Mapping Acoustic Space of Radio Communications / Tracking cargo traffic from Baltic and North Seas to the Channel

Dunkerque - France, 13-25 September 2004

Organized by Ellipse and La Plate-forme

From 13 to 25 September 2004, musicians, media artists and radio-amateurs from the Trans-Cultural Mapping Initiative will scan the acoustic space of radio communications and track with radar the cargo traffic between Dover (UK) and Dunkerque (Fr). This is the narrowest part of the Channel (where the EuroTunnel? passes underneath the sea) and carries the most important cargo traffic in Europe. Tankers, supertankers, and military boats pass in front of Dunkerque, heading towards Brest, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Rostock, Gdansk or Ventspils.

General themes of the residency, will be maritime ecology and spectrum ecology. The residency work will also be inspired by the story of the Prestige oil Tanker, and the Semaphores located along the coastline of France.

The Prestige

The Prestige oil tanker left Ventspils and passed by Dunkerque before crashing on the coast of Portugal. The Prestige is one of many ships that collect oil sent by train from Russia to Ventspils harbour(Latvia), and head towards the Atlantic. But as we know, often international maritime laws are not well respected, and irresponsible oil companies have contributed to many black seas on this route in the past 30 years.


The residency also aims to investigate the role of the semaphores (Semaphores are the control towers on the coast of France), and their use of radio communications, radar, sonar, meteorology, sea rescue and military surveillance.

The residency will be part of the European Industrial Ports Culture Festival, „Lignes de fret : god save the kranes‰, organized by the association Nautilosh ˆ Jokelson and the work will be developed in collaboration with the artists of La Plate-forme and the Rock Charity Hospital. A container will be established on the port for each project.

For more details :

During the residency, access to the port Control Tower and to the tug boat will be organised for the residents. Access to the navy database of maritime international cargo traffic will also be given. Artists and TCM organisers will explain their initiative in conferences and musicians will give performances in industrial, experimental and electronic dance music genres. A final performance will be staged using material recorded during the residency and accompanied by live radio scanning and radar tracking.

Results of the residency will be presented in the Art+Communication Festival held in Riga (1-3 October) by the RIXC, Center for New Medias Culture. Artists : Aphasic (NL), Clausthome (LV), Max Nullo (SI), r a d i o q u a l i a (NZ), Ewen Chardronnet (Fr)


- Aphasic - Infosphere Dub (NL)

Performance using two laptops and modified dub sound system sound effects unit.

Laptop 1 - live digital signal processing of radio communications and satellite TV signals using Ableton LIVE software. Laptop 2 - random and improvised composition of edited sound recordings using <earshot> software. These files made on location and may include: radio/TV satellite signals, other site specific sound sources, and interviews with other TCM participants. Dub sound system sound effects unit - this modified dub sound system effects unit will be used to add layers of lazer/siren effects to the live composition.

Aphasic profile: "This is about the most electric and instantaneous high that music can provide." Keith Cameron from The N.M.E on Aphasic's "Bass & Superstructure" E.P.

Aphasic (aka Jason Skeet) has been moving through a dynamic acoustic zone for several years. He is a pioneering proponent of fast, funky experimental dance music, and since 1996 he has co-run the influential label Ambush. Determined to push electronic dance music to new extremes, Ambush has now inspired a whole generation of lo-fi producers. http://ambush.c8.com

In 2003 Aphasic started a new label JUNK, dedicated to exploring further the gap between the dance floor and the avant-garde. Taking differing measures of drum & bass, hardcore techno, hip-hop, dancehall ragga, gabber and dub, JUNK aims to release music that is dark, groovy and highly infectious. Most of all, it marks itself out as an essential assault on the hyper conservative landscape of contemporary culture. http://www.j-u-n-k.com

In parallel with dance music projects, Aphasic has worked on developing <earshot> (in collaboration with Andi Freeman), an audio software downloadable for free from the web. <earshot> has a unique interface design enabling particular compositional possibilities, and proposes that an audio software can be seen as a musical instrument in its own right. <earshot> presentations, performances and workshops have been made at various electronic arts and digital culture events throughout Europe over the last few years. http://www.earshot.info

- Clausthome (LV)

Clausthome is a group of musicians and artists based in Riga who aims to analyse several new directions of the music subculture, while experimenting and participating in the field. Clausthome is mainly working with 'dark ambient' , 'drum&noise' and 'radio-noise' that is based on sound research.

They use radio (ether) structure, data gathered by radio telescopes and archives of universe research data servers. This information, processed through sound alteration programs is used as the starting point of and base for future materials, when in live performances through mixing and synthesizing they create sound environment.

