The construction of memory in radio art works
Hall, M. 2017. The construction of memory in radio art works.
This paper will consider my own work Radio Recall (2013) Dream Vessels (2016) and Dreamspace (2016) reflect on how personal memory is constructed and utilised by the sound artist to frame works. Radio Recall, started as a community interaction and participatory micro broadcast work, about a listening community, participation and transmission. It was first heard as part of a residency at the Old Lookout Gallery, Broadstairs, in 2013. I collected and rotated past and current memories of radio from members of the general public, broadcasting them on the fly through an ad-hoc and expanding collection of radio receivers. Radio Recall puts into radio art form, aspects of the anthropological work of Jo Tacchi. Her thesis ‘Radio Sound As Material Culture in the Home’ (1997) was a qualitative study which took an ethnographic and anthropological approach to the study of radio use at home via a type of ‘media anthropology’. It examined how radio was able to harmonise conflict in personal life as ‘a manager of difference’ (1997, p.225) by offering reassurance via shared memory. Like Tacchi I am interested in the role of nostalgia and how memories and nostalgia operate in creative and integrated ways in domestic contexts through the medium of sound. (ibid, p.218). Radio Recall shows that by using multiple vintage radios outside of domestic context a similar result could be achieved. Tacchi cited Battaglia’s (1995) challenge as to the negative definition of nostalgia presented by some academics, reducing its role to romantic sentimentality and causing the an ‘assumption that nostalgia has a categorically negative social value for indigenous actors’ (p.77) instead she finds Battaglia's nostalgia ‘may in fact be a vehicle for knowledge, rather than only a yearning for something lost’ (p.219). Reflecting that radio can maintain mood and emotional states, she concludes that is ‘as tangible, material manifestation of affective, sensory experience, aided by the use of radio sound’ (p.215) and how, ultimately, the past ‘can be brought into the present, as a feeling that alters the present, and can further be projected into the future’ (p.222).
This mode of activated nostalgia is reflected in my aesthetic approach to my wider PhD Switch Off project, in which I sought to construct speculatives future of FM radio through a referential and historically conscious consideration of past experimentation.
|Conference||The Sound of Memory Symposium: Sound-track/Sound-scape|
|Funder||Goldsmiths and The University of Kent|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||20 Mar 2018|
|Completed||24 Apr 2017|
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