"On the planet"

A radio story by students of the High-School for Deaf and hard-of-hearing in Argyroupolis, Greece.

On the planet catalogue program p2

"Imagine that you are on a planet where only the Deaf can perceive sound. Can you guide the hearing in this strange land? Narrate your adventure on this planet!"

On September 1st, 1925, Ludwich Van Beethoven's 9th Symphony was performed by the New York Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, NYC. Composed in 1824, Beethoven had already lost most of his hearing due to illness. 101 years later, the Carnegie Hall performance was also broadcasted live through the radio.

On the same evening, in a small household in Long Island, within the radius of the transmission in Long Island, the residents gathered around the radio to listen to the show. One of the household members was famous writer Helen Keller, the first blind and deaf person to have obtained a degree in Arts. At the time, Helen was advocating in favor of the radio for the blind, as a key alternative to newspapers (and generally printed material) for access to news and entertainment, from which blind people were excluded from. However, Helen was also expressing her grief for not being able to listen to the radio, as a deaf person.

During the broadcast, another member of the household proposed to Helen to touch the radio speaker in order to feel the vibrations of the music. Her experience is documented in a letter she later wrote to the Orchestra members [more info on the story in the Smithsonian Institute archives (here), and the full letter here].

Helen Keller's life excerpt was the inspirational fuel for the two-fold project "Tangible Radio - Class on Air" by TWIXTlab, in collaboration with the High-School for the Deaf and hard of hearing in Argyroupolis, Athens. In one hand, it was a "proof" that sound is not out-of-place for the world of the Deaf, and indeed touch can provide a legitimate alternative access to music. In extent, that the radio has long been wrongfully understood as incompatible with Deaf culture; On the other hand, contemporary inquiries in regards to Disability can go some steps further from the issue of accessibility, and consider inclusivity as the main aim for equal opportunity for all.


December 22nd, 2022, 13:00

Premiere in the Argyroupolis High-School for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing, Athens, GR.

Tangible Class

May 18th, 2023, 18:00 CET

"How does the world sound?", B-Air conference in Cerisy, FR

August 4th, 2023, 17:00-18:00 CET

Radio Utopia / News from the World @ Ball Theatre, French Pavillion of the Biennale of Architecture in Venice, IT.