.ran - real audio netliterature

Event type: 
07.11.2004 to 20.02.2005
Kunstradio (ORF) Vienna
Record Status: 
Short description: 

When talking about internet and radio the term "radio theory" almost inevitably occurs. In 1927, Brecht had postulated:

"to make radio a really democratic thing" and "to turn broadcasting from a distribution apparatus into a communication apparatus".
[Bertolt Brecht, Complete Works, VIII, S.129].

In other words, Brecht claimed a retour channel for the radio, a possibility to react for the listeners. And this retour channel, the possibility to interact for users in the Brechtian sense, seems to be consequently implemented with the internet for the first time ever. Alone due to the fact that every single information exchange on the web is bidirectional already on the level of protocols.

So actually, the only popular phrase which is broadly associated with net art and net literature is "interactivity", trivialized to a mere "clickability" and usually accompanied by "user participation". Not that this were not true; numerous essential net projects are based on and play with these possibilities. Still, the "retour channel" is only one aspect. And by reducing net or computer literature solely to this, as, for instance, it happened from around1996/97 and its hypertext and hyperfiction euphoria, one is neglecting other important and interesting approaches.

What the reference to Brecht's radio theory implies is that there is a distinct relationship between net literature and radio, even if this is apriori only an interactive one.

Already at the beginning of the 1960s, Max Bense and a group of people around him were making literary experiments with mainframe computer systems in Stuttgart and, at the same time, numerous radio plays by the Stuttgart Group (Bense, Reinhard Döhl, Helmut Heissenbüttel, Ludwig Harig, Ernst Jandl, Franz Mon u.a.) played with and expanded the possibilities of the medium radio. This relationship between radio / radio play and computer, then still in a juxtaposition, may have been at random, but is updated for present net literature by Reinhard Döhl.

In five parts, the series .ran [real audio netliterature] wants to experimentally explore other possibilities besides the often conjured interactivity and will pick up various approaches of net literature (code, montage/collage, authorship, text-image-(sound) indifference, reference systems) and try to apply them to the medium radio. The current panorama is sketched out approximately by presenting 5 different positions.

1.) Man - Machine :: Apple in Space :: Search the World
Crossing borders, experiments, the appropriation of reality instead of a depiction of the world, dialogic art, the play with associations: this is Reinhard Döhl's work. His probably most famous work is his concrete Apfelgedicht (Apple Poem) from 1965. 30 years later it bites its way through an apple in Johannes Auer's net poem "worm applepie for döhl". „appleinspace“: a multi-layer-hommage experimenting with internet, reality, textual reality as well as with the complete text assemblage of Reinhard Döhl which plays with the unconscious, simularity, and volatility. As an extension of „appleinspace“, Beat Suter und René Bauer plan a multi-layered human-search-machine-cooperation.

2.) Authorship and its automatic generating
Who is the author of an art work which is generated by computers? The person who wrote the concept, the person programming, the user or the computer? And what about the original work when the digital copy is identical? Who does "culture" belong to if net art is freely accessible on the internet and / or is mutually developed in open processes and which effect does this have on the formation of "artists markets" within the art system? Cornelia Sollfrank and Timothy Didymus will stage their radio play within these conTEXTs.

With Dada, the interrelation of word-image-sound becomes indifferent. Everything can arise from the same material of letters. Thanks to the same alpha-numerical code defining text, image, and sound it's no wonder that Dada is repeatedly updated as Neo-Dada on the net. With her piece "DADA TO GO: A WALKTHROUGH LEVELS" Sylvia Egger will walk along a sound/text course on Dadaists on the net.

4.) Collage / Montage: Idensen live!
The avant-gardistic strategies of collage and montage are basic operations in dealing with computer data. Heiko Idensenn, author of hyper-literature, networker, and net theorist from the very beginning will "open, newly edit, convert, export etc. source codes of digital texts and hypermedial objects" in an auditive collage.

5.) Codeworks: Netart on the border of Language and Codes
Florian Cramer has for years intensely been dealing with Codework, poetically condensed private languages made of "fragments of network protocols, communication- and software codes which neatly mix the English language with programme, chat, and crash codes".
For the first time, Codework will be adapted for the radio.

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Johannes Auer
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