Brandon LaBelle

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Radio Memory

Radio intervenes and interrupts, bores and excites, tickling the ear while annoying the neighbors. Broadcast is an expansion of spatial circumference and a pulling in of multiple points of reception. Radio in this way is always unapologetically public and intensely private: it inaugurates communities at each instant of transmission while remaining forever alien to those who listen. It is trauma and therapy all in one — it is emitted sound and its acoustic mirror-reflection coming back to haunt us. It is money on the air and state control taking charge; it cashes in while offering up.

Inviting people to send in their “radio memories” — of songs overheard at special moments of their lives — led me to wonder: are such memories partially created by the songs themselves, rather than being strictly supplements to them? In what way does radio play a part in leaving marks on the psyche? And what may a catalogue of radio memories reveal about the musical-social landscape?

Cataloguing the 100 memories into ten playlists, these are broadcast through ten mobile structures. Acting as memory boxes, they distribute the songs to mingle and interrupt the festival and its visitors.

Exhibited at Archipel Festival, Geneva
March 10 - 20, 2005

 

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Installation at Cafe Nöö, Halle Germany as part of Radio Revolten
October 2006