their practice is Jasmine Johnson, who creates ambitious portraits of individuals from across the globe. A Perfect Instrument (Kristina) follows a day in the life of Lithuanian actress Kristina Savickytė and explores the performative nature of place as well as identity. In Thieves and Swindlers are not allowed in Paradise Johnson intricately combines computer generated environments with traditional film media to conceive a perplexing portrait of an art collector.” July 2017
Alt Barbican Featured in Fad Magazine Press about Alt Barbican Project
The Warf newspaper June 2017 article alt.barbican
Listen to a short radio feature produced by Andrea Richter about my
#radioart work which aired 19/4 17 on Germany’s Deutschlandradio Kultur stream or download it from this link
Radio Corner Article in CZ Magazine ‘His Voice’ May 2017
Elephant Oct 2016
Artdependence Magazine pdf
Magz Hall shortlisted for The British Composer Awards in Sound Art
Sound and radio artist Magz Hall who is currently exhibiting work as part of Jerwood Open Forest (at Jerwood Space until 11 December) has been shortlisted for The British Composer Awards. She joins eight other friends and alumni of Jerwood Charitable Foundation, including Mark Bowden, a British composer of chamber, orchestral and vocal music. We supported Mark with a Small Grant in 2015 to undertake a research onsite at CERN, the site of the Hadron Collider, for a new oratorio commissioned by BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
London Live TV Interview with Magz Hall
“In the case of Magz Hall, the audience is a key element in the very feeding of content into her project. With a long history of experience in sound and radio arts, Hall’s idea was partly inspired by American forests and the fact that in the 1920’s some members of the army used tall trees as antennas. The artist is actually going to use the trees to send out a radio signal that will contain visitors’ recorded dreams.
Building up from a smaller-scale work titled Tree Radio, which helped formulate the idea for this major proposal titled Whispering Trees, the project was inspired by her own moments of contemplation whilst visiting a forest. “I like this idea of hidden unconsciousness. Specially if you go on your own, you’re very concentrated when you’re in a place like that. It has a dreamlike quality linking with my own experience of going to the forests and wanting to participate through work that is fitting for the location”, says Magz Hall.
For Whispering Trees, different frequencies are going to be developed for each of the four types of dreams Hall is going to record: children’s dreams, night dreams, dreams of the future and those related to fire, as a historical link to the radio frequencies used until the eighties by the Forestry Commission for fire alerts.
The forest she has chosen, Bedgebury Pinetum, is the perfect space for her, not only because it is the site of a huge radio tower, but also because it has the tallest pine tree in Kent, the Grand Fir, originally from the US.”
SEEING THE WOOD FOR THE TREES
Resurgence & Ecologist Issue 299
Brave New Worlds Seeing the Wood for the Trees
Semiconductor, Cosmos (2014), a public artwork in Alice Holt Forest, Surrey. Commissioned as part of Jerwood Open Forest 2014. Supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Forestry Commission England and Arts Council England. Photograph: Laura Hodgeson
India Windsor-Clive reports on an initiative to take art into Britain’s forests.
Forests are places of recreation and respite, deep reflection and enchantment. They are time-woven tapestries of layered histories, myths and legends. Witness to bygone gatherings and happenings; home to an abundance of plants and wildlife. They have provided materials and inspiration for artists and craftspeople throughout the ages.
Now, in an exciting initiative, forests are being explored as sites for artistic experience. Jerwood Open Forest – a joint initiative by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Forestry Commission England, supported by Arts Council England – invites early-career artists to submit “bold and broad-thinking” proposals for work to be realised anywhere in England’s publicly owned forests. There is no brief. Submissions can be of any discipline, in any medium, temporary or permanent.
The first edition of Jerwood Open Forest took place in 2014, with two commissions awarded. The first went to Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, who work together under the name Semiconductor. Semiconductor’s permanent spherical public sculpture Cosmos sits in Alice Holt Forest, Surrey like a fallen meteorite. Its make-up and surface texture are based on a year’s worth of measurements such as wind, water vapour and the take-up and loss of carbon dioxide from trees, data collected at the top of a 28-metre flux tower. Semiconductor recontexualised this scientific data, making it tangible in sculptural form.
The other 2014 commission winners, Chris Watson, a composer, and Iain Pate, a producer, staged an interdisciplinary sound installation of a raven roost entitled Hrafn: Conversations with Odin, in Kielder Water & Forest Park, Northumberland, drawing on Norse mythology. Rarely experienced now, the sound of 2,000 birds returning to roost at twilight had a remarkable effect on those who experienced it.
Following the success of the first commissions, this year sees a second group of artists completing their supported six-month research and development period. These five artists, Rebecca Beinart, Magz Hall, Keith Harrison, David Rickard and David Turley, have been developing their commission proposals, testing feasibility and exploring potential sites, to culminate in a group exhibition at Jerwood Visual Arts in London in November and December this year. During the exhibition one artist will be selected to receive a £30,000 commission to realise her or his proposal.
