AV Festival 08: On the Future of Broadcasting [uk NE England]

homepage.jpgAV Festival 08 is a biennial international festival of electronic art, moving image and music. This year it takes place from 28 Feb – 8 March 08 in the North East of England (Newcastle, Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Sunderland) and is on the topic of broadcasting! It features Marko Peljhan (Slovenia), Harun Farocki (Germany), Tetsuo Kogawa (Japan), Autechre (UK), Joyce Hinterding (Australia), Yuko Mohri (Japan), Jean-Jacques Perrey (France), Chris Watson (UK), People Like Us (UK) and many many others. The full programme can be downloaded or viewed from the AV website.

Theme: The theme of the festival is broadcast. The UK has begun to switch off analogue television signals, paving the way for television to become entirely digital. At the same time the internet and mobile networks have created opportunities for us to ‘broadcast ourselves’ in entirely new ways. As the landscape of broadcasting changes irrevocably, AV Festival 08 will be a catalyst for debate about the future of broadcasting, and an event to celebrate a century of on-air and online transmission.

Broadcast features of over 100 new commissions, exhibitions, screenings, concerts, workshops and events, including:

– a new performance of John Cage’s Variations VII performed by :zoviet*france: & Atau Tanaka

– a newly commissioned outdoor performance by Marko Peljhan

– a contemporary version of the famous radio War of the Worlds radio play, directed by Joanna Read

– performances by Autechre, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Jean-Jacques Perrey, Broadcast, Disinformation, Long Range & many others

– a newly commissioned sound installations by Chris Watson, Marcus Coates, People Like Us and others

– exhibitions by Joyce Hinterding, Harun Farocki, Staalplaat Soundsystem, Yuko Mohri, Sonia Boyce, Ryota Kuwakubo and others

– a major new touring exhibition, Broadcast Yourself, featuring Bill Viola, Chris Burden, Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie & others

– a conference featuring Atau Tanaka, Douglas Kahn, Brandan Labelle, Heidi Grundmann, Andreas Broeckmann, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec & others

– workshops lead by Tetsuo Kogawa, Raitis Smits, Caitlin Jones and others

– a screening programme of bold and innovative television

– 3 FM radio stations, including Resonance FM broadcasting from mima in Middlesbrough

Theme: We have just entered the second century of broadcasting. And it finds us on the apex of massive change. The switch off of analogue broadcasting has now started. Information and entertainment which has been sent via the airwaves since the beginning of the 20th century is going digital.

What does this mean for the future of broadcasting? Does the switch to digital create greater possibilities for cultural and community participation in broadcasting? Or will the
switch create more complex regulatory frameworks, which disempower potential broadcasters? Will the airwaves fall silent after the switch off? What is the fate of the part of the spectrum that radio and television use now? Will this valuable natural resource be opened up for public use? Or will these frequencies be sold to mobile telephone companies or the military?

The answers to these questions may define our entertainment culture for the next decades, and will provide the backdrop for AV Festival 08.

At the same time as traditional broadcasting faces transformation, the internet has emerged as a key network for the distribution of audiovisual material. It seems that the webcasting revolution promised at the end of last millennium is just beginning to bear fruit. Then, artists such as Van Gogh TV, Active Ingredient and Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie (Broadcast Yourself, Hatton Gallery Newcastle) used technologies such as videophones and streaming media to create channels for artistic broadcasting. Now, the immense popularity of user-generated audio and video online networks, such as MySpace and YouTube, are creating a parallel universe of radio and television on the internet. We’ll show how a new generation of student filmmakers are inhabiting and shaping these online spaces, in AV:IRAL, which will be screened online at our YouTube channel, and on site during the festival (The Design Centre, 5 March).

Broadcasting is also on the move. Podcasting is enabling our favourite internet radio and television programmes to become mobile, downloaded to our media players. The mobile telephone companies who paid so dearly for a slice of the high-speed 3G network will soon begin to fulfill their promise to deliver audio and video services.

Thus the landscape of broadcasting is changing irrevocably. Not only is there a clear need to debate the form of broadcasting in its second century, but also to reflect on the past century of radio and television. How did it originate? How has it changed our lives?

