Tuning Out the City

Radio signals are as ubiquitous as the urbanity of the city, itself, for metropolitan dwellers. As much as we may love both, the intensity of their inescapability can be daunting. The Hamburg-based collective LIGNA, whose members are Ole Frahm, Michael Huners, and Torsten Michaelsen, have been collaborating since the early nineties to explore 'forgotten and remote possibilities of radio use in order to develop new forms of interactive practices.' This weekend they will present a new work in their series of well-received 'radio ballets,' entitled, 'I Am[not]sterdam,' commissioned by the Dutch agency, De Balie. The piece was developed as a collective radio broadcast performance in which members of the public, accessing the transmission in both physical and ethereal public spaces (the Leidsestraat and the ether), would enact responsive actions in which the listeners 'perform deviant gestures that no one would or could do alone.' The aim is to take audience members out of the city by extracting the city from their bodies. This kind of enstrangement results from LIGNE's efforts to assert disorder and a lack of control within highly-regulated public spheres. It's the kind of out-of-this-world experience the group describes as 'becom[ing] alien by public radio listening!' - Elizabeth Johnston