15 Jan 2018

Martin Nutt, TMN. Trichromatic Moiré (score), 2017

It's January, and summer in Dunedin. The empty days are stark and long and bright, and there is a held silence to my part of the city, up on the ridge. A poise, as if the new year is delaying itself as long as it can, not quite ready to begin. Harsh, caustic, white South Island light, framed in the warped late-19th century windows, sketches across surfaces, creating heavily delineated geometries on scarred floors of native hardwood and 1930s celadon green attic room walls, an irregular angular architecture, shifting with the rotation of the day. The wind-torn doppler effect of exuberant childrens' voices normally audible from the school over the road is now silent, and my house is a wooden, many-caverned ear. Listening in to the tiny sounds of the outside. Its two stories are a creaking ship, cool and dark and solid, yet crooked open to the emptiness and brilliant light.

I'm currently spending my time in this house working on a piece for Martin Nutt, the British-born, Japan-based composer, for a CD release in early March, as part of 2018's Audiograft Festival. This festival is held annually by the Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU) at Oxford Brookes University, UK. I'm one of a few artists sent the score for TMN. Trichromatic Moiré (2017).

12 Nov 2017

radio 33, broadcasting from Domain House, Hobart, as part of the Hobiennale, 3-12 November, 2017.

When operated in politically strategic ways, the contemporary aesthetic use of modernist technologies, like radio, can function as an effective localised antidote to a global technological homogeneity, one that ultimately flattens the field to a narrow bandwidth of expressive possibilities, within a homogenised focus on commercial interests.

Joining other experimental and artist-run stations I know which are using the constraints of bounded technological space to critically address this set of conditions, is a small North Hobart micro-cast radio project called Radio 33, which specifically re-imagines radio, through the operation of month-long artist projects put into physical broadcast space as small scale, low power FM transmissions, as a potentially emancipatory medium, where communities can be built and the like-minded can connect with each other.

Radio 33's particular take on the minor and amateur literature of the airwaves is historicised within its careful listening to gendered histories of radio space, hearing them - and celebrating them - as a medium holding an ongoing structural continuum of self-identified female/non-binary voices audible since the medium's earliest days.

With core reference to the U.S. radio amateur/ham designation YL, instituted in 1920 by the American Radio League to designate a female operator, and amateur operator Clara Reger's subsequent YL33 code, coined especially for women communicating with other women, a salutation "considered sacred by female hams", Radio 33 recognises these historic women as kin and forebears, as well as the ongoing work it has taken, in the past and the present, for such voices to claim audible space, as - and for - themselves.

Tricky Walsh, the artist behind Radio 33, has been experimenting with the artistic use of radio in their work since 2011, and started this project at the beginning of 2017 as a radio station programmed as a gallery space for month-long artist projects: "I see it as less of a "program" than a virtual space anyone could 'walk' into and experience a sound work. just think of it as a gallery space made out of radio waves".

I was lucky enough to be invited by Tricky to be one of four 'ephemeral residents' in this on-air gallery space for the duration of the inaugural Hobiennale Arts Festival, from 3-12 November, in the beautiful upstairs attic rooms of Domain House in Hobart. Radio 33 broadcast a compilation of my extant past and present sound and radio art works into this listening space, and after this first excursion into the possibilities, I very much look forward to developing new work for - and with - Radio 33 in the near future. 

thanks to Tricky, also, for the photographs and the text.

5 Nov 2017

'three variations on a study for a data deficient species (grey ghost transmission)' on air at Radiophrenia 87.9FM, Glasgow

I have a radio art piece included in the impressively extensive schedule of radiophonic experiment coming up in the programming of radiophrenia 2017, a temporary project station for radio art, broadcasting 24 hours a day from 6 - 19 November, out of Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts. This solid fortnight of radio, sound, and transmission art (from friends, peers and many new names), together promises to "promote radio as an art form, encouraging challenging and radical new approaches to the medium."

4 Nov 2017

a Deaf Cinema for Thylacinus cynocephalus.

It is not you who will speak; let the disaster speak in you, even if it be by your forgetfulness or silence.”
- Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster

…I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire… I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.”
- William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

“We humans seem disastrously in love with this thing
(whatever it is) that glitters on the earth--
we call it life. We know no other.
The underworld's a blank
and all the rest just fantasy.” 
- Euripides, as translated by Anne Carson, in Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides

For a cultural heritage site of some significance, the former Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart is surprisingly overlooked. Over the course of a few days in October 2017, on the site of its derelict ruin (which is locked, and currently inaccessible to the public) near the Botanical Gardens in the Queens Domain, almost no-one comes by as I place highly sensitive contact microphones alongside various open-air microphones, to record whatever might be audible there. Together, both pick up the movement of metal and wooden fences and padlocked gates, the vibrations of structures in wind, the guttural croaking of endemic Tasmanian forest ravens and the eerie melodiously rhythmic warblings of black currawongs (Strepera fuliginosa) twisting in the air like mobiles or sonic DNA structures, the melancholy monotony of water falling from objects, the deep juddering of cars on the street going by from the same direction as the occasional, softer yet more startling human footstep, my own movements as observer. These sounds together begin to create a sightless image of the predominant life of the site, in absence of direct attention from people, which is also a gathering picture of the desolation of its abandon: an expanse of field containing a few crumbling, indeterminate concrete structures, a swampy area attended by Tasmanian native waterfowl sitting incongruously inside a ringed-off area of faded hi-vis tape.