The selectors include the artists Katherine Clarke and Neville Gabie, and the writer and curator Joy Sleeman. The range of imaginative approaches represented by the five shortlisted artists, Sleeman says, “is indicative of the rich inspiration such places inspire. The artists will each be embracing aspirations to bring new experiences into forests – whether by engaging with their human history, their relationship with their urban surroundings, or through an intimate engagement with individual trees.”
Forests make up 13% of Britain’s land area today. After demands on timber during the first world war left Britain’s forests depleted, the Forestry Commission was founded in 1919 as a commercial endeavour to rebuild and maintain strategic wood resources. Today, although it retains a commercial forestry wing, the commission fills the role of preserving woodland for people’s enjoyment, biodiversity and ecology.
This history interests artist Rebecca Beinart, who considers the contemporary framing of the Forestry Commission, its role as caretaker, and forests as constructed environments. Beinart has been researching narratives that relate to the specific sites she plans to work with, such as Leigh Woods outside Bristol – home to the whitebeam species endemic to the Avon Gorge – and the work being done in response to climate change and tree disease.
From interviewing people involved in the Newbury bypass protests in the 1990s to researching Victorian plant hunters, Beinart is collecting stories to thread into a script for a proposed large-scale live work to take place in two forest locations. She envisages using between 30 and 50 narrators to retell these anecdotes.
Sound and radio artist Magz Hall is meanwhile developing “an interactive trail of radio transmissions through the forest, playfully enabling trees to whisper to each other visitors’ dreams”. For her Jerwood Open Forest proposal Whispering Trees, she plans to set up recording sessions in a bird-hide-like studio in the forest with the Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum and members of the public, to record their secrets and dreams. The audience can then tune into these dreams ‘broadcast’ by different trees, using radios collected on-site.
Hall’s proposal comes out of an earlier project for an Art for the Environment residency at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Tree Radio, for which she transformed an oak tree into a micro radio station. She embedded a transmitter into the tree to relay the tree’s reactions to light, motion and moisture via sensors and probes in the tree, “so the tree was broadcasting its own content”.
Also selected for Jerwood Open Forest is Keith Harrison, who explores forests as places of recreation at the edge of post-industrial urban conurbations. He is proposing a large-scale performative sculpture, entitled Joy Ride, near Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.
David Rickard has proposed an installation of reclaimed timber, exploring the cyclical journey of the forests’ trees entitled Returnings. He describes his search for a forest as headed simultaneously in two very different directions: “Firstly, for a growing, photosynthesising cluster of trees, a forest in the current tense, and secondly for a building with timber bones, a forest in the past tense.”
Finally, David Turley’s proposal centres on a Men of the Trees Forestry Diary from 1947, which documents the daily life of a man planting trees in Orlestone Forest outside Ashford, Kent. Turley explores the everyday in relation to the monumental, the idea of a daily task impacting the future, and the “understanding of a tree as having life beyond the scale of our own”.
The work being created for Jerwood Open Forest exemplifies how artists are engaging with the environment and incorporating contemporary dialogues with Nature into their work in the public realm. Each proposal holds the possibility of shifting people’s understanding, considering the experience of place or the layering of multiple histories and the capacity of history to touch us. As well as challenging artistic practice and giving artists the opportunity to work in new, different ways, it sees forests lending themselves to artistic experience and the potential to foster a deeper connection with the environment.
Jerwood Open Forest exhibition runs from 2 November to 11 December at Jerwood Space, London.
The Royal Academy of Arts 5 top show to see
Ecology and Art
Created as a unique opportunity to open up the Public Forest Estate, Jerwood Open Forest is a charitable programme that creates commissioning projects for artists working in a forestry context. Five artists have been selected to research and develop radical proposals for a major environmental art piece.
Based on their projects, one of these artists will be selected to realise a £30,000 commission in their chosen Forestry Commission England location. Pictured above is Cosmos by artist duo Semiconductor, one of two commissions realised through the 2014 Jerwood Open Forest initiative.
This year Jerwood Visual Arts and Forestry Commission England launches a group exhibition at Jerwood Space, London (2 November – 11 December 2016) consisting of work from the selected artists. The show is a distillation of each artist’s research, development and mentoring period which has taken place over the last 6 months and will examine the ideas and processes behind each of the artists proposals………
Also participating in this year’s collaboration is Magz Hall, a sound and radio artist whose prospective installation aims to add a playful element to the landscape. Hall has planned to create an interactive trail of radio transmissions. The artist will invite visitors to record their own secret messages into radio hardware that is disguised within a tree, allowing interaction for the public. For the exhibition, Magz will be showing a constructed dreamspace where the audience will be transported to another landscape through intricately recalled soundscapes.
The five artists have developed bold, innovative projects that explore the potential of forests as art space – the upcoming exhibition at Jerwood Space, London will see these projects transposed within a gallery context – opening the mind and sparking conversation about how contemporary visual artists engage with the current natural environment.
