Designing virtual spaces: redefining radio art through digital control

PhD Thesis

Hilmi, A. 2020. Designing virtual spaces: redefining radio art through digital control. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Creative Arts and Industrial Studies
AuthorsHilmi, A.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy

Radio Art is a composition practice that is constantly evolving. Artists share a commonality to redefine, reinvent, and repurpose analogue radio. It is an art that often bends to the will of antiqued technology, celebrating a wide pallet of found sounds. This research extends the boundaries of the art form by exploring Radio Art through sonic-centric lens and establishing a consistent and reproducible compositional framework. By shifting radio from a found object to an instrument, I have deconstructed its sonic aesthetics into two parallel materials for composition, gestural noise and broadcast signal. When tuning an analogue radio to a signal, relationships between these materials unfold. Contrast is a term found throughout my research. Contrast is embodied throughout radio and its history; radio is used as both a scientific communication device and for artistic expression. it is a symbol of democracy and oppression. Radio produces broadcast noise and signal, creating poetic reception, such as control and chaos, anxiety and ecstasy, distance and closeness. This research explores the characteristics of these forces and materials as a symbiotic relationship of unfolding radiophonic behaviours. A major focus of this research is the control of analogue radio through deconstruction and composition. I embarked on a twenty-four-month development period to build a Digital Audio Workstation called Radiophonic Environmental Designer, (RED). RED enables composers to create virtual radiophonic environments that are navigated by rotating the dial. Material is positioned along a horizon, and tuning behaviours sculpted. There is also a physical interface embedded into an analogue radio shell to control the virtual tuning, namely, Broadcast Link-up Environment, (BLUE). BLUE is an ad-on program offering an online digital platform for the diffusion of Radio Art. Using an internet connection and gyroscope technology that is built into most smart phones, a radiophonic environment is interacted through a purpose-built website. In my creative practice, analogue radio has been redesigned by adopting digital technological practices to control, edit and model it’s unique sound. In doing so, I reflect upon relationships between analogue and digital design principles through an extensive study on virtual analogue software and interfaces.

KeywordsRadio art; Digital control; Designing virtual spaces
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Deposited20 Jun 2022
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