For AV Festival 08, artists, filmmakers and musicians have created works which illuminate all aspects of broadcasting. Policy-makers, researchers and activists will discuss the switch off and speculate about the future of radio, television and the spectrum (The Television will Not be Revolutionised, 6-7 March & Community Radio Night, 4 March). Engineers, technologists and hobbyists will give hands-on workshops in transmission technology (Radio Craft Lab & Waygood’s Radio Rally). Concerts and events will commemorate broadcasting accomplishments and celebrate a century of the airwaves (Variations VII, 29 February, Radiophonia, 1 March, and War of the Worlds, 5 March).

At AV Festival 08, we will discover that ever since the first experiments in wireless transmission by Nikola Tesla, broadcasting has been a mechanism to enact social change. The power of broadcasting to shape public behaviour was graphically portrayed in 1938, by dramatist, Orson Welles, in his now legendary adaptation of War of the Worlds. The broadcast blurred the factual format of newscasting, with a fictional story of alien invasion and sparked panic amongst radio listeners. We celebrate the 70th anniversary of this crucial moment in broadcasting history, with a new version of the radio play staged by acclaimed theatre director Joanna Read (Middlesbrough Town Hall, 5 March).

Broadcasting continued to witness and transmit social history with images joining sound on the airwaves, as television became part of public life. AV Festival 08’s screening programme TV at the Cinema brings television to the big screen, showcasing landmark programmes, such as Ken Loach’s pioneering drama Cathy Come Home (Tyneside Cinema, 6 March), a graphic depiction of homelessness which inspired real policy change in 1960s Britain. Later political satire, such as the incendiary Brass Eye (Tyneside Cinema, 8 March), showed how television had become a platform to mock the political establishment. You can voice your own opinion about television, by voting for your favourite show online at our Alternative Top TV poll. The winning TV show will be shown at a gala screening (Tyneside Cinema, 7 March).

As broadcasting became increasingly ubiquitous, it became not only a means of observing social reality, but also increasingly a mechanism to shape it. Harun Farocki’s Videogram of a Revolution depicts the so-called television revolution in Romania in 1989, where broadcasting played a critical role in the fall of Ceau_escu regime. And politicians’ ruthless manipulation of television is vividly brought to life in Brian Springer’s Spin (both at Star and Shadow Cinema, 3 March).

AV Festival 08 will also ask what role have artists played in shaping the trajectory of the airwaves, showing how they have experimented with elemental substance of broadcasting – electromagnetism, radio waves and resonant energy. These dark materials are evident in Yuko Mohri’s work Bairdcast (Discovery Museum, Newcastle), which shows how the fabric of early television can be transformed into contemporary installation.

In our conference Music & Machines VIII (Culture Lab, 29 February – 1 March), we will explore the origins of artistic experimentation with the airwaves showing how artists insisted on the radio spectrum as a new landscape.

John Cage’s philosophy of the radio spectrum as a part of the physical environment is borne out in his 1966 work Radio Happenings I-V, in which he remarked, “all [radio] is making audible something which you’re already in. You are bathed in radio waves”. Cage furthered his experimentation with radio and broadcast media in his major 1966 performance for the 9 Evening Theatre & technology series, Variations VII. We will stage the first major UK performance of Variations VII (AV Festival 08 opening gala, Baltic, 29 February).

The idea of radio as a pervasive medium, which surrounds us and moves through us, is made tangible in Joyce Hinterding’s large-scale antenna work (Aeriology, Reg Vardy Gallery, Sunderland), which makes audible the very low radio frequencies which resonate continuously throughout space.

Slovenian artist Marko Peljhan has been creating works that make the radio landscape perceptible for many years. The latest of these is Scatter!, a large-scale outdoor durational performance (AV Festival closing gala, Baltic Square, 8 March) which will audio-visually map the radio sky in real time.

José Luis de Vicente & Irma Vilà’s Atlas of Electromagnetic Space (Institute for Digital Innovation, Middlesbrough) also maps the inscrutable topography that is the electromagnetic spectrum, in this case through an interactive data visualisation.

