VISIBLE CITIES – INVISIBLE CITIES
AT HOME IN THE CITY
HARRY PYE’s POSTCARD FROM LONDON
Tarvo Hanno Varres
ROCK-MUSIC FROM BUDAPEST
AMSTERDAM IS A CITY
PERM. WHERE IS THIS PLACE? WHAT IS THIS PLACE?
A HAPPY MORNING
VILEN KÜNNAPU’s SHORT
INTERVIEW WITH THE POET
SCENES OF PAIDE
Jan Ping aka Brüggemeier
!!!radio-sauna will be on tour in summer 2005.
in june it is traveling from
helsinki via hstonia to heiningen/hermany.
don’t strip your clothes – strip your communications cloud around!
these days one gets the impression that we’re all mired up in nets within nets of global movement, exchange of people, data, and the cash-equivalents – a sense which certainly feeds on the perception that nearly every facet of our daily and non-daily lives is wired into media of global reach. if we translate this experience of mediatic access into walking terms, we would all be shown to fall – surely to a scary extent – for this restless activity of just prowling around the neighbourhood. or if we just keep walking straight ahead, we’d stand a good chance of crossing the planet in less than 80 days. only through the high probability of running again and again into one or the other of our contemporaries would this habit lead to a certain increasing sense of relatedness with our environment and those who inhabit it.
this a little bit naive comparison was just meant as a gimmick to make it more obvious that media tend to work differently than that. for one thing, today’s still most popular “new” media (e.g. mobile phones and e-mail), especially in our age of excessive spamming, only allow contact after an initiation-like ceremony of passing on one’s access-data, and this happens within the bounds of the familiar cliques (family, friendship, business) rather than on principles of coincidence. another thing, and the second point I want to make with this article, is that in the electronic spheres of new media, the same as in the cities, we have to deal with people’s strong desire to be in total control of their “settlements” – virtual or physical – and to get rid of any coincidental or alien elements, which used to be common for cities.
this is easier in the electronic sphere than in a physical neighbourhood, because it is easier to avoid people electronically than physically, and the practice of limiting access to only a certain group of people is legitimate in the electronic context in ways it isn’t in the physical world.
being aware of these things, two phenomena are of particular interest to me:
- one is micro-fm radio and its idea of micro-sized media in a hyper-local context
- the other is the question whether the great finnish passion for taking a sauna can be transferred to the realm of communication and micro-sized media, launching the idea of a kind of electronic nudism.
on a more analytical level the inability of being “nude” becomes the inability of exposing one’s internal to other people. anonymity of many electronic media is in the same way protecting as separating. but f.ex. radio is an old-fashioned term, and therefore very versatile and happy to take new shapes. to a certain degree, no medium at all is needed to make “radio”. the phenomenon of communication does not depend on what is transmitted, but on what happens to the person receiving. the idea of micro-sized emphasizes communication as structural coupling in comparison to the tube-like communication of sender-receiver relation of classical radio. when micro- or mini-fm appeared as a mass phenomenon in the 80’s in japan, it had been made possible by a provision in japanese radio regulations allowing for transmitters of very weak power, comparable to tv-remote controls or wireless garage door openers. this loop-hole brought on a wave of mini-fm stations in the 80’s (approximately 700 at its height), each operating a service-area of 200-500 meters radius. this introduced a new practice of radio-making: because of the short range – which basically meant that everyone listening was within easy walking distance – instead of broadcasting out to an imagined audience, you could invite whoever was interested to come by and join in the conversation. so the conversation was focused on the people participating, rather than out towards an anonymous listernership.
it would seem interesting to link this practice with the custom of having a sauna, though I am aware that the sauna is generally held in a highly familiar context, but nevertheless saunas are still commune places. such places are per default places of high exchange of information of strong local interests. therefore sauna-radio could enrich such places by adding a further commune practice to it stimulating even more exchange and relatedness of people living close-by and letting all this happen in such a pleasant, physical refreshing condition of having a relaxing sauna together while doing radio.
in a country that has more saunas than cars, let there be as many microradio-stations as saunas! let’s run naked through nEture!