07.05.18 - 09.05.18

Radiophonic Cultures - Sonic Environments and Archives in Hybrid Media Systems

International Conference
Museum Tinguely, Basel

Developed into a crucial form of communication over the course of the 20th century, radio is currently undergoing processes of fundamental reorganization that can be summarized by the byword digitalization. When considered using the much older term radiophonics, these processes unleash conceptual possibilities that far surpass any simple scheme to economize or accelerate production- or broadcasting-forms. In the practices associated with broadcasting and listening on and with electromagnetic waves, noise — i.e. the sonic components not notatable in conventional musical scores—becomes part of the composition.

The “Radiophonic Cultures” Conference assumes that radiophonic art experimentally and self-reflexively negotiates the boundaries of what is defined as music in the following three ways: (1) When understood in terms of radiophonics, the defined limits of music and sound shift. (2) The cultural techniques of radiophonics transform compositional techniques, which concern not only the structure of music but also the spatial effects produced through studio techniques and broadcast structures. For this reason, (3) the concept of radiophonics challenges media-theoretical reflections on the production of collectives, connectivities, and historically-specific subjectivities.

In negotiating these aspects of radiophonics, the history of radio proves itself to be a history of producing the future through experimentation, modelling, and experience. Producing the future (not only the future of radio) is hard work. It is not without reason that in acoustics there is no equivalent for what in the visual realm would be called “vision”. The radio has to be on air, to be at all.

The interdisciplinary conference “Radiophonic Cultures” investigates the history of radio and its sounds as a history of the tensions and interactions among its technical, aesthetic, and political dimensions and thus plumbs the depths of future radio’s potentials.

The conference is organized by the SNF-Sinergia research project “Radiophonic Cultures - Sonic Environments and Archives in Hybrid Media Systems“ at the University of Basel’s media studies and musicology departments, the FHNW Hochschule für Musik Basel, and the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar in cooperation with the Museum Tinguely.

The conference is free of charge. Registration is not necessary, but helpful for our planning.

Conference languages: German and English

For further inquiries concerning the conference please contact: conference@radiophonic-cultures.ch

Find the detailed conference booklet below.


May be subject to change

Monday, May 7:



  Radio Music (John Cage)
  Roland Wetzel (Basel): Welcome to the Museum Tinguely
  Ute Holl (Basel): Introduction


Intervention I:
Gilles Aubry (Berlin/Lausanne): Baraka Radio

17:30‑17:45 Break


Präsentation der Ausstellung Radiophonic Spaces

  Astrid Drechsler, Anja Erdmann & Nathalie Singer (Weimar)
  Andres Pardey (Basel)

Tuesday, May 8


Panel 1: Broadcasting or Microcasting: Creating Pluralities and Collectives

  Ole Frahm (Hamburg/Frankfurt): Zerstreute Handlungsfähigkeit
  Christina Dunbar-Hester (Los Angeles): Low Power to the People: Activism, Gender, and Technical Expertise in the Radiophonic Arts
  Frances Dyson (Davis/Paddington): Speaking out, Listening in, Echoing the Radiophonic Self
  Host: Jan Philip Müller (Basel)
11:00-11:15 Break


Panel 2: On the History of Knowledge of Listening to Music on the Radio 1920-1960

  Camilla Bork (Leuven/Berlin): Die Angst vor dem Geräusch - Zum Verhältnis von Musik und Geräusch im radiophonen Komponieren der Weimarer Republik
  Andrea Bohlman (Chapel Hill): Radio As Miracle, Radio As Mundane
  Angela de Benedictis (Basel): Radiokunst und radiophonisches Theater: Auf den Spuren der italienischen Erfahrung (mit Beispielen von Bruno Maderna und Luciano Berio)
  Host: Matthias Schmidt (Basel)
13:15‑15:00 Lunch Break


Panel 3: Archive Strategies: On the Future of Radio

  Michaela Melián (Hamburg/München): Künstlerische Praxis Radio
  Marcus Gammel (Berlin): Soundkraut. Wie bringt man Radiokunst ans Tageslicht?
  Wolfgang Ernst (Berlin): Das implizite Wissen der sonischen Signale. Klangarchive vs. elektroakustische Speicher
  Host: Andreas Feddersen (Weimar)
17:00‑17:15 Break



Intervention II:
Berit Schuck & Julia Tieke (Berlin): Speaking of Beirut and the City is Missing (Reloaded)

18:30‑19:30 Apéro



  Simone Conforti (Basel/Genf): MusicThatMoneyCanBuy
  Duo Valerio Tricoli (München) & Norbert Möslang (St. Gallen)

Wednesday, May 9


Panel 4: Studio Procedures: Radiophonics as Poesis

  John Dack (London): ‘Raindrops in the Sun’ (Stockhausen)
  Colin Lang (Berlin): Roman R&B: Radio and Basement  
  Julia Kursell (Amsterdam) & Armin Schäfer (Bochum): Elektronische Musik für Radios von Karlheinz Stockhausen und Michael Snow  
  Host: Tatiana Eichenberger (Basel)  
11:00-11:15 Break  


Panel 5: Radiophonic Realities: Fieldwork and Sonic Fictions

  Cathy Lane (London): Am I Here?  
  Maren Haffke (Bochum): Kittlers Naturgeräusche  
  Eran Schaerf (Berlin/Zürich) & Eva Meyer (Berlin): Feldforschung im System Radio  
  Host: Tobias Gerber (Basel)  
13:15‑14:30 Lunch Break  


Roundtable: The Futures of Radio?

  With: Liselotte Tännler (Zürich), Bernhard Siegert (Weimar) & Christoph B. Keller (Basel)  
  Host: Ute Holl (Basel)