Invitation: Workshop “Radio Art in Turmoil – Current Tendencies & Perspectives of an Art Form 2018 – 2048”, Feb. 21, University of Copenhagen (DK)

Workshop organised by Ania Mauruschat (Basel/Zurich, CH), Morten Michelsen (Copenhagen, DK) & Holger Schulze (Copenhagen, DK)

In 1970 Klaus Schöning spoke of the Hörspiel as “verwaltete Kunst”: “administered art”. The renowned German editor and fierce supporter of the avant-garde genre of Neues Hörspiel was referring to the dependency of radio artists on public broadcasting stations in two respects: the expansive technological means of production as well as the support of editors. A by-product of this was bureaucratic control over productions and artists. However, these same institutions also guaranteed the existence and possibilities for growth of this powerful yet subtle art form of the oldest electronic medium, opening up a space for sophisticated experiments and bringing in international artists and collaborations.

50 years after Neues Hörspiel, the situation has radically changed: affordable digital technology liberated radio art in all respects. Today, artists are working independently and thus bypass the ‘gatekeepers’. But with this emancipation, institutionalised radio art is in danger of becoming a “vanishing territory of art” (Virginia Madsen). Due to political and economic reasons, the managerial elite seems more interested in making acoustic stories available via podcast for download on the internet than in artistic research and experiments with sound and radio waves as a crucial mission for public broadcasters. Amongst other countries, such as Australia, this also holds true for Denmark where the last remnants of radio art just have been cut at the Danish Radio (DR).

However, artists in love with the medium continue to search for and find spaces to work and challenge this electronic art form: by creating new, subversive art interventions, such as LIGNA’s Radio Ballet, by re-defining radio art beyond its traditional boundaries towards the inclusion of e.g. cosmic natural radio as an artistic means, by experimenting with new kinds of narration, production and presentation and of course also by exploring the potentials of podcasting. But how will this multitude of post-public-service radiophonic artwork find its audience? How will these productions be financed? Why should they be called “radiophonic” anymore? Who will archive them? Will it be possible to establish an independent discourse about different tendencies and developments? Will the liberated version of radio art manage to grow and prosper on its own, or will it need institutions to protect and support its existence in the end again? Last but not least, what role will public broadcasters play for all this in the future?

The workshop wishes to explore the current tendencies of radio art, its challenges and chances. It serves as a preparatory meeting for an international conference in spring 2020. The conference’s topic will be “RADIO ART IN TURMOIL: Between Public Broadcasting & Independent Art 1948 – 2048”.

Venue & Date:

Thu, Feb. 21, 2019, 10 am – 6 pm, Sound Studies Lab, University of Copenhagen, DKV


No fee, but please register yourself for the workshop by sending an email to


“Radio Art in Turmoil” by Frank Ferraro