26 Oct 2017

new writing by Meredith Kooi in Art Papers, Fall 2017 issue.

my work was recently profiled in Meredith Kooi's feature "The Chorus at Dawn: An Aesthetics of the Tweet" published in the Fall 2017 issue of Art Papers magazine. Thank you, Meredith!

here are a couple of excerpts:

""Talking to animals" such as McIntyre's extinct birds by using radio transmission - in what radio artist and theorist Gregory Whitehead describes as an "intricate game of position" that "unfolds among far-flung bodies, for the most part unknown to each other" - dissolves the boundaries between human and nonhuman worlds, perhaps it even transcends historical time."

"McIntyre's works are simultaneously here and not-here, now and then, physical and intangible, audible and inaudible; the uncanny sonic and ethereal worlds she creates are ones marked by death and disappearance, strangeness and silence -  discomfort we can feel in our bodies [...] In the event of a transmission, artists working in this medium bring otherwise elusive beings - often, phantoms - into the spaces we inhabit. Emerging out of, from, and into the electromagnetic spectrum, radio and transmission art allows us to experience being as both material and immaterial." 

18 Sep 2017

Medium: Paranormal Field Recordings and Compositions, 1901-2017

An exhibition titled Medium, showing at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA, between August 29 - December 3, 2017, will feature recordings from my project collected huia notations (like shells on the shore when the sea of living memory has receded).

The exhibition considers the possibility of communication with the unknown, collecting together over thirty multimedia works from contemporary artists, as well as historical objects ranging from 1920s séance transcripts and Soviet Cold War-era “bone records", and archival materials from University of West Georgia, Ingram Library, Special Collections, William G. Roll Papers; the collection of Dr. Patricia Poulter; and the American Society for Psychical Research, Inc., the show "considers how intangible vestiges of the past haunt our contemporary world," aiming to "introduce a space to talk about things we don’t truly understand and to experience the impact of history as it lingers in our present."

Medium is presented in conjunction with a vinyl record, Medium: Paranormal Field Recordings and Composition, 1901-2017, functioning as an audio supplement to the exhibition, which features sound recordings selected by Ben Coleman, including previously unreleased Poltergeist Recordings from the Society for Psychical Research in the United Kingdom as well as compositions by Dedekind Cut, Eluvium, and Frank Perry.

further details about the exhibition & the record can be found here

6 May 2017

collaboration with Mark Harwood, 'Liar Lyre' at the Wellcome Collection, London

In early May, London-based Australian sonic artist Mark Harwood and I collaborated on a piece for an event at the Wellcome Collection, organised by academic, poet, film curator and experimental geographer Amy Cutler. Liar Lyre saw "experimental geographers, musicians, field recordists, multi-media artists, poets and composers play with alternate ways of sound-tracking nature documentaries in live collaborations". The event was part of a weekend at the museum called Remaking Nature, and part of the preliminary public programmes to the exhibition A Museum of Modern Nature, which runs at the Wellcome from June to October. 

Mark and my collaborative performance stretched the distance between New Zealand and London through radio communication, tales of lazarus taxa, and speculations on nature and (neo)colonialism, critically re-soundtracking the first footage of the South Island takahē, or Notornis (Porphyrio hochstetteri), shot the year after its dramatic "rediscovery" in the Murchison Mountains, in 1948.  

7 Apr 2017

the tūī sings the place, not about the place

It is now Autumn in Dunedin, the gathering days just after the daylight saving change. The tightening of light, where the magic-hour creeps into an earlier time-slot, and becomes a particular hue of grey-green-gold at a certain time of late afternoon/early evening, one that occludes certain colours and makes the khaki land look even more sombre, like a fading bruise with a yellow edge, or a piece of precious yet neglected metal, crusted with verdigris but still glowing pale gold through it. And then, just before sundown, the darkness seems to sit preemptively, visibly and heavily on certain objects, making them hard to see. The skin of whatever part of the body has been unwisely left at the mercy of the elements prickles against the gathering cold and darkness, with a kind of thrill that reminds the body it's alive, and that winter is coming and it better be ready. 

And the birds seem to know what's coming too. After a week working mainly at home in the near-silence of the hillside neighbourhood, every day has begun with a particular neighbourhood tūī, which is itself the exact colours of this landscape, chortling and sparking outside my window like a malfunctioning robot, before gurgling lower tones, sometimes completely inaudible - the bird is singing visibly, but i can't hear anything - and despite all the historic notation of tūī songs here on the table in front of me, i can't hear any of this experimentalism, in this supposed transcription of this bird's "music", only a historic human - and specific cultural (pakeha) - listening talking to itself, and leaving the bird out of things. it would be better to look at the sounds the bird is making as emergent properties of this place, too, and not abstract them in such ways, or relegate them to the airless space of a field recording on a harddrive, a dead museum of sound. 

I am so grateful that these beings are still among us, that they are some of the few that have survived, the few that can live with us. While our familiarity and sharing of space extends to conviviality to these birds as endemic, their over-depiction in sentimentalised often kitch representation also hides the fact of their complete otherness from us, the ways in which their song also contains a memory of the emergent properties of a landscape that we have actively destroyed, that we have never seen. Maybe the clues are here, in the song, rather than the archive. Today's research into the question : 'do birds hear bird song like we hear bird song?' (short answer : no) + other aspects of bird listening has produced various reflections on divergent evolutionary pathways, biosemiotics, the bald anthropocentrism of various prior models of listening, and the bare fact that humans really don't sense better, they merely sense differently, and perhaps in some ways, not as well: "300 million years ago when mammals split from birds, birds in some ways got the better deal." But all this could basically be summed up by the sentence: i wish i could hear what that tūī hears of its own song, when it sings.

