At Rewire 2018 Antenes debuted a new RE:VIVE commission, Telegraph Music. A project that finds and celebrates the intersections of modular electronic music and its forefather; telecommunications.
Known for her inventive soundscapes and eclectic DJ sets, New York-based DJ, producer and electronic artist Antenes also operates a studio-turned-laboratory of self-made sequencers and modular synthesizers built from vintage telephone equipment. She presented the world premiere of Telegraph Music, a Rewire and RE:VIVE commission (in co-production with COMM Museum – now Beeld en Geluid Den Haag) that explores the intertwined histories of electronic music and telecommunications by performing with a one-of-a-kind re-purposed switchboard modular setup.
The intersection of communication devices and music, more specifically, electronic music, goes back longer than we might think. In 1823 English electrical engineer Francis Ronalds published Descriptions of an Electrical Telegraph and of some other Electrical Apparatus, setting into motion the technological revolution for information transmission and reception. Ronalds wasn’t alone in his breakthrough. Volta, Ohm, Franklin, Ampere, Faraday, Bell, Edison, Hertz, and Tesla, all added the necessary building blocks to get electronic music where it is today.
Musically, Telegraph Music was a century later continuation of the, 9 April 1877 Music by Telegraph by American inventor Elisha Gray presented, at Lincoln Hall in Washington D.C.. For the first time, music played hundreds of miles away on Gray’s musical telegraph was broadcasted to a room full of curious audience members. The review from the National Republican read, “At the conclusion of the exhibition the judgment of all present was highly flattering to what may yet be numbered among the greatest inventions of modern times.”
Antenes was joined by experienced radio operator and technical engineer Bernard Grijpstra, a graduate of the Hogere Zeeveart School Amsterdam and served several years as a radio operator in the Merchant Marines. Bernard operated the telegraph key and served as a historical and language consultant during the creative process.
Leading up to the performance Antenes met with a collective of former radio operators from Radio Holland, one of The Netherlands oldest radio communication organizations. Through conferring with these life-long telegraphers who lived life on the airwaves around the world, Antenes was able to place telegraphy in the context of the world at large, current society and electronic music.
Specifically for this show, Arad, 1/2 of Lakker and the visual mastermind behind the Irish techno duo’s acclaimed Struggle & Emerge and Tundra live a/v shows. Arad provided visuals for Telegraph Music further exploring how telegraphic messages can be transformed into new forms of artistic expression.
Future plans for releasing different iterations of Telegraph Music and all new material are in the works. Keep your dials dialed in!
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