NET.RADIO WORKSHOP at Pro Arte
St.Petersburg, June 8-10, 2000



[01] INTRODUCTION: HOW RADIO STARTED ON THE NET
1. context: net & real audio
2. radio history & theory
3. towards polymorphus radio
4. pre-history of net.radio
5. minor media / network communities
6. acoustic.cyberspace


1. context: NET & REAL AUDIO

Today (2000) when we go to the Internet we find it already different, as it was 4-5 years ago, when it was just emerging, web-technologies were developing and media artists and net activists were building up the cyber-environment...

Also the net.radio on its very early stage (1995-96) - when nobody called it 'net.radio' yet - looked slightly different. 
In summer 1998 - when net.radio was expanding incredibly fast - Pit Schultz at Art Servers Unlimited conference in London about net.radio said:
"I think we are in a time, where the technology follows the practise, so the practice is faster than the terms, or the bottom goes faster than the top." 

However during the last years (1998-99) the development of the e-commerce and e-business has very much changed the situation on the net. 
The biggest ISP's, Telecom's or software industries also want to become the largest content providers (Real Audio, for example). 

If the first Real Audio Player versions only played back the content you've clicked on, Real Player G2 already is offering the channels to listen - mostly the same you can get on satellite or cable tv (cnn.com news and sport, forecasts, etc.).
Real Player 7.0 is itself already as a browser - where you can search and find, make playlists, choose channels (to listen and watch) basically and first of all of course - from the menu offered by Real Company themselves.

Free players, encoders and servers you can find at http://real.com/help, or http://www.realnetworks.com, while http://real.com offers only to buy them or even better to listen commercial music on-line or acceess real networks net.radio stations. 

Solutions for Broadcasters even doesn't offer free server...
(although half a year ago Real Server Basic was there, now replaced with Real Server Plus)


therefore, if you are lucky, or know where to look for free server, you will notice that 25-stream Real Server Basic 7.0 is still available at http://proforma.real.com/rn/servers/basic/index.html?src=broadcast,srvrmn_other,srvrbsc_011600
Real Server Basic 6.0 at http://proforma.real.com/rn/servers/basic/free60.html

that's why, if you want to start your own alternative net.radio stations, better go to Rachel's Baker created net.radio guide http://www.irational.org/radio/radio_guide/



Still - even if it seems that multi-corporations are taking over the net, that free space what net activists in the 1990ties were fighting for - (organising campaignes like 'access for all', 'we need bandwidth', 'developing of the information society through the individual self-expression', etc.) - is there. 
To be able to develop the free and open space for art and creative self-expression, we should be aware of the potential of new media and what web-technologies can offer.

"To make a good judgement of what radio is in the age of digital media, the traditional concept of radio has to be overthrown completely", Josephine Bosma wrote in 1997 (at ZKP4 publication). 

Today we can say - If we want to find a place for creative self-expression on the net, to see internet development towards the open spaces, and to explore the acoustic dimensions of the net - but to be able to do this - we should change our notion about the web and net.radio as we see them today browsing.
We need open minded net.radio manifestos and encouraging net.radio policies and to remember experimental radio experience.

Let's take a brief look into the pre-history of net.radio, radio theory and acoustic.cyberspace concept.



RADIO HISTORY & THEORY

In 1936 Berthold Brecht - in the context of a paper about the development of radio - was writing a critique on the underexploitation of its interactive potential and the banal commercial exploitation of it - the historical parallels between radio and internet are apparent...
"It was suddenly possible to say everything to everybody,
but thinking about it, there was nothing to say" (1936, Berthold Brecht)

"The broadcasting system must be changed from a distribution system into a communication apparatus. The broadcasting system would be the most wonderful communication apparatus imaginable in public life, a fantastic channel system, that is, if it understood not only to transmit but also to receive, in other words, to make the listener not only hear but also speak, and not to isolate him but to involve him in a relationship. 
(...) 
Impossible to realize in this society, possible in another, these suggestions, which are the natural consequence of technological development, serve to propagate and form this other order." 
(Brecht, Bertold: Radiotheorie. Gesammelte Werke Band 8, p. 129 and 134)



TOWARDS POLYMORPHOUS RADIO

"Throughout its history, despite efforts by the Futurists in the 1920s, radio has been considered largely a means of communication rather than an art form. Therefore, it is ironic that just as traditional forms of radio are in decline, its possibilities as an art form are reaching extreme potentials." /T. Kogawa/

[e.g.]::::::: From Tetsuo Kogawa text: -> in 80ties, about the mini-fm movement in japan ::::::::

"The question in the age of satellite media is no longer whether television or radio is "free" or not but whether it is "polymorphous" or not. (...)
Radio stations which can only cover areas within walking distance might already exist as a form of a particular unit of polymedia, a chaos unit. Polymedia are not intended simply to link smaller units into a larger whole:instead they involve the recovery of electronic technology so that individuals can communicate, share idiosyncrasies and be convivial. 
The satellite presents possibilities for polymedia but it does not create it. 
Polymedia must be based on self-controlled tools, otherwise, advanced technologies like satellites will remain as tools for the manipulation of power." /T.Kogawa/