22 October 2016
Full article at
“Magz Hall and Rebecca Beinart both plan to work very directly with the space of the forest itself, Hall developing a radiophonic installation which will traverse the physical area of the forest, as well as touching on the realm of dreams and the “radiophonic ether”, while Beinart would create a performance, telling a collection of stories about lost trees, exploring themes of deforestation, adventure and climate change.” Emily Steer Elephant Magazine. Full article at
Podcast interview by Brain Fauteux for Radio Survivor March 2016
Sound and radio artist Magz Hall will develop an interactive trail of radio transmissions through the forest, playfully enabling trees to whisper to each other, and re-engaging with a sense of technological enchantment so intrinsic to the early radio experiments that make up much of her research interests. She envisages members of the public recording their own secrets and dreams into simple radio hardware disguised within a tree. Magz is a senior lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University UK, and a founder of London’s arts radio station Resonance FM. Her audio work has been exhibited in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the British Museum, Tate Britain, and internationally. In 2015 she completed her PhD at CRISAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice), University of the Arts London.
Five artists have been selected to develop proposals for the £30,000 Jerwood Open Forest commission.
Rebecca Beinart, Magz Hall, Keith Harrison, David Rickard and David Turley will each receive a £2,000 research and development fee to expand on the concept of their proposals, test feasibility and explore potential sites within England’s Public Forest Estate.
They will also take part in a group exhibition in November 2016 at Jerwood Space, London, plus benefit from workshops and advisory sessions alongside one-to-one mentoring sessions.
The 2016 selection panel included: Katherine Clarke, artist and founding partner of muf architecture/art; Neville Gabie, artist; Shonagh Manson, director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation; Hayley Skipper, national arts development programme manager, Forestry Commission England; and Dr Joy Sleeman writer, curator and lecturer.
Commenting on the quality of the shortlist, Sleeman said: “The range of imaginative approaches to forest environments represented by the five shortlisted artists is indicative of the rich inspiration such places inspire.
“The artists will each be embracing aspirations to bring new experiences into forests – whether by engaging with their human history, their relationship with their urban surroundings or through an intimate engagement with individual trees.”
The artists’ proposals are wide ranging. Rebecca Beinart will explore the relationship between care and loss through live art that brings together a collection of stories about lost trees. Sound and radio artist Magz Hall will develop an interactive trail of radio transmissions through the forest, while Keith Harrison has proposed a performative sculpture bringing together industrial forces within the context of the forest.
David Rickard’s proposal, Returnings, is a vast forest installation built with timber collected from across the UK, exploring the cyclical journey of the forests’ trees. David Turley’s proposal centres on a ‘Men of the Trees Forestry Diary’ from 1947, unearthed at an auction in Australia, which documents the daily life of a man planting trees in Orlestone Forest outside Ashford, Kent.
Jerwood Open Forest is open to UK artists who are within 15 years of beginning their practice. The first edition in 2013 saw two commissions totalling £60,000awarded to Semiconductor duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, and Chris Watson collaborating with producer Iain Pate.
Magz Hall, Installing Tree Radio
Radio Art and New Media in Radio Studies: An Interview with Magz Hall – Pt. by Brian Fauteux on January 15, 2016 in Radio Scholarship, Radio Survivor Academic Series
“In the first part of this two-part interview, Dr. Hall explains how her research is closely connected to a variety of experimental and artistic projects in the field of radio art. By engaging with radio as a flexible, fluid, and accessible medium, Dr. Hall highlights the ways in which radio can engage with communities and inspire cutting-edge research and arts-based practices.”
Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! The Academic Series for Radio Survivor has been a little quiet over the past few months, but we have a lot of exciting posts planned for this academic term. We’re happy to be back with a two-part interview with Dr. Magz Hall, who is a sound and radio artist and a Senior Radio Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University.
In the first part of this two-part interview, Dr. Hall explains how her research is closely connected to a variety of experimental and artistic projects in the field of radio art. By engaging with radio as a flexible, fluid, and accessible medium, Dr. Hall highlights the ways in which radio can engage with communities and inspire cutting-edge research and arts-based practices.
Radio Survivor: Your doctoral research emphasizes the use of radio art in order to help us make sense of radio broadcasting in the context of new media technology. First, how would you describe radio art to someone who might not be familiar with the term or the practice?
Magz Hall: Radio art is best understood as a media art, one which is concerned with the interplay of the relationships between the radio broadcast and its reception. As Dan Lander has pointed out, radio artists often have a desire to reinvent the medium “through deconstruction and or reconstruction, the use of dangerous contents and a refusal to produce works that easily fit into the categories of sanctioned broadcast.”
Also, radio art addresses the medium’s specificity and works from that point. It’s a play between relationships inherit in the medium and, as Gregory Whitehead has written, a “play” in the broadest sense, one which “deals with the fundamental materials of radio, and the material of radio is not just amorphous sound. Radio is mostly a set of relationships, an intricate triangulation of listener, ‘player’ and system.”
