Requiem for Radio is a new project using radio waves to play the ghosts of the radio towers.
I was very excited this year to be invited to present the premiere performance of Requiem for Radio at the Obey Convention in Halifax.
Through the course of my research on the RCI radio towers over the past few years, I began collecting a great deal of contact mic recordings of the towers and the guide wires. The tall towers and their wires were like aeolian harps vibrating in the wind, and I had spent a year collecting recordings from them using home made contact microphones. The original plan had been to integrate those recordings into the sound track of my film, Spectres of Shortwave. Soon, however, I had far more recordings than I could possible ever use in a soundtrack. In gathering these recordings, I also developed a deeper relationship with each of the towers as each one seemed to take on a personality of its own -- each one had its own distinct sound.
As the towers were about to be dismantled, I developed plans for a new project, Requiem for Radio, in which I would use radio waves (a theremin) to play the ghosts (recordings) of the radio towers. I ran a theremin through a pitch to midi converter and into my computer. The midi signals generated by the theremin triggered audio recordings and images of the towers.
I had applied for funding from the Canada Council for the Arts to support this project, however the results were not yet released at the time of this performance. It was still in its early stages of development. I am very pleased that the first solo performance of Requiem for Radio was presented at the Obey Convention, and I look forward to developing the project further, to create a gallery installation with 13 theremins (one for each of the towers), as well as a performance version where dancers will play the theremins.
At the performance, I used a few of the red glass light fixtures that I had scavenged from the site as work lights.
My performance was on May 22, and I taught a contact microphone building workshop the next day at the Halifax Regional Public Library.