noisy radios in silent archives / mixed signals

[inside the G.D. Naidu Museum in Coimbatore: Ad photography for the 100-RS-Radio (1954/55), from the video installation „about constructing“, Coimbatore and Berlin, 2012/14, CC license applies]

web-based audio workshop / reserach platform
Berlin, Bangalore

concept - Dina Boswank
programmer - Hasan Sharukh and others
supported by - BeFantastic Bangalore (jointly with ZKM Karlsruhe, Goethe-Institute India), Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn (Neustart Kultur)

The project domain/address:
(unfinished and in progess with a fluid release date in autumn 2024)
The project seeks to follow the history of radio in India as a story about an object on travel, made audible in an imagination of postcolonial, technological modernisms. It is an attempt to compare radio objects itself to an everyday circulation of „voices and music” through media objects, that often tend to deny their materiality. Where does it appear, if radio is more of an invisible, untouchable transmission? Who listened to it? How is radio as a „medium or storytelling object“ narrated in museums, schools, archives?

The accessibility to both historical narratives, its creative and open availability is a main issue. Old archival footage, sounds and pictures from the G.D. Naidu Museum (Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu), the place where India’s first and cheapest radio was invented, is meant to become the base to develop browsing categories for a web-based workshop platform. The users will be able to navigate through images and auditive recordings on old letter conversations, critically, but on an intuitive level.

For a further development of the project into a web-based workshop platform and, importantly, beyond an already accomplished theatre play and video installation, it was part of „C3-Codes, Creativity, Community“, a start-up format initiated by Befantastic Bangalore and the Goethe-Institute India, that was most active in 2022/23. 

We, mainly the artist and programmer Hasan Sharukh and me, very soon were sure about wanting to make workshops both in the real as well as in the online world/community, in which the letters are opened up for textual changes and live readings. Besides retrieving already existing footage from my research work within the archive as the material to experiment with, the driving question is and was: how to use certain video stills and interviews as feedbacks and narratives to engage in a poetical language, full of „sayings“ and „conundrums“. We are currently looking out for sites interested in hosting us. 

[screenshots of the website repository, 2023, Link to *unfinished/progressive website]

„In the experience of half a century what I have learnt in advertisement and in boasting, is very little. I could have blown my own trumpets in a better manner than some others, I have failed in doing so.“ - G.D. Naidu (1949)

G.D. Naidu (1893-1974) was an inventor and pioneering engineer. 
In 1948 he published an edition of conversations and articles titled „My Compelled Drum Series: Construction for Destruction. What is construction and destruction - by whom? Some letters and news from 1948.“ It is a book filled with public and private letters commenting on the performed destruction of G.D. Naidu‘s radio inventions at several fairs in India during the late 1940s. 
Those letter dialogues, collected and published by the innovator himself, display curious interpretations of the destruction and form the basis of a long-term research project (since 2012). Thus taken up as a discursive foil the pages of this book are reassembling both technological and artistic subjects of different times and matters. Me and all collaborators aim to specifically explore notions of creativity as a mode of access to communication and media practice in India.  

[This project followed at least three works dealing with the same story and its materials. 
The Videostills are taken out of one of them: „about constructing“, film and research video installation, 
Coimbatore and Berlin, 2012/14, CC license applies]

[book page (edited from the original publication of GD Naidu): „about constructing“, 
film and research video installation, Coimbatore and Berlin, 2012/14, CC license applies]

It is important to mention, that the decision to work with Wordpress was very much influenced by the discussion on Open Source and its relation to Creative Internet Practices established and taken up within the C3 group. With a Wordpress frame it‘s easy to test out Plug-Ins for voice and text contributions of an interested crowd at a minimum of costs and at the same page mix the material of artists and „authors“ with material of „anyone“ simply commenting on radio through the web interface. During that phase it was completely open on what should happen to a future collection of material in the sense of „How should the material be visualized?“ and „How should the Wordpress Archive be designed concerning navigation?“. 

The website is already avaible online and publicly open for comments and distribution. Yet, there has not yet been an official launch nor a promotion or support of the site‘s recognition through SEO/publicity. 
It still takes time to test out the Plug-Ins and put up the selected letters in full, plain text and the selected images with the needed references. The chosen Plug-In for web-based audio recordings on the front end is the following: SPEAK PIPE (Open Source, but limited Freeware). It works with an independent account and is put up together for reasons of comparisons with an already active Soundcloud Account, which is a good repository, but less a functioning recording tool. 

The Email for queries, further audio material or comments is the following:
The domain/address is the following:

[poster print for a project presentation at Harkat Studios in Mumbai, January 2023, facilitated by BeFantastic Bangalore (below) // screenshot of the website repository, with a series of photos made with the librarian and a relative of GD Naidu inside the GD Naidu museum in 2012]