Radio Utopia : News from the World

B-AIR has joined forces with the French pavilion at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale for a week of research and public creation from August 1 to 5, 2023.

Schnepp Renou - Radio Utopia - pasted image 0

In an international public setting, this week was an opportunity to showcase work already completed, to produce new work and to invite a number of artists and researchers.

The Ball Theater’s response to the “Laboratory of the future” theme selected by Lesley Lokko is a spectacular sound architecture, an alternative space for reflection, and a laboratory of imagination and festivity. The theater takes the form of a light and modular sphere, conceived as a laboratory of identities. It adopts a poetic and utopian dimension that explores the notion of growth. It can be interpreted both as a foretaste of the future and as a multifaceted sphere that dramatizes the interplay of sound, space and bodies. It becomes the arena for a monthly cycle of workshops-residencies-events in which a multiplicity of voices and narratives take to the stage, opening up the theater to the world and its planetary challenges. It functions like an echo chamber, resonating with topical issues around the fragility of the planet, our colonial heritage, our representations of identity and gender. It suggests a new approach to today’s crises, based on questioning, letting go, seeking alternatives and building on different visions.

The party’s not over!

Radio Utopia, the ball of sonorities

From August 1 to 5, the Ball Theater was transformed into a veritable radio studio open to the public. Capturing and broadcasting different types of sound extracts, this radio antenna connected the radio theater to numerous French and foreign partners, territories, institutions, researchers, artists and acousticians. Its programming changed throughout the week, with a series of live broadcasts entitled "News from the world", site-specific installations and the opportunity to wander around the pavilion's interior and exterior spaces with mini sound speakers from all over the world, collected through a call for contributions. This sound laboratory offered an experimental platform to better grasp our times, learn to listen differently and make audible new voices from here and elsewhere.

As part of the French pavilion represented by muoto at the XVIII Venice International Architecture Biennale 2023, we have launched a call for contributions to receive news from the world in the form of soundtracks lasting less than 7 minutes. Conceived as a receiving and transmitting antenna, the Ball Theater installed in the French pavilion will open up a field for fictional experimentation, research and debate: a radio theater.

This world news was broadcast as part of a science week - Radio Utopia - taking place from August 1 to 5, 2023. They were transmitted on individual mini-broadcasters, which could be used by anyone to wander around the pavilion's interior and exterior spaces, as well as in the Ball Theater.

Proposals could be of any kind: creations, fiction, interviews, soundscapes, archives, etc. We received over 200 submissions from all over the world. They were selected on the basis of their production quality and content, in line with the proposed themes. A veritable sound laboratory for the duration of the week, the French pavilion gave us a taste of what the world sounds like.

By world news, we mean : 

  • News of place
  • News from the other
  • News from the future
  • News from the past
  • News of fiction
  • News from the spheres

By Nicolas Tixier, AAU research unit, Cresson Team, ENSA Grenoble and Carlotta Darò, LIAT research unit, ENSA Paris-Malaquais

In collaboration with juL McOisans, Cédric Pichat and the support of Marc Higgin, Sébastien de Pertat, Théo Marchal

External links:

Contents, participants, podcast and pictures of the seminar

Global programmation