Radio Survivor: A number of radio scholars are currently engaged with discussions of the changing nature of radio in the digital age. The fact that you’ve chosen to explore these issues through the lens of radio art is fascinating. What role does radio art play in the digital age and how can it help us to understand radio in this context?
Magz Hall: Radio is a very resilient medium which has constantly moved platforms. Radio artists have also embraced radio in all its receptive forms from AM to FM and online and by doing so, radio art as a practice re-configures and expands what is essentially an experimental art form. Radio art is constantly evolving and reflecting the myriad notions of radio and explores the form.
These days, almost all radio is digitally recorded and edited, so the heart of the production form is digital, albeit one that is still received by the majority of people via analogue means (in the UK interestingly). I am very interested in expanded radio practice and have produced works which cross the lines between analogue and digital reception.
My Switch Off project imagined who would be squatting analogue FM in the future. I produced ten works all of which were a form of post digital practice, where I embraced new and old media.
Radio Jam invited people to play analogue radios to do a live jam across the internet using radio as a performance, whereas Spiritual Radio asked people to hear the book as its own radio station (more on this below).
Radio Survivor: You’ve also been an advocate for community radio and its ability to use radio art in order to explore the limits of the medium. How does radio art advocate for the importance of community radio today?
Magz Hall: Community arts radio is something I have been passionate about since the late 1990s. I was inspired by community stations in Canada, USA, and Australia, which provided space for artists to experiment and share and make work with and for specific communities. Such projects led the way for UK community arts stations Resonance FM, which I helped set up, and Soundart Radio, Hive Radio and Radio Reverb.
In the UK there is still a distinct lack of arts experimentation on the majority of the 200-odd non-arts-based community stations, something Tamar Millen, via the Community Media Association, was trying to address when she ran the Modulate commissions to bring UK artists and arts organizations together with community stations to make new work.
I have also been running Radio Arts. It’s an artist-led arts group that promotes radio arts activity [editor: see our 2013 piece about some Radio Arts projects] . We commissioned fifteen artists to produce Dreamlands, a project that involves new radio art works funded by the Arts Council England and Kent County Council. These works were aired by twelve partner arts stations, including a mix of community, public, and online stations.
(*See the list of Dreamlands commissioned artists and stations that broadcast their works below).
Participants of our hands-on radio arts workshops, in all areas of radio art practice, have gone on to become sound artists, set up their own stations, and run radio arts projects. So this has proven to be a very successful way of engaging people and communities.
For instance, Phonic FM in Exeter commissioned artists to make works as part of a Rugby Stories series funded by the local council. The project came out after its station manager attended one of our radio arts workshops at the Turner Contemporary, which were set up to engage the wider public in radio arts.
Another workshop, Reclaim the Waves, worked with participants who were over the age of 60 at The Tate Britain this year. The workshop resulted in a month long participatory radio art installation, and one of the participants was commissioned to make new sound work about Thames Water as a result of this. So, sharing skills with the public and specific communities has been very fruitful.
Radio Survivor: Your Spiritual Radio project is an excellent example of research creation, in which research is combined with practice. You have explained the project as a “book-radio,” one that must be accessed by finding the right frequency. When the listener discovers the right frequency, she or he will hear Spiritual Radio, a book published in 1925 which explains Archbishop FH du Vernet’s vision of radio technology. What drew you to this particular work and how does the physicality of the book work its way into your project?
Magz Hall: Thanks. I was inspired by the fire-and-brimstone preaching of South London Christian pirate radio stations and was drawn to Spiritual Radio (1925) after researching the book for an earlier project, Radio Mind, where I used parts of Archbishop Frederick du Vernet’s text on telepathic healing via the “law of divine vibration.” That project also drew on Russian Futurist painter and poet David Burliuk’s Manifesto, Radio-Style (1926), which pronounced the dawn of a “radio age.”
Radio Mind was a work that imagines religious radio. It connects a powerful utopian notion, potentiality evoked by reading between these two texts, both of which address radio as an emergent technology and retain uncanny parallels despite their radically divergent perspectives. Du Vernet’s writing on the telepathic power of radio was a point of departure from which to examine how religious imaginary has informed popular perceptions of emergent technology.
For the Switch Off series of works, I wanted to move away from just hearing the installations via headphones or speakers; all the works are heard via radios.
Spiritual Radio was commissioned for a project called unbinding the book, which allowed me to re-imagine what a book could be. In this case, I had the book hand-bound and I made it into a transmitter by hammering nails into the book, so I could build a transmitter and it could transmit the words. The book is a very tactile object which you want to touch, but can’t! You have to listen via a radio. I liked the playfulness of that. It was also a kind of literal death nail, or as the Timesdescribed it, a “hardback on life support.” I think that really sums up what the work was about; giving new life to the written form.
*Dreamlands commissioned artists were: Arturas Bumsteinas (LITH), Joaquim Cofreces (Argentina), Iris Garelfs (GER), Anna Friz (CAN), Louise Harris (UK), Olivia Humphreys (UK), Esther Johnson (UK), Langham Research Centre (UK), GX Jupiter Larson (US), Michael McHugh (UK), Carlo Patrao (PORT), Mikey Weinkove (UK), Joaquim Cofreces (Argentina), Gregory Whitehead (USA), Genetic Moo (UK), Magz Hall (UK).
