AIR channel, an online art radio channel, supported by innovative technology of the AIR platform, developed, and tested as a pilot project by the AIR platform team in collaboration with Jožef Stefan Institute and Radio Slovenia.
Within B-AIR project, sound art and radio art for babies, toddlers and vulnerable groups is becoming a part of the new regular radio programming on the AIR channel. As an international radio platform for artistic online collaborations in real time, upgraded and complemented with technologies, devoted to artistic exploration, machine-learning and international collaboration, the wider platform is also open to hosting teaching, research and in-depth journalism seeking new audiences.
Why do we need AIR ...?
AIR stands for Abstract Infinity Radio, and we need it as a way to produce radio, radio art, sound art and in-depth journalism.
In a world dominated by the fast visual overstimulation, contemporary radio production, including in-depth journalism and artistic radio productions (radio plays, sound art and radio art), is facing challenges when embracing modern technologies and attaining new audiences, to invigorate sound-based creativity and communication with highly creative and internationally collaborative efforts in the framework of creative radio production.
A number of initiatives (whithin the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) or separate artists’ efforts), have shown that it is possible to invigorate sound-based creativity and communication with highly creative and internationally collaborative creative radio productions.
In order to facilitate such collaborative and innovative international production in a more systematic way, a central production hub was proposed which should enable experimental production and a reinvention of the radio as a creative medium, as an artistic gesture itself, as well as provide a collaborative platform for outreach toward new audiences. We call it the AIR Platform.
... and how do we get AIR?
The AIR platform aims to expand on what is available from professional radio studio infrastructure and satellite-link based audio streams with an artistic and reflective web radio platform that aims to retain the form of radio and to be, in part, available through participant’s usual radio programmes. Emphasizing the acoustic channel with the synergy of rich creative and interactive support, we want to tackle the predominantly visually-centric communication modalities of the modern media horizon and to approach the question of audio sensibility from early age on to explore reception in new audiences.
Our network, built within the B-AIR project, includes national radio broadcasters, associations for culture and art, universities, research institutes, but also hospitals, kindergartens, institutes for deaf and hard of hearing and retirement homes so that we can connect artists, experts, researchers and media workers with target audiences and create prototypes of new models and standards of production for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, vulnerable groups, old people and develop instruments to evaluate their effectiveness.
Abstract Infinity Radio
Radio programming as a work of art
For the AIR platfrom to become an true artistic online radio channel, we had to support it with innovative technology, developed as a test project with support of the AIR platform team and Jožef Stefan Institute. The goal: to create a radio channel that is a work of art in itself, a joint artistic declaration of a geographically dispersed, but united "sound tribe" in the spirit of art. To achieve this goal we have to make it possible to support online artistic collaborations in real time and to further support automatic processing of sound fragments of these artworks with the help of analysis, remote audio mastering and machine learning technologies. AIR is guided by an idea – that AIR will listen to the world of sound events, store them in its artificial "radio subconscious" and then create new sound contexts from fragments of its own memory. The resulting variable sound sculpture will live forever – until the end of the media world as we currently know it – but also create a space into which our AIR channel can release creative works of the "sound tribe" that further feed its memory.
Artistic collaboration for the new millennium
We also want to answer the question – is it possible (at least in part) to solve the specific problems of live remote artistic collaborations using available network and free software solutions with the cooperation of public infrastructures, academic networks and public media houses.
An important aspect of this technological idea is the desire to establish a pan-European network infrastructure suitable for so-called low-latency online projects, which would enable the creation of complex pan-European artistic collaborations in real time in the domain of the European public academic network infrastructure and with the participation of public radio stations. The basic premise of this idea is open source - the openness of these systems for further multidirectional project development in accordance with the specific initiatives of artists or developers. This, of course, brings to the fore the issue of artistic freedom at a time when proprietary technologies and corporate technological solutions are increasingly limiting personal creativity on an unconscious level.
Hearing the soundscape, seeing the power of radio
Although we live in a world characterized by hypertrophied visual or mental stimulation, we believe that there is also room for the human ear in it. In today's expanded media landscape, radio may not be the medium one would choose as the first, but we are sure that it is the medium that mankind would eventually abandon. Sound and the auditory experience have an extraordinary importance in our lives, which can be traced from the early neurophysiological stages of the embryo all the way to mystical philosophies that place the sound experience in the first place among the experiences of the sensory world. With the B-AIR project, we want to open up the question of the transformation of the radio medium (both in the technological and social sense), thereby introducing a new interest in specific radio creativity into the Slovenian and European space.
The project is guided by the principle of openness of technological solutions. Free and open source software is a guarantee that the technology created can be used and developed in different directions even after the official end of the project.