More to come, on that, I hope.


image: 'Poe Bird' or Tui
James Cook, A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World: Performed in His Majesty’s ships the Resolution and Adventure, in the years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775, 2 vols (London: Printed for W Strahan & T Cadell, 1777)
University of Canterbury Library

13 Feb 2017


on Feburary 12 radio cegeste was invited to perform at Quiet Noise VI, an annual house/backyard show challenging experimental/noise performers to play without amplification, curated by Clinton Green (of Shame File Music) in his suburban garden in West Footscray, in Melbourne, Australia. 

taking a somewhat baroque approach to this ideal opportunity to explore the theme of non-electric amplification, I brought a Columbia Graphophone Cylinder Phonograph (a very special Model Type AA, c.1901-1902, the "smallest talking machine" sold by Columbia; it plays 2 minute cylinders, and is all original including the horn) all the way from New Zealand.

30 Dec 2016

radio feature: "In Prototype Days: sounds and stories from the Sound Preservation Association of Tasmania"

In Prototype Days is an experimental documentary radio feature that details scenes in the everyday life of not-for profit small museum The Sound Preservation Association of Tasmania (S.P.A.T.), located in the quiet suburb of Bellerive, in Hobart, Tasmania. The museum is dedicated to the preservation and display of historic sound technologies, and is a rich repository of devices and narratives which emphasise often localised and minor histories. The feature is told through the voices of the custodians of these technologies, some of whom have been working in radio and sound recording in the state for over 50 years. 

This feature was commissioned by Radio National's Soundproof program. It can be listened to here.

"If the history of technology is a repository of memory, then it's not a seamless recall. According to Lindsay McCarthy, president of the Sound Preservation Association of Tasmania (who himself first went on the radio waves in 1950), between the 1890s and the 1930s there wasn't anything recorded in Tasmania. Much of what was recorded only survives in the archives of S.P.A.T., a small museum and archive devoted to the history of recorded sound, located in an old post office in a quiet suburb on the eastern shore of Hobart's Derwent River. A love letter to amateur culture, In Prototype Days portrays scenes from the everyday life of S.P.A.T. Taking the lid off the museum's 'beautiful room', stacked floor-to-ceiling with hundreds of meticulously catalogued machines from the history of recorded and transmitted sound, alongside tens of thousands of recorded items from local and national audio history, presents a daunting, even overwhelming task.But as we walk into the room, memory gets specific. Within the walls of S.P.A.T., we hear the wonder of the simplest sound recording devices, like the Australian-invented card talk cardboard record player, made of folded cardboard and played with a steady hand holding a pencil at 78rpm, the sounds of once popular household playback devices like gramophones and phonographs, and tales from the pre-history of radio, when it was a rite of passage to make a crystal set by hand, with whatever was lying around the house."

24 Sep 2016

'Das Große Rauschen: the Metamorphosis of Radio' at Radio Revolten Zentrale, Halle.

arriving in Germany to be resident for the month of October in the city of Halle (Saale) to participate in the Radio Revolten International Radio Art Festival, I am joining more than 70 artists from 17 countries who will visit this month to contribute in a variety of ways to the festival, at the invitation of artistic director Knut Aufermann, and co-curators Anna Friz, Sarah Washington, Ralf Wendt and Elisabeth Zimmermann. That’s 30 non-stop, exciting and exhausting days of contemporary radio art, at 15 locations around this small and picturesque city, in the form of performances, site-specific installations, concerts and events, and live radio broadcasts, as well as discussions in the upcoming symposium Radio Space is the Place. The festival will be transmitting 24 hours a day on Radio Revolten Radio, on the FM frequency 99.3 MHz in Halle, further afield locally on the AM (middlewave) frequency 1575 kHz, and reaching a worldwide audience via the festival livestream. Additionally, 35 radio stations around the world will integrate parts of Radio Revolten Radio into their own programming, including Resonance FM, Radio Zero, Wave Farm/WGXC Hudson Valley NY, and other stations involved in the Radia network, whose members will also take the opportunity to converge for a two-day meeting and thinktank at the studios of Halle's Radio Corax during the festival.

A week out from the opening, I am currently setting up my installation within the walls of room 106, once the office of a certain Frau Dieter, on the first floor of Radio Revolten Central in Rathausstraße 4, for the contemporary art exhibit Das Grosse Rauschen: The Metamorphosis of Radio (2nd–30th October 2016), which also features Steve Bates (ca/qc), DinahBird and Jean-Philippe Renoult (fr), Golo Föllmer and friends (de), Fernando Godoy M and Rodrigo Ríos Zunino (cl), Jeff Kolar (us), Emmanuel Madan (ca/qc), Kristen Roos (ca), with Maia Urstad (no) installed in the Stadtmuseum Halle as part of the “Unsichtbar Welle” historical installation. The curator of Das Grosse Rauschen, Anna Friz describes the exhibition as grouping “international artists working on the cutting edge of art with a trailing edge technology,” focusing on the expanded context of radio art: “What other possibilities might exist for radio in the popular imagination, what significance might radio have outside of it’s usual functions of broadcasting information and entertainment? Artists working with radio have consistently sought to re-imagine the medium itself: to subvert the standardized and institutional approaches to broadcasting, to challenge ownership (state or corporate) of the airwaves, to rethink what counts as transmission infrastructure by pulling radio out of the studio and into new spaces for public actions, installations, performances, infiltrations, and interferences.”