The name 'Clausthome' describes as an open experimentation phase, where these authentic audio samples are used without specific processing, and without making any references to the source they come from. It is a process of translation and transformation that leads towards awareness of that potential environment, which can be created using the gathered material.

The Clausthome are: Lauris Vorslavs (mixing), Girts Radzins (experimentation) and Raimonds Berzins (keyboard).

For the Dunkerque residencies the musicians will participate as Clausthome: mixing both - received signals from the radars and other scanning devices in Dunkerque port, and their live 'techniques': the spectrum of analogue radio receivers, which will be sent through effect processor and modulation machine. Also pre-programmed samples of the Irbene radio telescope data will be used for the final performance.

- Max Nullo (Projekt Atol, SI)

Aljosa Abrahamsberg, aka Max Nullo, is musician, a radio-amateur expert and a core member of Makrolab technical crew and Projekt Atol's audio-visual performance Signal Sever! Transignal.

For Dunkerque, Aljosa Abrahamsberg will set up the the sensor array conceptualized by Projekt Atol - Pact Systems for Signal Sever! Transignal which maps the electromagnetic spectrum. In addition the Pact Systems Radar Unit tracks air and maritime traffic and display it for the audience.


- R a d i o q u a l i a (NZ)

r a d i o q u a l i a is an art collaboration from New Zealand. Since 1999 r a d i o q u a l i a has been based in Europe, maintaining active links with the New Zealand art community. The participants are New Zealanders, Honor Harger and Adam Hyde

r a d i o q u a l i a experiments with the concept of artistic broadcasting, using the internet and traditional media forms, such as radio and television, as primary tools. We are also interested in ways that audio can be used to illuminate abstract ideas and processes. We work in gallery, performance, broadcast and publishing contexts.

r a d i o q u a l i a will undertake a project entitled 'dissonance'. The project will focus on researching and building a hydrophone during the residency to be used with a new software created by r a d i o q u a l i a . The software will scan the acoustic space of water. The software will listen to maritime communications (generated by humans and non-humans alike) via the hydrophone and generate sound collages. The process of building the hydrophone will be thoroughly documented, and the software will be released as Open Source. A subsequent performance by r a d i o q u a l i a will feature sounds recorded by the hydrophone and acoustic space scanning software.


- Ewen Chardronnet (Ellipse, Fr)

Artist and researcher in information systems, working as video maker, journalist, new media arts and space arts events organiser. He‚s the author of the anthology " Quitter la gravité " (leaving gravity) for the Association of Autonomous Astronauts (Editions de l‚Eclat, 2001), and he won the Leonardo-@rt Outsiders New Horizons Prize for the ACOUSTIC SPACE LAB - OPEN SKY installation which was presented at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris during its @rt Outsiders festival in 2003.

Ewen Chardronnet is TCM project coordinator for Ellipse. He will organise project logistics, relationships with the local partners and the Navy Control Tower of the port of Dunkerque.

As a specific project, he will document in video the SEMAPHORE residency and set the Makrolab Radar unit with Aljosa Abrahamsberg to track the cargo traffic in the Channel.


Public events :

16 september 2004, 18 h, Jokelson, Port Autonome Conférence, videos and presentation of the Trans-Cultural Mapping program With Ellipse and the artists 21h30 : Marc Ducret Trio (Paris)

17 september, 2004, 21h30, Jokelson, Port Autonome Concert with Karochi (DK), Tricky Lobsters (Rostock, De), Pustki (Gdansk, Pl), Aphasic (NL), Clausthome (Riga, Lv) and the Semaphore residents.

24 september, 21 h, Jokelson, Port Autonome Cabaret concert organised by Rock Charity Hospital

25 september, 21 h, Jokelson, Port Autonome Final Concert - Performance of the residency Mapping Acoustic Space of Radio Communications

The "Mapping Acoustic Space of Radio Communications" residency is organised in the context of the Culture 2000 program « Trans-Cultural Mapping ». The lead organisation is the RIX-C, The Center for New Media Culture (RIXC) of Riga (Latvia) and the 6 co-organisers are : Piknik Frequency organisation (Helsinki, Finland) ; K@2 (Liepaja-Karosta, Latvia) ; TEKS (Trondheim, Norway) ; Lorna, The Association of Electronic Artists (Reykjavik, Iceland) ; Projekt Atol (Ljubljana, Slovenia) ; and Ellipse (Tours, France).

Mapping Acoustic Space of Radio Communication is supported by Trans-Cultural Mapping EU Culture 2000 program, the Fondation de France, the association Plate-forme of Dunkerque, the association Nautilosh ˆ Jokelson of Dunkerque, the Port Autonome of Dunkerque and the City of Dunkerque.