Stations that broadcast Dreamlands: ABC National Radio Australia, RTE, BCB 106.5 (Bradford, UK), Phonic FM (Exeter, UK), Radio Reverb (UK), Radio Papesse (Italy), Sound Art Radio (Devon, UK), Resonance FM (London, UK), Borealis Festival (Norway), Radiophrenia 87.9 FM (CCA Gallery, Glasgow), Wave Farm WGXC 90.7 FM (US).
IMMERSIVE SOUNDSCAPES: THE ENGINE ROOM SOUND ART EXHIBITION by Andrew Manns for 1984Bold Ideas
“The Engine Room takes a turn for the esoteric with two artists. Spiritual Radio by Magz Hall, a ‘book-radio’ that transmits the words contained into an eternal loop, which cannot be conventionally read, rather the listener must tune to the right frequency in order to access it’s content. Combining themes of hypnosis, telepathy, and futurology its idealism is reminiscent of the Steven Spielberg’s films but its scope accords more with sci-fi hardliners, like Isaac Asimov. According to Hall, the text itself is “‘Spiritual Radio’, initially published in 1925, which sets out cleric and radio enthusiast Archbishop F.H. du Vernet’s vision of the nascent technology as a spiritually-charged electrical force capable of mediating human sensibilities and the transcendent will of God in a text that is by turns visionary and often absurd in the bathetic disjuncture between spiritual promise and quotidian reality.””
“Or there’s the “book-radio” devised by Magz Hall, which looks like a hardback on life support – only the wires sticking out of it connect with a junkshop array of radios, out of which spout the words of Archbishop Frederick Du Vernet, the author of Spiritual Radio (published posthumously in 1925), who believed that radio waves could be the means of uniting his extensively scattered British Columbian flock in prayer. I wandered past it a couple of times, tuning in and out as the book read itself out.” Michael Caines, The Times Literary Supplement Oct 3rd, 2014
“The books becoming art objects remind us how precious they are. Tools to share knowledge that were much rarer than they are now. My mother hates seeing books on the floor- as she sees them as highly valued and to be respected. Not on the floor but on the airwaves Magz Hall aims to bring together the technologies of radios and publishing. A book is read on a certain frequency and you must be tuned in to hear the sound waves. The reading is of a spiritual text that sees technology ‘as a spiritually charged force’; the value of the content of the book surpassing its physical form.” Elizabeth Murton a-n, 2014
Short Film interview for Crane TV http://www.crane.tv/magz-hall-unbinding-the-book
“A book which is also a working radio is supplied by Magz Hall, in which the pages of the book are held shut by copper nails, connected to form a transmitter circuit through which words flow “in an eternal loop”, said organisers, adding: “the text awaits the listener who is tuned to the right frequency”. The Guardian, Sept 2014
Etapes French Design and Culture Magazine
Kinokophonography Night at the Library for the Performing Arts: Hearing is Believing by Katrina Dixon, Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts March 14, 2014
Making Conversations – Tuesday 28th October 2014
“Bronac Ferran talks to three artists who also work with dynamic circuits and systems often encouraging audience involvement in open ended and participatory ways, reflecting indirectly on the history of science and engineering and setting up dialogues between past and present: Luciana Haill, neuro-feedback artist in residence at Department of Informatics, University of Sussex; Magz Hall, co-founder Radio Arts, Senior Lecturer Canterbury Christ Church University; Dianne Harris, founding director and curator of Kinetica-Museum; and, from Rio de Janeiro, Mariana Manhaes, who makes organic machines with electrical elements and animatronic devices. Can now be heard here
Making Conversations: Unbinding the Book – an earlier show discussed my radio book
AHRC Digital Transformations Research Fellow Professor Andrew Prescott was joined by Ben James and Philip Serfaty from Jotta Visual Arts Studio with Katrina Hopewell from Indie publishing platform Blurb and writer/curator Bronac Ferran. The conversation looked at new ways in which books and book making are being pushed and pulled by a resurgence in activity around online and offline publishing. Jotta and Blurb have collaborated to create Unbinding the Book, part of the recent London Artists Bookfair at the Whitechapel Gallery. For this exhibition, which tours to New York and San Francisco, nine artists and designers were commissioned to challenge preconceptions of who can be an author and what a book can be.
“Highlights”… ”I also particularly enjoyed Radio Arts—Jim Backhouse and Magz Hall’s Voice Like a Foghorn in which we got to enjoy over 40 different Medway people lending their voices to a ship’s broken foghorn.”
Radio Arts LV21 Lookout21 project in WOW Magazine March 2014
The New Wave: On Radio Arts in the UK Sound Studies Blog Nov 2014
Radio Making Workshops in UK in Name of Radio Arts by Jennifer Waits forRadio Survivor 11th December 2013
Recently I’ve been following with interest the wide range of hands-on radio activities being lead by Radio Artsout of the United Kingdom.