My contribution to this exhibition is threefold, with an interconnected suite of works exploring the indeterminacies of historical memory via the medium of transmission: site-specific iterations of Collected Silences for Lord Rothschild and modified radio memorial (a fissure in the line of a public silence) will be joined by a new work, study for a data-deficient species (grey ghost transmission). More detail follows:

24 Jul 2016

transmitter building workshop, part of the B.Y.O. BATTERY series.

on July 24 I hosted a mini FM transmitter building workshop for ten people at The Anteroom, an non-profit artist run space based in an ex Masonic Lodge in Port Chalmers, run by the media artist Charlotte Parallel. The workshop was part of a series of D.I.Y creative technology and skill-sharing events Charlotte curated called 'BYO Battery'. 

This workshop's intention was to make transmission technologies accessible, with participants constructing their own simple hand made ultra low watt transmitter with which to narrowcast their own sounds. Grounding this practical making within wider theoretical reflection and discussion of how DIY analogue technologies might inform our understanding of communications within the post-digital present, drawing on the histories of DIY radio making and free radio experiments in 1970s and 1980s Italian and Japanese media art and activist histories, we also discussed the use of transmission media for artistic and non-centralised cultural purposes. With participants coming from various backgrounds, including dance, experimental music, and film, it was a stimulating day. True to the spirit of the series, everyone also brought along their own 9v power source. 

14 Jul 2016

a horn of chicken wire, a new kokako, and Douglas Lilburn's media zombies at the National Library

On the 14th of July at 1pm I gave a performance/lecture at the National Library, Wellington, in response to Zombies on the Horizon, an exhibition drawing on archival collections to tell a lateral story of the development of experimental music in Aotearoa, put together by the National Library's music curator Matt Steindl for the Turnbull Gallery.  
This exhibition takes its name from a statement by composer Douglas Lilburn, who begins the show's own narrative, talking about the coming of electronic media within music culture as "the zombie on the horizon". I also took this as my own lateral starting point, speculating how Lilburn's statement might be seen in relation or contrast to the notion of Zombie Media, recently elaborated by Jussi Parikka and Garnet Hertz, particularly in relation to an 'archival turn' within sound art cultures. 

22 Jun 2016

Avantwhatever Monthly – June 2016: Radio Cegeste (NZ)/Sabina Maselli/Carmen Chan

Avantwhatever Monthly – June 2016

Radio Cegeste (NZ)
Sabina Maselli
Carmen Chan

The Alderman
134 Lygon St

Wednesday June 22
Entry $10 | 7pm for a 7:30pm start

1 Apr 2016

marcasite radio: experiment #1.

a brief post-midnight birthday-morning experiment / work-in-progress report. the first vaguely successful attempt at materialising an object i've been thinking about for quite a while now, which has the working title of 'marcasite radio' and is, essentially, an experiment in 1920s residual media, based around the speculation that the white iron pyrite that was used to make marcasite jewellery in the 1920s and 30s might also be able to be used as the crystalline mineral in a crystal detector. 

I'm pleased to be able to report initial success - when set into a crystal radio receiver of the same era, my maternal great grandmother's marcasite brooch becomes a radio mineral, a diode that faintly speaks the voices of the aether. her name was Ann Wright (i'm named after her) and she was born in the 19th century, and was 101 when she died. (as of around an hour ago, i'm 59 years younger than that milestone).

After quite a few years of searching for them after the museum where they were housed was destroyed in the 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquakes, I've recently come into possession of copies of Ann's oral histories, taped in the 1980s, which detail fragments of the everyday life of the small town of Kaiapoi, located just outside Christchurch, in the early 20th century, among static hiss, noise, and the lapses of memory. Ultimately I am hoping to use these taped gaps, erasures and traces as the basis of a composition which can be channeled back to radio, transmitted via the active collaboration of the brooch and the ring she wore at the time, and which currently remain mute witnesses of those histories.

My mother gave me the two pieces of Ann's marcasite jewellery I am using in this experiment, as a graduation present. I wear the brooch in the same place I sometimes clip radio cegeste's transmitter aerial when performing. I hope neither of them are too offended by me re-purposing such exquisite heirlooms (taonga) to channel aetheric-material ghosts, while also thinking back toward the work of this country's female radio pioneers in the first decades of the 20th century

That history, itself like a faint, crackling signal in the midst of static rain, could also do with more elaboration - likewise, a lot more work is also needed here, but it's a promising start, and an excellent way to celebrate the first few hours of being fairly old now, myself...

27 Nov 2015

critical writing by Susan Ballard in 'Risk' issue of Reading Room: a Journal of Art & Culture

issue 7 of the Auckland art Gallery's research publication Reading Room: a Journal of Art & Culture, with the theme of 'Risk' features Susan Ballard's paper Signal Eight Times: Nature, Catastrophic Extinction Events and Contemporary Art

since (at least) 2014 Su has been writing in erudite and localised manner about Australian and New Zealand artists who take the extinction of nonhuman creatures as a theme. An early version of the paper, which she presented at the conference Affective Habitus: New Environmental Histories of Botany, Zoology and Emotions, was called More than the simple defence of nature: Artists confront extinction. In her blog, Su writes of this paper that "the title comes from a passage in Guattari’s Three Ecologies where he highlights how humans are part of nature, they are ‘in’ nature, so cannot defend it. He says more needs to be done if we are to survive IWC (Integrated World Capitalism). I talk about some NZ and AU artists who have been thinking about NZ bird extinctions, and suggest that they are already doing ‘more’. These art works are not a defence at all but a reenactment of environments." 