These and other artists at AV Festival 08, such as Tetsuo Kogawa the founder of miniFM in Japan (who will speak at Music & Machines and lead a workshop at the Radio Craft Lab), Resonance FM (who are in residence at mima, Middlesbrough), and German radio artist Knut Aufermann (who will lead AV Festival programming on NE1FM), all survey the broadcasting landscape, and indeed alter its topology with their projects.

These artists – and your presence – will ensure AV Festival 08 becomes a catalyst for debate about the future state of broadcasting, and also a celebration of a century of on air and online transmission.

Honor Harger
Director, AV Festival 08

___ AV Festival 08: programme

The programme can be downloaded or viewed online:

New commissions & premieres include:
– A Marriage of Shadows – by Michael Edgerton (concert, world premiere)
– Aeriology – by Joyce Hinterding (exhibition, UK Premiere)
– Atlas of Electromagnetic Space – (installation, co-commission)
– AV Festival on NE1FM – (radio station, commission)
– Bairdcast: A History of Machine Translation –
– Yuko Mohri (exhibition, commission)
– Broadcast Yourself – Various artists (exhibition, co-commission)
– Deep Play – Harun Farocki (exhibition, UK Premiere)
– Now Hear This – Marcus Coates, Zoe Irvine &
– People Like Us (outdoor sound works, commissions)
– War of the Worlds – directed by Joanna Read (theatrical performance, commission)
– Radiophonia – by Broadcast, Dick Mills, Jean-Jacques Perrey et al (concert, world
– Resonance FM at mima – (radio station, commission)
– Scatter! – by Marko Peljhan (performance, commission)
– Soundscape FM – (radio station, commission)
– Variations VII – :zoviet*france, Atau Tanaka (performance, commission)
– Waygood’s Amateur Radio Rally – (event, co-commission)
– Whispering in the Leaves – Chris Watson
(installation & performance, co-commission)

Performances by:
– :zoviet*france: & Atau Tanaka – in Variations VII – 29 February
– Ars Nova Ensemble – in A Marriage of Shadows by Michael Edgerton – 3 March
– Autechre, with SND & Rob Hall – 2 March
– AV:ISIONs Club & lounge nights – various dates
– Broadcast, Brian Duffy, Dick Mills, Jean-Jacques Perrey & Dana Countryman – in
Radiophonia – 1 March
– Chris Watson – 6 March
– Disinformation & Strange Attractor – in National Grid – 5 March
– Long Range (Phil Hartnoll & Nick Smith) – – 29 February
– Mx (Marko Peljhan), Brian Springer, Nullo (Aljo_a Abrahamsberg) & Delray (Matthew
Biederman) – in Scatter! – 8 March
– Staalplaat Soundsystem – 29 February
– Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec – 1 March

Exhibitions include:
– Aeriology – Joyce Hinterding
– Atlas of Electromagnetic Space – José Luis de Vicente, Irma Vilà & Bestiario
– Bairdcast: A History of Machine Translation – Yuko Mohri
– Broadcast Yourself – Various artists
– Deep Play – Harun Farocki
– For You, Only You – Sonia Boyce
– Now Hear This – Marcus Coates, Zoe Irvine & People Like Us
– Prepared Radios – Ryota Kuwakubo
– Slow TV – Various artists
– Variations VII documentation – John Cage & Experiments in Art & Technology
– Whispering in the Leaves – Chris Watson
– Yokomono – Staalplaat Soundsystem

Conferences, talks & seminars include:
– Artists’ Talks by José Luis de Vicente & Irma Vilà, Chris Watson, Jean-Jacques-Perrey,
Yuko Mohri & others – various dates
– At the Top of the Game: Jimmy McGovern – a talk by the celebrated television writer – 4
– BBC Radiophonic Workshop – a talk at Radiophonia by Dick Mills – 1 March
– Broadcast Yourself in person & on-screen – a seminar & screening event featuring Sarah
Cook, Kathy Rae Huffman, Shaina Anand, Karel Dudasek, Active Ingredient & Maria
Pallier – 2 March
– Desert Island TV – a very special event featuring a leading light of British Broadcasting
2 March
– Music & Machines VIII – AV Festival 08 conference on broadcasting & art featuring Atau
Tanaka, Douglas Kahn, Brandan Labelle, Heidi Grundmann and others – 29 February – 1
– Northern Screenwriters Conference 2008 – a conference for screenwriters – 4 – 5 March
– The Television Will Not Be Revolutionised – a 2-day debate on broadcasting featuring Bill
Thompson and others – 6 – 7 March