Radio Arts, “an independent artists’ group founded in 2001 by lecturer, producer and artist Magz Hall and artist, producer and musician Jim Backhouse,” works “to promote radio as a site for creative experimentation and intervention.” The group is “currently commissioning six new radio art works for broadcast as well as running a series of free, public workshops across South East Kent until early 2014.”
As part of this project, Radio Arts is completing a residency aboard the restored lightship LV21 (Light Vessel 21) in Kent, England. One event that caught my eye was last month’s radio workshop in which participants built their own AM radios. According to Magz Hall,
“As Radio Arts we have been promoting radio arts activity through number of workshops and an open call for new work – this particular workshop to make an AM radio was the result of a collaboration between Radio Arts and the Lightship and its radio operator Colin Turner who shared his skills in AM radio building with us.”
Next month, there will be another hands-on workshop for radio-o-philes. On January 25th, lucky attendees will get the chance to make their own FM transmitters at an event held at the Beaney in Canterbury, England.
Additionally, Radio Arts just wrapped up an open call for recorded radio pieces for a future program and has been collecting old, working FM radios for an April, 2014 exhibit at the Beaney. More details on how to donate can be found on the Radio Arts website.
Across the pond, Hall also has her radio-themed “Numbers” installation on view at the Canterbury Exchange exhibit at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois through December 15th. It looks like a fascinatingpiece.
Hall explains, “The installation is in part homage to shortwave numbers stations, on air since the cold war and plays a series of coded messages from provocateurs of the future heard as numbers from six voices played simultaneously on different radios around the space. The work predicts numbers stations will move to FM and will remain there after licensed FM services are switched off, to be used by outlawed gangs, groups, agents and political movements. The work uses encrypted tweets collected from Occupy activists.”
Hall was able to get folks in Illinois to donate radios for use in this numbers station-themed installation. I wish I could be in both Illinois and England to take part in all of these radio events and exhibits, but for now will just live vicariously through the online accounts.
Read on Radio Survivor: http://radiosurvivor.com/2013/12/11/radio-making-workshops-in-uk-in-name-of-radio-arts/
Interview with Daniel Monday community show at BRFM
Aired 4th Nov 2013
Live Radio Interview of Magz Hall by Pat Marsh on BBC Radio Kent
29th August 2013
Live Radio interview on Red Sands Radio with Magz Hall and Jim Backhouse, 15th July 2013
Read about it here: http://www.redsandsradio.co.uk/showblog/magz-hall-radio-arts
Resonance FM interview on Password Show with Magz Hall by Jane Wyatt,14th July repeated 17th July 2013
Thanet Gazette 30th August 2013: “This is Broadstairs calling. Repeat, this is Broadstairs calling. Explore the world of FM radio in Radio Recall an exhibition by, Magz Hall who is turning the Old Lookout Gallery, in the Harbourmaster’s House overlooking Broadstairs harbour into a Theatre of Radiophonic Memory, and will be inviting visitors to contribute their memories and donate used radios to this week-long interactive radio installation. 11am to 4pm daily. Until September 4.”
“The high calibre of the Kent artistic community is demonstrated by the many Whitstable Satellite artists I encounter later that afternoon at the AIRTIME event. I chat to Magz Hall, a founding producer of Resonance FM who is completing a PhD on Radio Art. Her long-term research project sets out a number of fictional hypotheses about the future of FM once it has been abandoned by broadcasters. Babble Station is one of these future unsanctioned stations, using the airwaves for baby monitoring. This Sunday, Hall will be running an all-day drop-in workshop, sampling baby sounds and playing them back via solar radios.” a-n Sept 2012 http://new.a-n.co.uk/news/single/whitstable/5
Radio Mind Press 2011 http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Tuning-higher-power/story-13252690-detail/story.html
SERMONS on the sand will be a feature of Viking Bay from today and until Tuesday.The content has been inspired by an obscure group of early 20th century Anglican clerics who shared an interest in telepathy, psychic research and psychology and used radio to preach the word of God.
REINVENTING THE DIAL Review by Frances Morgan 03/11/2009 for Sound and Music
Recordings of the presentations given at Reinventing The Dial: Explorations In Experimental Radio Practice are now online at www.reinventingthedial.blogspot.com, for those who missed the day-long symposium at Canterbury Christ Church University last week.
Billed as ‘an opportunity for discussion between students, practitioners and academics with an interest in radio art and experimental radio’, Reinventing The Dial lived up to this broad remit while avoiding a rushed or superficial approach to the subject matter. Producer and radio lecturer Magz Hall‘s diverse choice of speakers for the event ensured that almost every presentation felt satisfyingly focussed and in-depth, while covering a fair amount of ground.