Within the wider scope of her discussion, Su weaves two of my projects into this latest version of the paper, pairing their focus on the sketchy musical notations of colonial-era pakeha contact with vanished birds still extant in contemporary archives, and the silence which remains in the present of museums, with other artists and works. She writes: "I argue that in staging small moments of encounter, which remind us that our experience of the environment is intimately tied to the survival of ideas, contemporary works of art can help us think about extinction anew."

Su's essay can be read and downloaded in full at this link

25 Nov 2015

tidelines for water street

a site-specific installation of a durational score created for the independent artist-run exhibition in a blessed parenthesis, in a vacuum full of promise, located in a warehouse at 57 crawford street (cnr. jetty street, above dutybound bookbinders), central Dunedin, NZ, November 2015. included a performance event and artist talk in which the score was activated (as "hundreds of simultaneous shorelines"). premiere performers were Motoko Kikkawa (violin), Campbell Walker (shortwave radio), and myself (mini FM transmitter, receivers, zither.)
--- x ---

title: tidelines for water street 
date: 24 Nov – 1 Dec 2015
time: various
notes: a sound score is constructed from a Dunedin street, using the location. In its initial stages, this score is a textual response to the idea of “land reclamation” and the fact that this street is on a part of the earth that was, until recently, underwater. It progresses further into the investigation of tidelines from various eras between the 1840s and 1890s, which inched forward from the place used as a landing site by Maori who were embarking on mahinga kai expeditions at the time of colonial settlement, which under the name Toitu Tauraka Waka became the first site in the South Island, and second nationally, recently recognised as a wahi tupuna (an important place of Maori ancestral significance).

The tauraka waka site was gradually swallowed by building and foreshore reclamation as the settlers threw more and more stuff into the harbour, including whole inconvenient parts of the landscape and later, the built environment; both were treated as raw material for what we might identify as, geologically speaking, an anthropocenic armature, a conglomerate “archaeological” landmass that everyone could contribute to: geological cross sections might reveal not just monumental or ‘natural’ things but strata of broken tea cups, glass bottles, and garden wastage. 

24 Nov 2015

guest artist talk to the class DIY Broadcast Media, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

a colleague in the Transmission Arts, Brett Ian Balogh, invited me to participate in a guest lecture programme for the class, DIY Broadcast Media, which he has taught for many years in the Dept. of Art & Technology at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

I joined an illustrious programme of speakers discussing their own and others' artistic uses of the radio spectrum. The transcript of the very beginning of my talk, which I skyped in from my home in Dunedin at a strange hour, is below:

25 Oct 2015

Edison Ledges (diagram for twelve archival silences)

"even as strange geographies corrugate, fracture and smear worldly scale and tempo, the ground isn’t somehow evaporated into virtual information flux, but, quite to contrary, we are brought to the end of the non-place, to a point where place can be and must be re-established anew as an accountable habitat in the renewed image of these very same deformations." 

- Benjamin Bratton, 'On the Nomos of the Cloud: The Stack, Deep Address, Integral Geography'.

the short study Edison ledges (diagram for twelve archival silences), re-purposed various archival sound recordings, in this case, commercially released Edison wax cylinders c.1890-1920 catalogued within the 500+ cylinders that form part of the collections of a small Hobart-based museum dedicated to sound technologies, the Sound Preservation Association of Tasmania (S.P.A.T). The cylinders were recorded, and the music subsequently removed, leaving only the precursory audio, and the final run-out grooves. Inverting the kinds of editing processes used, for example, in digital archival sound preservation, in which an editor would normally edit out these audible silences and use noise reduction software to progressively remove the grain media to reveal the music, here, the grain, the noise and the silence are all that remain of the technical, epistemological and economic act of late 19th century audio recording. 

21 Oct 2015

two days at SARU, Oxford.

visiting the kind and very welcoming folks at SARU (Sonic Arts Research Unit) at Oxford Brookes University over the period of 19th-20th October, I had to fight my cultural romanticism pretty hard - unlike the Southern pragmatics of my own university town, there were bicycles everywhere and everyone seemed to look like Morrissey, and I was rather beguiled, despite the discussions among my colleagues that the city was now so expensive, one could not afford to live there on an adjunct salary, even if one was teaching locally. after a morning at a local B&B, where over luke-warm filter coffee I watched great burly working class men from Scunthorpe crying on morning TV at the announcement that one of the last bastions of British Steel was cutting 1,200 jobs, I gave an artist talk and took five one-on-one half hour tutorials with students in the MA Sound Art programme, many of whom were doing thoughtful and clever projects, and the time flew by in some lively and stimulating discussions.

The SARU programme is also an affiliate partner and former home of the Consumer Waste label, whose co-curator Samuel Rodgers was also one of the fine folks concurrently in Oxford whose hospitality made my stay so great. Needless to say, the opportunity to play in a spare room at the school with someone I'd until now only communicated with via distance was appropriately embraced by yours truly. Sam recorded the session, so we might do something with it in future, if it's any good.

