Miloš Vojtěchovský: The Stalker
rAdioCUSTICA selected 2004 | 20:08
For twenty-five centuries, the Western mind has been trying understand the world by watching it. This approach has failed because the world is not made to be understood with our eyes - it must be listened to. The world cannot be read, it can only be heard. Science has always wanted to monitor reality, to measure it, to make it abstract, to wring meaning out of it. We have forgotten that the world is full of noise, that only death is silent: the noise of work, of people, of animals... Nothing import happens without noise. / Jacques Attali
This essay is dedicated to the architecture and archaeology of a specific technological communications tool - various modes of communication using sound environments and radio waves. The "infosphere" is a complex organic environment which since the beginning of the last century has slowly but surely become a part of our universe. It is a mosaic composed of the personal and public audio archives of the past and present, capturing sounds resonating in four dimensions.
The architecture of radio communication is a tangle of vibrating particles and semantic information - often freed of meaning - a continuous stream; the collision of energy particles, security codes, legal, illegal and military codes; the breathing and crackling of communications systems, a tangle of mathematical and emotional symbols which dissolve, disappear and peter out in the sound-polluted resonant mass of our time.
Radiocommunications spies become castaways of the night, roaming the circles of time and the far corners of the soundscape. They move by turning the dial on the radio, the steering-wheel of psycho-geographic scanners, they skip along wavelengths that take them places which their eyes could never see. Within the amateur radio community, operators make contact and communicate with people on the other side of the globe, even with automated transponders flying through space, on their way to Mars.
The audio material in this essay is composed of "found audio", snippets from radio and amateur radio operators' archives interspersed with digitally processed telecommunications sounds, codes and noises for defence, offence, spying and navigation. The story unfolds as an autistic rendition of a fairy tale told in a psychiatric hospital by a person whose speech flows in random associations. "Stalker" is an audio reflection of the space that surrounds us, even when no spies are turning the dial.