The day started with a series of historical approaches, as Tom McCarthy read from his forthcoming novel set during radio’s emergence in the 1920s, with the coded radio transmissions of Cocteau’s Orphee cited as an inspiration for this and other work. Radio’s early history was a starting point for exploring ideas of interpretation, transmission, interception and the artist as respondent; Andy Birtwistle likewise focused on the Modernist period, but provided a fascinating account of the work of filmmaker Walter Ruttman, whose early sound workWeekend prefigured the electroacoustic compositions of Cage and Varese. Keynote speaker Kersten Glandien provided an overview of the relationship between sound art and radio art from an historical perspective, tracing the connections and conflicts between the two forms from the 1960s to the present day. Perhaps inevitably, given the rich subject matter, this was a lot to take in, and Glandien’s presentation rewards a second listen on the Reinventing The Dial blog; it is particularly interesting with regard to the relationship between radio art and public radio commissioning and producing.
The afternoon’s sessions had a more hands-on, demonstrative feel, and Peter Cusack‘s presentation, opening with a recording of his being questioned by police while collection audio material at a London railway station, was not only funny and engaging, but also opened up debate about privacy, access, the perception of field recording as an activity and the concepts of safety and danger as related to sound. Cusack’s recent work with the Positive Soundscapes project addresses the relationships that people have with the sound in their environment, arguing that it’s often at odds with accepted notions of ‘harmful’ or pollutant noise; Cusack demonstrated a soundscape ‘sequencer’ developed as part of this project. I look forward to hearing more of his recordings from the ‘dangerous’ places he cites in his abstract.
Taking the focus away from the field and into the studio, Andy Cartwright talked about his work with Soundscape Productions for the BBC, an insight into the tensions between radio art and public service broadcasting, while Lance Dann‘s Flickerman – an interactive radio drama – perhaps pointed to a way of overcoming, or subverting, those tensions. Dann’s understanding of Web 2.0 and and demonstration of how dramatic content can be inspired and generated by its users was enlivening stuff, taking a positive approach to developing technologies and their possible effects on radio drama. Angus Carlyle‘s more oblique, contemplative talk concluded the afternoon, and was a reminder of radio’s unique character; its ability as a medium to be both intimate and distant. Carlyle put forward the idea of distance as a ‘creative strategy’, citing examples like Locus Sonus and Global String, and nodded to radio’s occult properties with a mention of the Conet Project. It was a great shame that Kaffe Matthews was unable to attend, as her presentation on 2003 project Radio Cycle 101.4FM looked to have touched upon many of the issues brought up in the afternoon’s talks – and indeed, throughout the day, involving public/participatory art, sonic environments, early radio experiments and new technologies.
The day’s final discussion was notably free of participants interested only in putting a pet argument across – a common hazard at such events. In fact, a good deal of listening as well as talking went on as Magz initiated debates about questions of practice, composition techniques, relationships with the media industry, engagement with audiences, experiments with binaural recording and 5.1 surround sound and the new aesthetics created by the Internet.
The Independent, Thursday 21st February 2008. Todays Radio: Critics Choice
YOU ARE HEAR http://feeds.feedburner.com/youarehearpodcast
This podcast and online radio show is produced by Magz Hall and Jim Backhouse and features live sessions,festival specials and band interviews. There are more than 70 episodes of legal-to-download music from the likes of Tony Conrad, Black Devil Disco Club, Wolf Eyes, Burning Star Core, David Cunningham and Xylitol. You can also hear sets recorded at festivals such as Sonar, Oya,Green Man, the Big Chill and Faster Than Sound. The current podcast features new releases by among others, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Erik Nordgren and Han Earl Park. -Robert Moss – The Independent
The Wire Magazine May 2007
“London’s Resonance FM current studio space is a bohemian wet dream of cramped dilapidation and romantic under funding. Future generations will look back with envy but nervously. Meanwhile DJs Magz Hall and Jim Backhouse have spent four years coaxing live acts onto their You Are Hear Radio show to perform exclusively for the show for Resonance (a la John Peel, but 100 per cent live in the studio), and here they cherry pick their 20 favourite sessions. Much of this comes with extra edge because it was played live in a tiny space- amazing that Pram ( Midlands Exotica and Oddfellows Casino (Canterbury via Brighton Rock) managed to fit in at all. Murcof ( Mexican electronica) and Noxagt Norwegian Noise niks) are darkly omininous, while San Francisco’s Oxbow sound no less intense for being only one voice and an acoustic guitar. In a lighter vein is the playtime electro of The Man From Uranus, and the Casio versus theremin punch up of Ninki V and CarterTutti’s contribution is a typically classy chunk of electric driftwood. Then No Bra drop by with their ultra- droll ‘Munchausen’ (Really? I was very briefly in a band called Clock DVA’ ‘Really?’) and the music staggerers round a hall of comedy mirrors. Germlin’s nerdcore ‘Key Lime’ is far too short, and Miss Hawaii’s ‘Pyramid’ is rampant chaos from a Japanese laptopper formally known as MC Cambodia. David Grubbs sings over a bristling guitar, and This Is The Kit are an endearing folk duo who have supported Vetiver. If you haven’t been listening, this is a quick and easy education”. Clive Bell- The Wire