18 Oct 2015

'Andrei Tarkovsky: Another Kind of Language', 3CD re-release on and/Oar.

Released just months before the 20th anniversary of the filmmaker's death, the quiet emergence of the re-release of the Tarkovsky tribute initially put together by Dale Lloyd's Seattle based label and/Oar in 2003, was aptly timed. Like a small expanded cinema exercise in itself, this package included a 20 page booklet and 3 CDs, two including compositions from the original release, and the last with contributions from seven new artists. I contributed a new track, 'for shoring up the past, as though with timber', and wrote an impressionistic essay for the liner notes, called 'there is only here and now, and light'. Full info on the release (where there are still copies left, at the time of writing) is available at and/Oar. Thanks so much to Dale Lloyd for his work and faith.  

22 Mar 2015

corringham/cegeste + meek/kikkawa/naumoff + pppH [pH]

The Dunedin Art Gallery
Level 2
Allbell Chambers
127 Stuart St

doors 7:00


spectres of the spectrum & The Dunedin Art Gallery present...

an early evening showcase of new electro-acoustic formations, improvisations and collaborations at the newly inaugurated Dunedin Art Gallery:

Extended vocalist / acoustic ecologist / walking artist Viv Corringham (NY) in duo with transmission artist Radio Cegeste.

Collaborative trio of vocalist/electronic artist Noel Meek (Auckland/Wellington), improvised violinist Motoko Kikkawa and extended guitarist Troy Peter James Naumoff.

Low-frequency drone from Paul Hirst (Melbourne) and collaborator(s) tbc.

5 Feb 2015



318 St. Georges Road, Fitzroy North, Melbourne




collaborative set by two of Melbourne's more hypnotically beautiful purveyors of the lo-fi mantric harmonic. stretched and slackened tapes, contact mic overtone voice, drone choir.


transmitting on the frequency 104.5FM to any radio in the immediate area, radio cegeste is a nomadic radio station which creates room-sized transmissions, portals through which improvised gestural interventions into the materiality of site-specific electromagnetic phenomena come into a decentralised and unstable dialogue with transmitted field recordings and a shifting and eclectic archive of anomalies from the history of sound recording. the station is hosted as a live performance platform by sally ann mcintyre.


Ghost Gums is Ian Wadley, Samaan Fieck and Kishore Ryan. Ian and Samaan play guitar, Kishore plays drums. "There’s a strange kind of beauty here, but I don’t want to/can’t analyze it too much." (-Weirdo with a Dictaphone)


Rachael Melanson is a sound and visual artist hailing from the UK. She will be performing an interpretation of 'Remove', a visual score sent to her from Iran as part of 'Khal', a project initiated by Helga Fassonaki (http://helgafassonaki.net/2014/10/28/khal/). Rachael also performs and collaborates as Rosen (https://soundcloud.com/r-rosen)

Collected Huia Notations (like shells on the shore when the sea of living memory has receded)

Collected Huia Notations (like shells on the shore when the sea of living memory has receded) is a work for phonograph, solo piano, and extinct bird. It collates the four known Western musical notations of the song of the Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris), an endemic New Zealand wattlebird of the ancient family Callaeidae, which was driven to extinction in the last decades of the Nineteenth Century, partially through the attentions of overzealous wealthy Victorian Ornithologists and Museum collectors.

10 Jan 2015

notes toward a library of superlative trees. a transmission for Eucalyptus regnans

notes toward a library of superlative trees. a transmission for Eucalyptus regnans was one of two works exhibited as part of a listening air. / They are that that talks of going at Constance ARI, Hobart, Tasmania, which opened on 10th January 2015, alongside works by Matt Warren and Alex Bishop-Thorpe. It was part of the offsite programme for the sound festival Mona Foma.  

the work is a mini-FM radio programme which conducts radio art as a form of fieldwork. It investigates the notion of non-human memory through engagement with the sounds of the tallest flowering plant in the world, a tree native to Tasmania and Victoria, but now found worldwide. 
Orokonui eco-sanctuary in Dunedin, New Zealand, is a biosecure reserve for rare New Zealand birds. It also contains “New Zealand’s tallest tree”, a Eucalyptus regnans and an introduced Australian, planted in the 1870s as part of a farmland boundary line. 

3 Dec 2014

a one minute radio silence for Sceloglaux albifacies

recordings of the silences of mounted specimens of the extinct New Zealand bird Sceloglaux albifacies (the Whekau, or Laughing Owl) are collected from public Natural History museums, via the paranormal investigation method of EVP (electronic voice phenomenon), which is associated with the use of radio and sound recording as a means to contact the dead. the silences are layered into a one minute transmission, collated on the centenary of the officially recognized extinction of the species.

a blank time-capsule, “a one minute radio silence for Sceloglaux albifacies” investigates cultural notions of death and memorialisation in relation to the stability of recording mechanisms, the ‘eternal stasis’ of the archive as storage, linking this to early colonial collecting practices: the predatory accumulating of rare birds which rationalised sacrificing the living animal in favour of the ‘immortality’ of the museum specimen. despite a few dozen of its corpses being collected in such a way, along with a scant number of known photographs, some drawings and written accounts, the living Whekau’s cry was not recorded. accordingly, this project aims neither to represent, nor to ‘speak for’ the bird in human terms, in favour of giving space to its absence, listening in to the one hundred year lack of any signal between 1914-2014.

