Strange sounds have been emanating from the Artscape Wychwood Barns complex over the past month. There’s no need to adjust your dial—those offbeat frequencies and irregular signals are all part of the ninth Deep Wireless Festival of Radio and Transmission Art, a gathering of experimental sound-art projects and related workshops designed to expand the audible and aesthetic parameters of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The Deep Wireless program is wide-ranging, with one-off performances grounded by daily local radio broadcasts (on FM 106.1) and a set of interactive installations on view at Wychwood Barns throughout the festival’s run. Montreal artist and composer Emmanuel Madan’s collaborative work with scenographer Simon Guilbault titled Ground transforms the human body into an antennae of sorts as audiences modulate the sound of electromagnetic waves with a touch of suspended audio cables. “Radio Art Salon” presents a roundup of audio works from past editions of Deep Wireless available for listening in a custom 1950s salon hairdryer. Opening this weekend is The DEW Project, a glowing geodesic dome/radio transmitter by Dawson City/Montreal artist Charles Stankievech, and German artist Michael Lissek’s documentary portrait project Take Me Home or: is it actually (about) singing? Also showing is At Home, an off-site installation at Parkdale’s Lakeside Long Term Care Centre, where Toronto artist and radio producer Mieke Anderson offers a narrative interpretation of aging and immigration based on the experiences of her grandmother and caregivers at the nursing home.
The festival culminates May 28 and 29 with the Radio Without Boundaries conference. Be sure to watch and listen for keynote addresses by Stankievech and artist and CBC radio host Sook-Yin Lee and panel discussions on subjects such as “Visual Radio” and “Don’t tell my ears where to go.” Performance highlights include The Pencil Project, a compositional sound work played by Martin Messier and Jacques Poulin-Denis using pencils, scissors and pocket calculators, among other school supplies, as well as a live rendition of Madan’s Freedom Highway, a distilled soundscape of US mass-media broadcasts following 9/11. (601 Christie St, Toronto ON)