Mark Tribe on Thu, 7 Aug 1997 04:34:46 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> RHIZOME_RAW: trans-pacific thread

trans-pacific thread
tetsuo kogawa ( and alex galloway (

6.14.97. tetsuo:

A friend of mine let me know that you wrote a great review of my
performance at Video In Studios [see "electronic art in Vancouver" in

Certainly, your review encouraged me. Since I had to do my show in a
very limited situation, I was afraid how the audience felt. For a
performance artist, such a feeling is usual. This time, however, I had
to choose a more modest way to show than I had prepared.

In my 'policy' of performance, I finally decide the production only
after I look at the space that I am to use. I prepared three options
that could adapt themselves to the place I am to be given. I went to
Video In Studios before, but never knew the space at that night. Also, I
was told that my show time is "the shorter the better" because there
will be a party later.

After looking at the space eventually on May 15 with my Jet-lag brain, I
had to give up the most expected show in my mind: while transmitting
airwaves to my body, the censoring system calculated them and the
computer changed them down to the audible frequency. My body actions
will change the frequency and you could listen to the unconscious and
conscious body 'music'.

Anyway, through my self-consciousness on the performance at that night,
also being inspired by your thoughtful review this time, I am thinking
to develop the idea of "Natural Radio" which is free from programming.

6.15.97. alex:

your performance has sparked my interest in radio transmission. i would
very much like it if you can recommend a good resource (book/website)
that would explain how to make one of your 'micro-transmitters.'

what do you mean by "the idea of 'Natural Radio' which is free from

6.17.97. tetsuo:

In my web site (, there are a visual
diagram, Q&A, and links on the free radio activity (especially check Rob
Kozinuk's web site)  and also my articles on what the Mini FM (a
Japanese version of micro radio movement in the 80s) is.

Let me introduce my process to start my transmitter performance. The
micro radio that I have been involved has been very experimental, but
there are two aspects in it: practical and artistic. Right now, I am
involved in the latter mainly while I was involved in the former in the
80s. At that time, Mini FM was invented as an alternative to the
mass-oriented radio which addresses to the anonymous audience in a
broader area. Mini FM intends to link local people. There were no local
radio nor agenda for it in Japan in the 80s. Also, the government was so
strict to give license and piracy. So, I started an idea to open so low
watt radio as could not be caught by the governmental surveillance. This
idea quickly became a boom as late as in 1983. This idea was later on
institutionalized as an earlier model of Japanese "community FM". As far
as I am concerned, I was not so much interested in institutionalization,
and gradually I became interested in the artistic aspect of Mini FM. Why
the audience was enthusiastic to listen to such a micro radio that can
only cover the walking distance. Some virtual reality  effect in a
relayed radios... Also, I became interested in hand work of soldering
iron and cutting cables and so on, and I wondered if such a work might a
new counterpart of having a brush of painting in the age of electronics.
I started to show my hand movement to use soldier iron and other
electric tools as a performance piece. Before then, I was more
interested in using my body and electronic sensors. "Natural radio" is a
consequence of this process: free micro radio to transmitter
performance. The 'free radio' that I was involved in the 80s was free
from the mass media. Now that even the Japanese mass media must be
interested in narrowcasting (such as multi-channel radio and
television), the 'free radio' must be free from the very aspect that the
conventional radio has been based on:programming. MY idea of "Natural
Radio" is just being there. It is not stopped but continue to transmit
every sounds around the transmitter for 24 hours. It will soon become a
part of the building, streets and the world itself.

6.25.97. alex:

i enjoyed your description, and thanks for the url of your web site, i
will investigate that. your idea of "Mini FM" is very exciting. there is
a pirate radio station here in seattle that operates with about 60 watts
and has had some problem with the police! you are definitely on the
right track with your idea of "brush of painting in the age of
electronics" - that is what i loved about your unique combination of
performance/instruction in vancouver. when you cut that piece of wood
there was a great sense of physical immediacy, a kind of performative

i am eager to make a micro radio transmitter. my project would be to
wear some sort of transmitter on my body during my day-to-day life in
order to "amplify" my voice and immediate audio environment over the
near-by airwaves. this is very much like your idea of "Natural Radio."
it would be interesting also to have some sort of realtime net
broadcast, however i do not currently have access to a realaudio server.
have you ever used your natural radio ideas to broadcast online? have
you done any around-the-clock broadcasting of normal daily life?

6.27.97. tetsuo:

Your plan of "transmitter on my body during my day-to-day life in order
to 'amplify' my voice and immediate audio environment over the near-by
airwaves" would be great. I think nobody has tried it yet. If I have
anything do for you, please let me know.

>have you ever used your natural radio ideas to broadcast online? I had
the testing attempts several times using StreamWorks (Xing Inc.) but
still have technical problems in the server.

>have you done any around-the-clock broadcasting of normal daily life?
In Radio Home Run (our Mini FM radio which ended up in 1996), some sort
of such a transmission was popular but nobody 'theorized' (not
consciously used) it. I remind that Murray Schafer argues a kind of
"Natural Radio" in his "Radical Radio" (see Sound by Artists, eds. by
Dan Lander and Micah lexier).

7.7.97. alex:

i wanted to ask you also about VRML. it seems to me that the artistic
potential of this type of space have been grossly underdeveloped and may
even be doomed. although some in the architectural community have seized
upon virtual reality rendering as a means of creating a new aesthetic,
none of these spaces is ever small enough (in bytes) to be
network-accessable as per the specifications of vrml. what do you think
about vrml in the art world?

7.23.97. tetsuo:

I have been involved in this very thing. Right now, the contest at
Machida City Museum on VRML is in the judging phase. The judges must
decide the prize winners. However, we have had a lot of technical
problems. The main reason derived from the programming of the
applicants. At the same time, the line condition and the difference of
the platforms caused difficulty for us to check what they worked and
tried to create.

If you are interested in what the situation is, please access to our
site for judgement that will be available until this weekend:

VRML has been established by a kind of 'community' work in which even
aggressive computer companies submitted to non-profit collective
working. If you look at every function of VRML applications, most of
them were attained by advanced systems of VR. While the present
performance of VRML will not surprise previous VR systems, however,
there is an unique function that it works collectively on the net. The
Internet has changed our collectivity a lot. But not so essential.
Because it has not so much changed our basis of perception (the basis of
bodyness). And the VRML will absolutely changed our perception far more
than the two dimensional WWW browser.

Alex Galloway

        --> tel +1 212 406 8710
        --> fax +1 212 406 1399
        --> 368 Broadway #403, New York, NY 10013

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