[image: juvenile Sceloglaux albifacies photographed at its nest in a cavity under a limestone boulder by Cuthbert and Oliver Parr. c.1909, Raincliff Station, Opihi River, South Canterbury, New Zealand. This is the only image of this bird ever taken in the wild.]

28 Sep 2014

a partial list of animal companions, 1978-1985

a partial list of animal companions i had as a child, age approx 4-12, in Oyster Cove, Tasmania, and East Gippsland, Victoria. classification is of individual, recognizable animals or groups of animals "collected" for close-observation of behaviour or life-cycle in terrariums/aquariums, and/or lived with as deliberate "familiars" in my immediate environment, rather than just observed in passing in the garden / in the wild. I have only included animals that weren’t ‘acquired’ via commercial transaction, but approached personally, by collection (mostly temporary) and/or re-visitation over days/months/seasons in the immediate environment they (and I) lived in. Many of the individuals of these species were admired for their beauty and/or emotionally connected with, some were regarded as being as close as (if not closer than) human friends, and some received full burials upon death.

Garden Mantis (Orthodera ministralis)
False Garden Mantid (Pseudomantis albofimbriata)
Common Grass Blue (Zizina labradus)
Common Garden Katydid (Caedicia simplex)
Gum Leaf Katydid (Torbia viridissima)
Green Grocer Cicada (Cyclochila australasiae)
Emperor Gum Moth (Opodiphthera eucalypti)
Longicorn Beetle (Phoracantha obscura)
Black Field Cricket (Teleogryllus commodus)
Wanderer Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Mottled Cup Moth (Doratifera vulnerans)
Saunders' Case Moth (Metura elongatus)
Garden Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti)
Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii)
Mosquito Fish (Gambusia affinis)
Eastern Long-necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis)

23 Aug 2014

"water is meaningless without ships"

"Water is meaningless without ships and that bespeaks harbours to haven them, and men and cargoes. What I have written does not pretend to poetry. It only says what it seemed could be said. … "

- Denis Glover, 'Wellington Harbour', 1974

23 Jul 2014

the worlds within a film: revisiting Nigel Bunn's photography for 'Notes for a Coastline'

notes for a coastline was a 2003 film directed by Zoe Roland, for which I wrote an essayistic, poetic monologue, which was used as the basis of the voiceover which sonically "anchored" the non-narrative drift of the film.

the Dunedin Film Society asked to screen the film in their 2014 programme, on the 23rd of July, as a local example of artist-filmmaking and a short before Shirley Horrocks' documentary on the senior New Zealand photographer Marti Friedlander, Marti: The Passionate Eye

the film was finally digitised for the screening, and in dragging frames out of it I was newly struck by all the small worlds that are buried inside it, which emerged with their own beauty and texture.

these images are all sourced from the exquisite 16mm camerawork Nigel Bunn shot for the film, only one of its media. as individual frames rendered into digital stasis, they paradoxically whisper of the fluid materiality of celluloid. apart from the myriad filmic references one could mention, some of the shots remind me of Vija Celmins' drawings, and some look like early photography by Henry Fox Talbot, and some have the mystery of a box of photographs or glass magic lantern slides newly discovered in the dusty corner of an old antique store, their out-of-sequence timeline revealing a new "treasure map" buried in their relation.

it seems appropriate that they are re-shufflable in this new way as a series of found photographs, as the last line I wrote in the script was "and there is no real ending to this process, as the walking continues after the viewing is finished. as listening continues...".

16 Jul 2014

"at home" a collaboration by radio cegeste & moth

“We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection. Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original value as images. Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams; we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.”
― Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
under the moth moniker, Jon Dale's occasional sonic missives have been collectively described by one commentator as an "incredibly haunting, rich dronescape." certainly, Jon is pretty much an honorary New Zealander when it comes to evoking the kinds of beautiful isolationism one might normally associate with an everyday familiarity with South Island landscapes, and one of the most assiduous and eloquent writers on that particular experimental idiom to be found anywhere.

staying for a week in Jon's apartment in Brunswick, Melbourne c.2011, resulted in this. we called it "at home" because that's where it was recorded.

9 Jul 2014

McIntyre/Stern in performance at Make It Up Club's 16th Birthday Celebrations, Melbourne, 14.01.2014

I was rather chuffed to find that guerrilla archivist Weirdo with a Dictaphone had recently bootlegged a recording of the duo performance I did with Joel Stern at Make It Up Club's 16th anniversary celebrations in mid-January, alongside this appropriately noisy photo (in which I'm pretty much completely invisible, located to the right behind the glowing apple), alongside a reminder of master-of-ceremonies Lloyd Honeybrook's ever-loquacious intro to the Stern/Cegeste debut: “New Zealander radio artist Sally McIntyre casts her receiver out into the imperceptibly omnipotent abyss of frequencies surrounding us, variously drawing in and transmitting out EVP of extinct birds, the void of defunct gallery spaces and the like, ably matched by the nihilistically nonentitative nullcore isms of Joel Stern. | Sally McIntyre [NZ] (FM transmitter & receivers, turntable, field recordings, bat detector & shortwave valve radio) & Joel Stern (Bits and Pieces of Nothing)” as well as the somewhat startling comment: "An amazing, mystifying performance. Possibly one of the best MIUC shows I’ve ever seen."