Screenings include:
– Works for Television, short films curated by Gary Thomas including works by Matt Hulse,
Clio Barnard, Andrew Kotting, Patrick Keiller, Paul Bush, Thomson & Craighead, Judith
Goddard, Stuart Hilton, Semiconductor, Mike Stubbs & others)
– AV:IRAL, the AV Festival 08 student short film programme
– TV at the Cinema – a retrospective screening programme of television, including Abigail’s
Party (Mike Leigh, BBC, UK, 1977, 120 mins), Boys from the Blackstuff (Alan Bleasedale,
BBC, UK, 1980-82, 50mins), Brass Eye (Chris Morris, Channel 4, UK, 1997-2001, 25mins),
Cathy Come Home (Ken Loach, BBC, UK, 1966, 100 mins), Death of a President (Gabriel
Range, Channel 4, UK, 2006, 93 mins), Digital Stadium (Japanese TV show, NHK) , Dr
Who & The Daleks (Gordon Flemyng, UK, 1965, 82 mins), Dr Who Special (BBC, UK,
2005-7, 45 mins), Fawlty Towers (BBC, UK, 1975-79, 30 mins), Life on Mars (BBC, UK,
2006-7, 60 mins), Not the Nine O’Clock News (John Lloyd, BBC, UK, 1979-1982, 25mins),
Radio Favela (Helvecio Ratton, Brazil, 2002, 92 mins), Scattered Frequencies (Micz Flor &
Philip Scheffner, Germany, 2002, 31 mins), Spin (Brian Springer, USA, 1995, 57 mins),
Shooting the Past (Stephen Poliakoff, BBC, UK, 1999, 182 min), The Life of Birds (David
Attenborough, BBC, UK, 1998, 50 mins), The Prisoner (Patrick McGoohan & George
Markstei, ITV, UK, 1967-8, 50mins), The Sweeney (Ian Kennedy Martin, ITV, UK, 1975-
78, 60 mins), The War Game (Peter Watkins, BBC, UK, 1965, 48 mins) and Videogramme
einer Revolution (Harun Farocki & Andrei Ujica, 1992, 106 mins).

Workshops include:
– Anatomy of a Television Programme – TV workshop for students & adults
– Documenting New Media Art- workshop for professionals, lead by Caitlin Jones
– Introduction to Writing for Television – a 10 week course lead by Julie Blackey
– Media Routes workshops in animation & radio – workshops for 13 – 19 years olds
– Radiophonia workshop – electronic music workshop lead by Brian Duffy
– Radio Craft Lab – a 5 day workshop for artists lead by Tetsuo Kogawa, Raitis Smits,
Joyce Hinterding & others
– Thinking Outside the Goggle Box – a 10 week course lead by Ben Dickenson
– Write Your Own Radio Play – an intensive 2 day workshop for 13 – 19 years olds

Radio stations:
– AV Festival on NE1FM – Knut Aufermann & friends broadcast on Tyneside on 102.5FM
– Resonance FM at mima – the UK’s only art radio station broadcasts from Middlesbrough
– Soundscape FM – Sunderland’s audio art gallery of the air
– Waygood’s Amateur Radio Rally – ham radio enthusiasts meet at Grainger Market in

Download the full programme online:

___AV Festival 08: tickets

Tickets to all AV Festival events are on sale from the AV Festival Box Office at the Tyneside Cinema.
Phone: +44 191 232 8289

___AV Festival 08: organisation

AV Festival 08 is organised by Audio Visual Arts North East and forms part of Newcastle Gateshead’s world-class festivals and events programme managed by culture10, based at NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

For more information contact:

AV Festival
c/o Tyneside Cinema at Gateshead Old Town Hall
West Street
Tel: +44 (0)191 2328289, ext 112

Honor Harger
Director, AV Festival 08

Jan 25, 2008
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