At the kind invitation of Counterflows and the Goethe Institute Mark Vernon and Barry Burns (experimental musicians, sound artists, radio producers and co-managers of Glasgow’s art radio station Radiophrenia) were invited to select a German artist to collaborate with on a new sound piece.
Having heard some of Berlin based sound and radio artist Antje Vowinckel’s exceptional works submitted to previous editions of Radiophrenia, they invited her to participate. All three artists share a passion for the possibilities of the medium of radio and a fascination for the rhythms and cadences of speech.
The resulting work should have been presented as part of Counterflows 2020 but unfortunately that was not to be. They are now working together on a longer term project for Counterflows 2021 but in the meantime Vernon & Burns in collaboration with Vowinckel have created an unorthodox sideways radiophonic portrait of the artist and her practice.
The project began with a series of questions and actions devised by Vernon and Burns for Vowinckel to respond to remotely from her home in Berlin. This consisted of queries about her practice and relationship with sound and music, requests for descriptions and recordings of her immediate sound environment, domestic chores, singing, lists, sound memories and an analysis of the qualities of her own voice. All of the resultant material was combined with extracts of Vowinckel’s work and excerpts from field recordings and other compositions by all three artists. The eccentric approach in the resultant audio collage is not intended as an accurate portrait of Vowinckel, more as an impressionistic overview with interventions and twists on the conventional form; thoughts and meditations on the act of purposeful listening and sound creation.
The raw material provided by Vowinckel was cut up, processed, manipulated and recontextualised by Vernon and Burns. The piece, with its playful approach to assemblage and composition, combines the personalities and working methods of all three artists. As such it functions as an introduction and a short trailer for what this new collaboration might produce next year.
Vernon & Burns are a duo of sound makers who create radio plays, records and performances through an innovative mix of samples, field recordings, voice and music. They have produced programmes for radio stations including VPRO, Resonance FM, WFMU and The Audible Picture Show and have had records released on Felix Kubin’s Gagarin Records, Akashic Records, Staalplaat’s Mort Aux Vaches series and two LP’s with Lied Music released on Ultra Eczema and Shadazz. Together, they also manage Glasgow based art radio station, Radiophrenia.
Antje Vowinckel is a Berlin based sound and radio artist. She studied literature and music and wrote a thesis on „Collage in radio play“. Her works include sound art, radioplay and compositions for a variety of public radio stations such as (Deutschlandfunk, WDR, SWR, Radio France) as well as for foreign stations and festivals. In recent years, she has created also live performances, installations in public space and a video composition. Her focus is on the musicality of the spoken word, for example in compositions with dialect melodies or in pieces based on automatic speaking.
Listen to the portrait: