For the third year in a row, RE:VIVE and Rewire will collaborate on a world premiere. This year we’ve invited Antenes (Lori Napoleon) to expand her unique modular rig of rewired communication switchboards. She will present the world premiere of Telegraph Music, a unique live performance that explores the intertwined histories of electronic music and telecommunications. The performance elevates a one-of-a-kind re-purposed switchboard modular setup by introducing a modified telegraph key system. Situated on the receiving end of historical transmissions, Antenes will transform the beeping echoes of the past into a newly realized piece challenging the audience to decipher the obfuscated messages and revel in their musical potential.
The inspiration for this year’s collaboration was born out of last year’s Sample the City Workshop where producers were invited to come rework archival field recordings and films of The Hague. Each producer received our The Hague Sample Pack and hidden within, among typical urban environmental sounds were sounds from the old Netherlands Postal Museum (PTT Museum). These sounds of whirring, clanking, beeping and churning telex writers, telegraphs, post sorters, morse code and printers inspired the idea for Antenes’ Telegraph Music. Now for the first time that Sample Pack is being made public leading up to the festival. You can grab it here for free.
In 1929 the Netherlands Postal Museum (PTT) opened in The Hague as a monument to the postage stamp collection of Pieter Waller. Alongside the postal stamps the museum began collecting other devices and memorabilia related to communication like telegraphs and telephones. The Hague was a fitting choice for a museum about communication. Not only was Dutch telecomms behemoth KPN also located in The Hague but so was the ever important Scheveningen Radio an outpost on the coast that connected ships in the rough North Sea to the mainland. As well, Hanso Idzerda broadcast the first Dutch public radio broadcast from The Hague on 6 November, 1919 at 20:00 using his homemade radio sender making history as the first commercial radio broadcast ever. The PTT Museum, now COMM is still located in The Hague and is exploring the different ways we communicate and how technology aids or hinders communication.
Electronic music as we know it stemmed from telecommunication innovations. The physics of circuitry, voltage, resistance, gates and amplification were initially developed to more quickly convey messages between individuals. Simultaneously, engineers were seeing if they could use these same devices to make music. At a certain time these paths diverged and became two separate scientific fields although never existing too far from the other. For Telegraph Music and this Sample Pack, we want to pay homage to The Hague and all the societal changing innovators that forged new ground in telecommunications and electronic music. So we went back, seeing how much musicality of these old devices; telegraphs, teletext, switchboards, paper tape, bundling machines, morse code and more.
Grab the sample pack now featuring recordings of all these gadgets and gizmos from the PTT (now COMM) museum as well as atmospheric field recordings of The Hague along with archival films and explore a new side of the city.
All sounds and films provided by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision under a CC BY-SA license.