Radio Without Boundaries History
Deep Wireless 2007 / Radio Without Boundaries
The Deep Wireless Radio Art Festival is held May 1-31 every year in Toronto. It is a month long celebration of Radio Art produced by New Adventures in Sound Art that includes performances, special radio broadcasts on CBC Radio, Radio Art Interventions broadcast throughout May, residencies at Charles Street Video, special radio art dissemination projects that get radio art on the radio, workshops and a conference.
How did Deep Wireless get its name?
Well, Victoria Fenner who was at that time with the Canadian Society for Independent Radio Production (CSIRP) was organizing a series of workshops for radio artists and producers in September 2001 that was to accompany Sound Travels - another annual event produced by New Adventures in Sound Art. As the workshops were designed for radio producers and fashioned loosely around the Pauline Oliveros' Deep Listening workshops, Darren Copeland (our artistic director) thought the name Deep Wireless would work well. As it turned out, the workshop was postponed until the following spring. However, the name Deep Wireless was such an appropriate one for the new radio-related event we were creating for April 2002, we decided to use it for the entire event. Victoria then changed the name of the workshops that accompanied that first Deep Wireless event to Radio that hears the Soundscape. The workshop leaders included Darren Copeland, Anne Bourne, Wende Bartley and Victoria Fenner.
Transmissions sans Frontières
Another initiative by Victoria Fenner, the Transmissions sans Frontières conference was to follow the International Features Conference in May 2003 and it was again to be included in the now annual Deep Wireless festival produced by New Adventures in Sound Art. The date of the festival was permanently changed to May and included a month of activities ranging from performances at the Ambient Ping with a focus on radio to commission/residencies begun in collaboration with Charles Street Video and CBC's "Out Front" along with the already established presence on community radio stations and the performances surrounding the conference by radio and sound artists.
How the first Deep Wireless conference unfolded...
Well, with Victoria's resignation from CSIRP in February 2003, the SARS outbreak in Toronto in March, and the eventual postponement of the International Features Conference to September 2003 because of the SARS outbreak, that first Deep Wireless conference was on shaky ground indeed.
New Adventures in Sound Art decided to take over the organization of the conference, retaining CSIRP as a major sponsor (rather than organizer) and to work closely with Barry Rueger (Victoria's partner) in order to ensure that the transition was painless for the already registered conference attendees. Barry proved to be an invaluable assistant throughout the organizational aspects of the conference as well as at the conference itself and Victoria was always willing to give advice when asked.
Finding new speakers to replace the ones not able to come due to either the SARS outbreak or the cancellation of the International Features Conference, proved to be a far easier task than expected as there were many national and very talented artists that we had to chose from. That first conference included Steve Wadhams, Christos Hatzis, Garvia Bailey, Chantal Dumas, Victoria Fenner, Anna Friz, Julie Shapiro, Chandra Bulucon, Dan Hart, Reena Katz, Mark Brownell, Kathy Kennedy, Jim Metzner Barb Woolner, and Chris Brookes as speakers. Close to half of the registered attendees were from the US (even though SARS was still in the background with another outbreak following the conference by two weeks). Transom.org attended the conference and posted comments about the experience (check out the audio at transom.org. )
Radio Without Boundaries 2004
The Deep Wireless conference - newly named Radio Without Boundaries - included an impressive roster of talented individuals who have been instrumental in many ways in promoting radio art either in their own work or in the way in which they present it. Speakers included: Gregory Whitehead, Hildegard Westerkamp, Sabine Breitsameter, Tom Wallace, Janna Graham, Tim May, Janet Russell, David Kattenburg, Richard Windeyer, Marilyn Lerner, Marian van der Zon, Michelle Nagai and Michael Waterman. The conference was at the Latvian House in Toronto and was well-attended. The Canadian Society for Independent Radio Production was a major sponsor of the conference.
Radio Theatre performances
2004 marked the initiation of the Radio Theatre Ensemble. Four artists were were asked to create new pieces individually and to perform them live as a group. These consisted of Susanna Hood, Nilan Perera, Marjorie Chan and Evalyn Parry. The audience response to these pieces was great! One audience member thanked us for bringing radio theatre to Toronto.
