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From the radio days

One day way back in Miami, Florida, I asked a friend about doing radio. Having a great music collection, my friend had been a dj in commercial public venues as well as radio stations. He and his mother were both art dealers in the city, involved in promoting the work of avant-garde artists, it was the 80’s, a very fertile and creative time in the city.

Artifacts Art Salon was Howard’s gallery. It was a lot of fun. At a coffee shop, we chatted about my radio show idea. On a napkin I wrote the thoughts about the architecture of the show I had in mind. At the time, I was involved in listening to all kinds of music, including sound work and experimental music. Also, having an extensive music collection, I wanted to focus on the non-commercial genre that was known as New Music. Starting by the experimental work of John Cage in the 50’s, it would explore its roots in modern music, classical, jazz, world, electronic and soundwork.

Miami was a vital place at that time, challenging audiences with non-conformist art and music, coming from its multicultural context and international influence. There was even an important New Music festival that took place for many years, bringing amazing musicians that were exploring all sorts of unconventional sound.

We started Radio Artifacts, and did it together for a while. Just in an hour we had a few segments to coordinate and time, like an arts calendar, the inevitable commercial, then segments of dj-ing by both, and even a 5 minute sound piece. This piece could be anything. I had a portable broadcasting tool that I would take with me to any outings that could provide an interesting field recording, like poetry readings, gatherings of people, city sounds. There was once a street guy who would go into these verbal rants in a made up language that sounded like ‘speaking in tongues’. I would put together these sounds layered with other things. We did this show for a while and then that station offered me a three hour show focused on what I did, world and the experimental new music. I did this for a few years before I moved to the Southwest. From there terrestrial radio transitioned into internet radio, and everything changed, I explored it with Radio Molecule.

Initially, the world of radio intrigued me deeply. It could be a perfect tool for the blind, offering a vast imaginative world through sound, voice and infinite soundscapes. You needed to have a specific experience of time though, a lot more welcoming than today. As the internet took over our lives, and time, we became impatient, ambitious with the new tools and everything we were led to believe we could achieve in the more compressed sense of accelerated time. We lost the experience of a meditative space, where we could get lost as the sun changed. These days there are new movements addressing and offering back a ‘slow’ experience, like Slow Food, and Slow Design, attempts at recovering the contemplative. We deserve it.