related posts:

Ghost in the Machine by pingfm

(from Mirko Kubein’s website:


It is still hard to describe what it was. Even when we say “ has been a web based platform for audio-video experiments with impetus on live production of audio and video” it says nothing about it. We met at the chair for Experimental Radio at Bauhaus University Weimar in 2000 and performed more than 70 streaming sessions with international partners until I left the group in November 2001.

I was totally fascinated by the low-bandwidth aesthetic of the early video on the internet technology. When we invited artists from all-around the globe to stream their matchbox-small videos directly to a big cinema screen via the internet we called it “made for fullscreen”. That motto is still guiding me. And based on my experiences with streaming media I later created the experimental streaming films When Bogart Was Belmondo and Losing A Highway.

Since we have celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2010 we are working on a detailed documentation of the project. You can read my first notes here (only in german).

// Experimental Lab for Audio-Video-Streaming / Approximately 200 hours RealMedia / Project at Bauhaus University Weimar / Member from October 2000 to November 2001 / With Jan Brüggemeier, Lars Mai, Sebastian Seidel, Ute Waldhausen, Zsolt Barat, Mirko Kubein //

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Human perception and virtual realities (H. Maturana)

related post:
Introduction, From Sound to Waves to Territories
Biology of Love (Maturana & Verden-Zoeller)

The cognitive biologist Maturana Romesín and the psychologist Verden Zoeller stress “that for us human beings nothing that we live in flow of our emotioning, whether consciously or unconsciously, is irrelevant or “virtual” in our living.” Humberto Maturana Romesín further expands on his approach to human perception and virtual realities:

“Our nervous system is continuously changing along the flow of our living, and it does so in a manner that is moment by moment contingent on the course of our living, both in our conscious and unconscious, external and internal, relational psychic space. As a result, all that we live, regardless of what kind of living we live, arises in us modulated by the history of our psychic existence regardless of whether this takes place through our living in what an observer might call a virtual or a non-virtual reality. … In other words, as we live them repeatedly, realities that were initially virtual progressively stop being virtual. As features of our culture, they become part of our biological manner of living and, hence, of the non-virtual reality that we live. The problem with virtual realities, then, if there is any, is not how they occur, or if they occur at all, but whether we do or do not like the psychic manners of existence and the cultural transformations that we generate through them. Virtual realities are never trivial, because we always become transformed as we live them according to the emotioning of the psychic space that they bring about in our living, and this is so regardless of whether we like it or not. If we care about what happens to us and to other human beings through what we do through virtual realities, then it is our responsibility to act accordingly.” (Maturana Romesín 2008)

Humberto Maturana Romesín, The Biological Foundations of Virtual Realities and Their Implications for Human Existence,biological–epistemological – biology of cognition, (paper) 18 November 2006

This paper is comprises two appendices from the book “The Origin of Humanness in the Biology of Love” written in 1994 by Humberto Maturana Romesín and Gerda Verden Zöller (edited by Pille Bunnell). The appendices were written by Hunberto Maturana Romesin in the years 1996–1997. The book is in press with Imprint Academic, and was published 2008.

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Schizophonic (R. Murray Schafer)

related post:
Introduction, From Sound to Waves to Territories

The Canadian scholar R. Murray Schafer voiced a critique by describing radio as source for ‘defamiliarisation’ from the everyday environment. Identified as a sensual alienation by Schafer he portrayed this media experience as schizophonic’. When Schafer coined radio as schizophonic, he criticised the perceptional split of sounds. To him, when recorded, sounds are brought out of the context of their original environment and are broadcast without any further spatial reference to their origin.

“When I originally coined the term schizophonia in “The New Soundscape” I said it was intended to be a nervous word. Related to schizophrenia, I intended it to convey the sam sense of aberration and drama. … A character in one of Borges’ stories dreads mirrors because the multiply men. The same might be said of radio. As the cry broadcasts distress, the loudspeaker communicates anxiety. … Modern life has been ventriloquized.” (Schafer 1973)

This mediative process turns these schizophonic sounds for Schafer into a symbolic-only and dream-like meaning and consequently leads to a sensual alienation.

While I do not agree with all of Schafer’s arguments particular in relation to how he comes to terms with an actual moral judgement of a sensual experience from an ecological point of view. Nevertheless his term schizophonic is interesting to me, because I do consider that a split is taking place in the amplification process of mediation in general but to me this is taking place on a social, political and / or cultural level. Schafer underpinned his critique with a proposal for an alternative format for a ‘radical radio’ (Schafer, 1987). His radical radio calls for a radio that lets nature be broadcast in a field recording manner and beyond any further manipulation in terms of format or aesthetics.