Deep Wireless 2005
We feel very fortunate to have added a new co-producer for Deep Wireless 2005 - the Drake Hotel. They were the venue for the Deep wireless installations - running for an entire month at the Drake hotel - by Anna Friz, Paul DeMarinis, and the team of Chantal Dumas, Christian Calon and Don Sinclair. The 2005 Radio Without Boundaries conference again included a talented array of artists and producers who have been instrumental in many ways in promoting radio art either in their own work or in the way in which they present it: Lidia Camacho (Mexico), Chris Brookes (Newfoundland), Anna Friz (Montreal), Helen Thorington (USA), Steve Wadhams (Toronto), Gregory Whitehead (USA), Elisabeth Zimmerman (Austria), as well as panels including the artists from the Deep Wireless commissioning residency: Yves Daoust, Milena Droumeva, Geoff Siskind, and Dragan Todorovic. CBC Radio 1's Outfront again co-produced the Deep Wireless commissioning/residency programme; the Deep Wireless 2 radio art compilation CD was launched on March 1st, 2005; and last by not least, a new Radio Theatre Ensemble was assembled and included Chris Brookes, Anna Friz, Eric Leonardson and Evalyn Parry who each created their own pieces and performed them live as an ensemble .
Thanks to Barry Rueger who is still my right-hand man when it comes to any publicity for the conference, web-related matters and just plain giving out good advice. And of course to Darren Copeland who's vision for Deep Wireless back in 2002 was to create a Toronto festival that would bring much-needed recognition to radio art in Canada and who continues to provide the artistic vision that carries New Adventures in Sound Art always into new terrain.
Managing Director and Radio Without Boundaries conference director
What is Sound Art?
Simply put, a art created by through the use of sound. Sound art has historically had a presence in Canada. Many artists in Quebec still follow the musique concrète and acousmatic art tradition begun in France in the 1950s, which is one of the many precursors of sound art. Additionally, over the years, conceptual visual artists across Canada have also made sound-based work - an activity that came to a peak in the 1980s (well-documented and contextualized in books edited by Toronto sound/radio artist Dan Lander). This inclination has given rise more recently to the creation of sound-based multi-media and installation works made by artists from a variety of artistic backgrounds - theatre, digital media, sculpture, and dance. Although sound art has been around in Canada as long as it has anywhere else, it has not received the critical attention that it has in Europe. New Adventures in Sound Art, along with a handful of other organizations here in Canada, are trying to change that. We try to promote both existing and newly created works in events that are accessible to the general public.
What is Radio Art?
When a piece is radiophonic it generally means that it has used text either as spoken text or speech within its composition or that it has derived its theme from a poetic, literary or conceptual idea. The exact phrase "radio art" means different things to different people. In Germany, for instance, the term radio art is used only to describe a piece created for radio that is "cutting edge." We use the term a little differently and perhaps in a more general way to mean sound art for radio. I would call radio art selections "pieces" or "compositions," rather than audio programs. Some are quite short pieces meant more as a glimpse of something, and others are more in the radio documentary style. What makes a veritable piece of radio art? Ingenuity, for one; the use of sound in interesting ways. For example, a piece can stand on its own without having a story-line attached; and a story can unfold without the use of spoken word, through sound. This is not to say that a radio documentary can not be considered radio art because I believe it can. It's all in how the radio producer (or composer) uses all the options available to create a unified and integrated experience for the listener. On a personal note, I just recently heard a documentary on CBC radio about Nelson Mandela that was spectacular for me as a listener because I felt as though I was reeled into the experience and didn't want to leave that listening space - in fact, I remained in the listening space (i.e., the auditory experience created for me by that particular piece) for quite awhile afterwards.
What is New Adventures in Sound Art?
New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) is a non-profit organization that produces performances and installations spanning the entire spectrum of electroacoustic and experimental sound art. Included in its Toronto productions are: Deep Wireless, Sound Travels, Sign Waves and SOUNDplay. The objectives of NAISA are to foster awareness and understanding locally, as well as nationally and internationally, in the cultural vitality of experimental sound art in its myriad forms of expression. This objective will be achieved through the exploration of new sound technologies in conjunction with the creation of cultural events and artifacts.