New Camden Journal 6th Jan 2006
Time Out “Championing all kinds of inventive and abnormal music with no regard for convention or decency. That’s just as it should be” David Swindells, Feb 2006
Time Out London Nov 8th 2006, Radio Podcast of the week: You Are Hear http://www.youarehear.co.uk
This excellent alternative music show is available at http://www.totallyradio.com as well as via directpodcast subscription,but which ever way you want to listen, you’ll find a very well-executed product which features overe 80 podcasts of live, legal recordings ranging from Tunng playing at the Greeen Man Festical to Vasti Bunyan, Martin Carthy and a Hawk and a Hacksaw at the Big Chill. There are also live sets from Sonar including The Modified Toy Orchestra and Senor Coconut, plus archive interviews with Bob Moog what’s not to like? -Lisa Mullen – Time Out
- Airflash Article April 2007 on SLRA workshops as a PDF
- Irish Times – Programmed content for Mor Festival
Dan Synge interview with Magz Hall in The Telegraph 21st Jun 2003 extract
“ “We aim to promote radio art and use the experimental power of radio,” says presenter Magz Hall. Hall is not the first to see the potential of the medium: the Italian Futurists were broadcasting their own “art of noise” back in the 1930s. In the 1933 Manifesto Della Radio, Filippo Marinetti envisaged a radio that could transmit the sounds of inanimate objects (such as flowers or diamonds), waveband interference, even silence. Through this popular new medium, the radiasta (radio artist) would make phonetic interpretations of the free-flowing Futurist parolibero (words-in-freedom) style.A decade later, Orson Welles shocked listeners in America with his War of the Worlds broadcast, in which invading Martians were evoked so effectively that hundreds of listeners fled their homes, some of them close to suicide. Radio art continues to thrive in Italy, Germany, the USA and Canada.”
Magz Hall BBC 2002 http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A832619
“We’re offering people stuff they won’t hear anywhere else,” says presenter Magz Hall. Her weekly show, You Are Hear, features everyone from 73-year-old musical icon Lee Hazlewood to electro weirdoes Church Of Sonology and the Association of Autonomous Astronauts (the worldwide network of community-based groups dedicated to building their own space ships, obviously).“You can listen to wall to wall dross on the radio every day,” insists Magz. “You just hear the same formats, the same type of people and the same way of conducting programmes. They’re not really interested in letting new blood in and trying out new formulas.”
“Adventurous musical programming that echoes the long running You Are Hear radio show”, Sept 2005 Time Out
Featured Playlist Plan B April 2006
BBC Collective Interview 2002
It’s radio, but not as we know it.
“I’m sorry,” whispers the voice at the end of the phone. “We can’t talk to anyone at the moment, we’re in the middle of a live session.” Strange cacophonic music hovers in the background. “In fact, the phone went off while they were playing. It sounded pretty good, though.”
Welcome to Resonance FM, London’s first non-profitmaking “art” radio station (on 104.4 or at http://www.resonancefm.com), supported by the likes of Gavin Turk and other luminaries. Its brief? To “provide a radical alternative to the universal formulas of mainstream broadcasting”. And it sure as hell does.
“We’re offering people stuff they won’t hear anywhere else,” says presenter Magz Hall. Her weekly show, You Are Hear, features everyone from 73-year-old musical icon Lee Hazlewood to electro weirdoes Church Of Sonology and the Association of Autonomous Astronauts (the worldwide network of community-based groups dedicated to building their own space ships, obviously).
“You can listen to wall to wall dross on the radio every day,” insists Magz. “You just hear the same formats, the same type of people and the same way of conducting programmes. They’re not really interested in letting new blood in and trying out new formulas. I mean, the DJs don’t even choose their own music, do they, on Radio 1?”
Resonance has been on air since May this year, and their licence is due to expire on 01 May 2003. “Really, we need to start a campaign so that we can stay on air,” says Magz. “We’re also going to start trying to raise some money by auctioning things on air. Perhaps we could get Gavin Turk to build a giant egg, then we could crack it and sell it.”
If they do stop broadcasting it’ll be a crying shame. Where else can you hear an eight-hour special on Japanese experimental rockers The Boredoms? Or two hours featuring 50 cover versions of that old Brecht & Weill favourite Mack The Knife.
“Once, we even did a whole day playing Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, and another with folk singer Shirley Collins,” boasts Magz. Yes, but isn’t there just a slight chance that they might alienate listeners? “Not at all,” she insists. “Actually I think it opens it up, because it allows people to hear artists that don’t usually get played.”
But it’s not all obscurathons. Try Out Of The Blue Radio, every weekday at 11.30pm, and travel “inside someone else’s head for half an hour”. Or Burning Decks, on Fridays at midnight, for an hour of freewheeling noise from turntablism’s, er, more exotic shores, with DJs Electricity Substation and Scud, kone_r and more. Don’t touch that dial. JC 19 September 02