This gig was a unique one and a great memory for many reasons; Joel's playful interventions marked the first time i'd ever experimented with another live input signal going direct through my transmitter, at the same time as my own. The resulting homage to the misuse of the archive, theremins, morse code, a shared passion for the collecting of weirdo Library Music, Canary Training and Bird Identification records, and similar ephemera, can now be download for free via the link above, or directly from here, for your listening pleasure. Considering my own zoom recorder failed to perform on the night, it's really great to be able to hear it...

5 Jul 2014

a memorial silence for Sceloglaux albifacies, on the centenary of its extinction.

On the 5th July 2014, I headed into Canterbury Museum to record the mounted specimen of the Laughing Owl/Whekau (Sceloglaux albifacies) to be found, grouped humbly under the designation "forest birds", with various other New Zealand endemic species both extinct and still hanging on, in the Museum's extensive, old fashioned 'bird hall'. A sonic still life which was quietly significant, this 10 minute recording occurred on the 100th anniversary of the day (05.07.1914) the last officially acknowledged member of this species was found dead by the side of the road at Blue Cliffs station, not far from here in South Canterbury, by an 18 year old girl named Airini Woodhouse.

It seemed appropriate to commemorate this small, bleak anniversary, not mentioned in the New Zealand public media (unlike the 100th anniversary of the First World War, which has diverted much arts funding towards various memorial projects this year), with a private mourning ritual, a memorial silence which mirrors the silence of the bird itself, from Airini's sad discovery in 1914 onward, despite the rich prior textuality of description which attends this bird's voice, the eerie "doleful shrieks" and startling, unsettling, mad night forest laughter documented so frequently in the late 1800s, when the Whekau was still found in South Island forest and plain. This took the form of recorded listening as a form of meditation, an inhabitation of a listening space, rather than merely a form of archiving, mixed in with a paranormal ritual investigation, via the practice of Electronic Voice Phenomenon - a nod to radio's long association with attempts to contact the dead.

3 Jul 2014

three inclements (the ocean does not mean to be listened to)

the wonderful experimental music imprint Consumer Waste records has been kind enough to release (29.06.14) a set of three short pieces (as CW13) whose various component sounds I recorded while NZ Dept. of Conservation / Creative New Zealand artist in residence on Kapiti Island in May 2012, and finished editing on headphones in the unlikely sound-studio of Fendalton Community Library, located just down the street from my parents' house in Christchurch, very soon after returning from the residency that June. It's a wonderfully anonymous, hands-off public space, where i'm unlikely to be interrupted by anyone I know. Almost two years to the day, I am again sitting in the same place in Fendalton Community Library typing this, listening to the recordings and looking at various historic photographs which have, for me, become attached to this set of sounds. A return, of sorts.

Upon re-listening, the release - now called "three inclements (the ocean does not mean to be listened to)" after quite a few other working titles (the language, unlike the pieces, wasn't instantaneously obvious) - seems jagged, its vignettes reflecting its topographical variety of sonic spaces and collecting methods, a rocky and uneven terrain alive with the rawness of the island's own life. For a sonic document made on an island bird sanctuary, there are very few birds to be heard, apart from those incidentally in the background of some of the location recordings. This CD is not a literal representation of birds (other projects from the residency focusing on birds can be found elsewhere on this site), but a listening-in to the wider context of the island, its histories, its politics, and its absences. As part of the residency's wider focus on radio as fieldwork, this project gathers three "field tunings" into the frequency spectrum, which were all recorded on one day - the 9th May, 2012, around the area of Waiorua Bay. The receiver - a retired Maritime multiband radio - was cast as a listening ear within fields and shorelines, and its tunings layered with sounds also recorded in the same locales with various kinds of microphones. 

31 Mar 2014

some reflections on the dead space of storage media, and its relation to a bird which evaded solidity in classification for 150 years

moving into an object-based output for radio cegeste's dissipative ephemeralities was initially only driven by finding productive frisson in collaboration with improvisational musicians who release most things they do on their own record labels (here's looking at you, Lee Noyes). I couldn't really say no, and i'm glad I didn't. Since then, and despite ongoing trepidations around solidifying fleeting aetheric mobiles into repeat-listening structures in storage media, I'm telling myself i'm using such formats strategically.

I'm rather fond of the almost unplayable format of the mini CD, which is obsolete in a more recent - and invisible - way than most of the sonic objects i've tended to be interested in, the early 20th century forms whose temporal distances speak 'materiality' to a digital age in more obviously 'antique' manner. This dainty wafer of digital inscription is however an entirely appropriate format for radio cegeste's first solo release to have been caught on; the New Zealand Storm Petrel EP, released on Kate Carr's label Flaming Pines late last year, is a fleeting, crackly thing, just less than 20 minutes long. I was specifically interested in Kate's Birds of a Feather series for this label, based on birds in music, for its potential to extend my radio work around the immediacy of radio-and-bird communicability (see Kokako Variations, and other recent transmission works) into the 'dead space' of storage media. (I've been using storage media in combination with transmission for a little while, but often though their appearance as chunks of stored time in live performance.) 

The New Zealand Storm Petrel was a perfect focus for this investigation, being notable for its flight from taxonomy, a re-appearance which is only Lazarus-like for the classificatory mechanisms of human language (presumably, the bird knew where it was, all along). A bird like a book returned to the library of babel after more than a human lifetime, to assuage the spectres of colonial guilt. To replace its ghost shelved in some dusty corner, with all the other stuffed specimens.