PRE-HISTORY OF NET.RADIO
--->with the reference to Josephine Bosma's text "Net.radio: Waves in the Web", ZKP4/1997 http://www.ljudmila.org/nettime/zkp4/24.htm <---

"Radio on the internet didn't start with the emersion of Real Audio. It was there long before." /J.Bosma/

"To understand the possibilities or maybe even the future of radio on the internet one has to look at experiments with communication tools done in the arts, specifically music and performance art." /J.Bosma/

[e.g.]::::::: RADIO ART: Josephine Bosma :-> on radio art (..-97)
-> Gerfried Stocker <http://gewi.kfunigraz.ac.at/~gerfried/bio/stocker2.html>
-> Radio Lada (festival LADA 97) <http://www.giardini.sm/lada97/>
-> Radio Convex TV <http://www.b.shuttle.de/art-bag/convex_tv>
-> V2 net.radioworkshop (february 97) <http://www.v2.nl/wiretap_radio>
-> Radio Internationale Stadt <http://www.icf.de/RIS> :::::::::

"Radio, like other media, should be combined, deconstructed and reconstructed. 
Radio and other media should not just have extensions into the net, but the net should also have extensions to the outside. In the case of radio this means that audiostreams should be used much more creatively, connecting them to ether and cable stations, legal or illegal, playing the sound in public places, allowing the audio to be played with, using connections to television and whatever you can think of. 
As long as there are no connections of the net to the outside, it will stay unknown, possibly enemy territory that will be regulated along straight lines of existing radio broadcasts. 
Although radio, as we have known it always, will never cease to exist, people working within radio environments, contentwise and technically, should be aware of the possibilities a more flexible way of working, in which every situation needs a different approach, can offer to their broadcasts. 
The experimentation of media artists should be examined and translated to net.casts of a much greater variety."



MINOR MEDIA / NETWORKS AND COMMUNITIES

another of most recent experimental attempts is creating a platform for collaborative broadcasts and providing the context for content - Xchange project - international net.audio and radio mailinglist and network, initiated in late 1997 by e-lab, riga. 

"Xchange is a distributed group, a connective, that builds creative cooperation in live-audio streaming on the communication channels that connect them. 
The people of Xchange and others are thus also exploring the Net as a sound-scape with particular qualities regarding data transmission, delay, feedback, and open, distributed collaborations. 
Moreover, they connect the network with a variety of other fields. Instead of defining an 'authentic' place of their artistic work, they play in the transversal post-medial zone of media labs in different countries, mailing lists, net-casting and FM broadcasting, clubs, magazines, stickers, etc., in which 'real' spaces and media continuously overlap and fuse." 
/A. Broeckmann/



ACOUSTIC CYBERSPACE

" Now, Internet "radio" isn't radio; it does not exploit the spectrum, and that is a big difference. But it is hardly immune to the same kinds of domination at the hands of similar forces. It's incredibly important to maintain electronic communications media as a space of openness, of indetermination, of the affects of the unknown. What made early radio so exciting, in terms of the technical, the social, and the imaginative, was its openness: it was a space that wasn't entirely defined, wasn't totally mapped. More than that, I think, it was an acoustic space, which opened up a different logic. And that's happening again: the acoustic dimension of electronic media, and particularly of the Internet, offers an opportunity that is very different than simply providing more information, or making more web sites, or more entrancing animations. Or even making cheap phone calls." Erik Davis

About some abstract ideas and some open-ended notions about acoustic space Erik Davis talked in his lecture "Acosutic.Cyberspace" in 97 in riga, where he particularly was focusing on the exploring relationship between electronic sound and environments.

In his text Erik Davis is inviting us even to go further, beyond the experimenting with technologies only, towards the opening :

"We've seen some interesting experiments and opportunities with the use of RealAudio on the Internet, for example. But, more than that, I'm interested in getting people to think about the larger implications of sound and acoustics. Not as simply a vehicle for communicating information or establishing dialog between far-flung actors; and not simply as electronic music, a genre of activity and expression that, however fascinating, is commodified and compartmentalized from our "other" activities and experiences. 
A broader understanding of acoustic space is what I'm after: I'm really talking about different dimensions of the kind of subjectivity that we produce in networked environments. 
This dimension is profound, and we should consider it, work with it, explore it."

As the conclusion of this, I would like to say, that even the internet environment is changing so quickly and often it seems that some doors are closed again, this is the space which is most open so far, and we should find again and again out the way to the open spaces. 

"...As our machines become more complex, our relationships with them will become more complex, and whole new domains and dimensions will keep opening up -- and closing down as well. By pushing the boundaries of electro-acoustic environments, of acoustic cyberspace, we can maintain a line into the open spaces of the unknown.." /Erik Davis/



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