“The plan was to put microphones in remote locations uninhabited by humans and to broadcast whatever might be happening out there; the sounds of wind and rain, the cries of bird and animals – all the uneventful events of the natural soundscape transmitted without editing into the hearts of the cities.” (Schafer 1987)

And although I share sympathies for Schafer’s proposal for a new and radical radio. I would shift here as well the focus away from the media aided representation of the environment to the aesthetic side of human communication and a possible ‘defamilarisation’ in communication.

R Murray Schafer (1993) ‘Radical radio’, Semiotext(e)16: Radiotext(e), no. 6
R Murray Schafer (1977) The Tuning of the World, Knopf, New York

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Responsive phenomenlogy (B. Waldenfels)

related posts:
Introduction, From Sound to Waves to Territories
Interview with Bernhard Waldenfels

In his book “Grundmotive einer Phaenomenlogie des Fremden” German philosopher Bernhard Waldenfels addresses the phenomenon of the strange / alien

The strange has a very specific position which is extraordinary or beyond the order or organisation or more precisely in between the borders of different orders. Waldenfels therefore very philosophically wonders how we can approach the strange or alien while not already neutralising and denying its challenges and demands through our manner of approaching it.

If you ask me, I would think that is a very good question but it also ties in with the second aspect of my PhD work the idea of imaginative leaks. It is also interesting to compare it with the be-a-friend trends in social media.

Bernhard Waldenfels, Grundmotive einer Phaenomenlogie des Fremden, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M, 2006

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Radio series (Wolfgang Hagen)

related post:
Introduction, From Sound to Waves to Territories

Series as radio format

According to Wolfgang Hagen, German media scholar and director of the national radio Deutschlandradio, was the format of the series born in the early North-American amateur radio as a practical result of its time and technical condition.

The radio amateurs movement in the US grew too big to be regulated by the Congress right away. A few frequencies were shared by several parties including naval emergency calls, therefore the act of transmitting did always include the listening out and relaying of others. Technical it was based on the principal of call and call-back and in terms of legislation it was more understood as wireless telephony.

The North-American situation for example was completely different to the European situation, where its was top-down state affair. Although back in the day every receiver could easily could be turned into a transmitter. Something Bertold Brecht was very aware of. And back then already a legitimate reason for house searches by the police.

Source: Serialisierung des Radios – Serialisierung von Radio-Kunst? (last access: 8. August 2011)

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Schizophrenia (Barbara O’Brien)

related posts:
Introduction, From Sound to Waves to Territories
the-other-me (radioplay)

BARBARA O’BRIEN, author of Operators and Things: The Inner Life of a Schizophrenic

On Schizophrenia
“There is an amazing lack of accurate knowledge among laymen concerning the effects of schizophrenia upon its victims. The most prevalent current notion is that, when the mind is split in schizophrenia, the individual becomes two people, two distinct personalties, or even multiple personalities—that the subconscious mind, rebelling against the repressions imposed upon it, has declared civil war, deserted the conscious authority; and that in the resulting schism, the new personality which emerges periodically is composed of the parts of the personality which the individual has consciously, deliberately, persistently repressed.

In infrequent cases, this appears to be just what does happen. The unconscious has rebelled, assumed control, created the person it wishes to be, forced the conscious controller into a small, tightly closed box where it cannot even see what is going on, and then taken over the floor of the conscious mind.

In most cases of schizophrenia, however, the unconscious appears to prefer not the techniques of the actor, but those of the director. It does not create a new personality but, instead, stages a play. The major difference is that the conscious mind is permitted to remain, an audience of one sitting lonely in the theater, watching a drama. on which it cannot walk out.”

BARBARA O’BRIEN, Operators and Things: The Inner Life of a Schizophrenic, ARLINGTON BOOKS Cambridge 1958, page 5

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Cityness (Saskia Sassen)

related post:
Introduction, From Sound to Waves to Territories


by Saskia Sassen, Centennial Visiting Professor, LSE and Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago:

“Urban agglomerations are very often seen as lacking the  features, quality and sense of what we think of as cities. Yet, urbanity is perhaps too charged a term, charged with a Western sense of cosmopolitanism of what public space is or should be. …

The same thing applies to this question of cityness as a way to capture forms of urbanity that do not necessarily correspond to our more Westernised eye, who knows what morphing is going on, even in these very rigid structures. …

Partly this is an empirical question but, coming back to this notion of stripping urbanity from its Western richness and trying to use cityness as a tool to detect urbanities that may be constituted in very different ways, I would say that one issue that cuts across all of this is if the gaps between the differences, between component parts that belong to slightly different worlds, if those gaps cross certain thresholds, to what extent do we actually lose the possibility of cityness?”


Download the pdf Cityness in the urban age (Urban Age project, LSE and the Alfred Herrhausen Society) from here

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