Writing in the 1930s, pioneering film scholar and early radio theorist Rudolf Arnheim argued that montage offered great possibilities for the radioplay to establish itself as an art form, as it had done for film (see Hand and Traynor, 2011 : 17–18; Drakakis, 1981 : 5): ‘So long as radio drama neglects to take advantage of montage-forms and fails to use the most natural technical procedure for producing them, no zeal or imagination will carry broadcasting in this department beyond the first stages’ (Arnheim, 1986 : 132). According to
Tuning in to the neo-avant-garde offers the first in-depth study of the radio play’s significance for the neo-avant-garde. In the postwar period, radio began to function as a site of artistic experimentation for the literary neo-avant-garde, especially in the form of the radio play. In the wake of the historical avant-garde, the neo-avant-garde had a strong interest in aural media, in the seemingly autonomous power of sound and voice. Therefore, it is not surprising that postwar avant-garde artists and literary writers in particular all across Europe, the US and the UK started to experiment with the radio play. Neo-avant-garde artists actively engaged with newly created studios and platforms in the postwar period. The contributions to this book examine how the radiophonic neo-avant-garde stages political questions and acknowledges its own ideological structure, while taking into account the public nature of radio. Alongside these cultural and political contexts, the book also reflects on intermedial and material issues to analyse how they have impacted artistic production in different parts of the world. Specific attention is paid to how artists explored the creative affordances of radio and the semiotics of auditory storytelling through electroacoustic manipulation, stereophonic positioning, montage and mixing, while also probing the ways in which they experimented in related genres and media such as music, sound poetry and theatre, questioning the boundaries between them. Because of its exclusive focus on the audiophonic realm, the book offers a valuable new perspective on the continuing debate surrounding the neo-avant-garde and its relationship with the historical avant-garde.
Gerhard Rühm’s (b. 1930) radiophonic work began at a time when, at least in German-speaking countries, the radioplay was largely understood as an inner stage, a kind of echo chamber of inwardness, and was mainly psychologically oriented. When German authors such as Paul Wühr, Ludwig Harig and Jürgen Becker began working experimentally for radio in the mid-1960s, thus preparing the transition to the New RadioPlay in 1968 (Schöning, 1969 ), Viennese authors Rühm and Konrad Bayer (1932–64) had already written a radioplay that had
This chapter will consider the radioplay Spaltungen ( Splits ), written in 1969 by Ernst Jandl (1925–2000) and Friederike Mayröcker (b. 1924), two leading authors of the Austrian neo-avant-garde. When reading the scripts of Jandl and Mayröcker’s jointly written radioplays of the late 1960s one is struck by the ubiquitous presence of collective figures and voices, often explicitly marked as choruses and presented in relation to anonymous single voices. In their well-known radioplay Fünf Mann Menschen ( Five Man Humanity , 1967), the
The acoustic neo-avant-gardes between literature and radio
Inge Arteel, Lars Bernaerts, Siebe Bluijs, and Pim Verhulst
-Smith, 2013 ). In 1979 the American avant-garde composer John Cage composed Roaratorio , a radioplay for electronic tapes, Irish folk music and voice, based on James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake . In the Netherlands, Lucebert and Bert Schierbeek, experimental poets of the so-called Vijftigers movement, wrote scripts for radioplays. There are numerous examples of neo-avant-garde artists experimenting with radiophonic genres, creating fascinating works of art. In fact, all over Europe and North America we can find examples of such radiophonic experimentation that uses and
Apollinaire in Freddy de Vree’s multilingual radiophonic composition A Pollen in the Air
-avant-garde refers to the historical avant-garde, and Dietrich Scheunemann ( 2005 ) demonstrates that the attack on the institution(s) of art is not as inherent in the historical avant-garde as Bürger suggests.
In the context of the aural neo-avant-garde, the debate is worth revisiting because the institution of radio broadcasting services played such a major role in the production and distribution of acoustic artworks, in particular of radioplays. Across Europe creative minds working for radio were able to find a forum for wild experimentation on the radio and were
-stage and thus not
always accessible, it haunts the characters from a distance and
speaks through their bodies. Beckett’s plays stage the condition of
trauma rather than the primary traumatic event itself.
Beckett was adamant that Embers, like his other radioplays,
not be performed on stage: it was meant to be broadcast as a onetime event. As a radioplay, Embers effectively ‘blinds’ its listener
and places him or her in a mental cave, a ghostly place of darkness
from which the memories of traumatic loss depicted in the play
Bodily object voices in Embers
Co-creation, theatre and collaboration for social transformation in
Michael Pierse, Martin Lynch, and Fionntán Hargey
's rights group, our Right to Choice (RTC) group, focused on the issues of bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, which produced a radioplay.
A refugee group, our Human Rights (HR) group, which produced a short stage play.
An LGBTQ+ group, which produced a short monologue play.
A group looking at issues of gentrification, social cleansing and the ‘Right to the City’ (Lefebvre 1968 ) in the working-class Market community of Belfast, which made a short film.
the theatrical potential of the Cambridge spies, and for the most part they sympathized with the plight of the traitors and sought to convey an understanding of the personal and historical circumstances behind their motives for committing treason. Tom Stoppard, however, was more interested in the curious protocols of Cold War espionage itself and the intelligence agencies that plan and oversee these covert operations. His radioplay, The Dog It Was That Died (1982), later made into a television film for Channel Four in 1989, was the first of his works to be
in areas like
Alongside the films, radioplayed its part in dramatizing the Chan
stories. Between 2 December 1932 and 26 May 1933 on the Blue Network three of
Biggers novels, The Black Camel, The Chinese Parrot and Behind That
Curtain were dramatized in thirty-minute instalments. Genial, rotund character
actor Walter Connolly played Charlie. There was a daily fifteen-minute episode
Charlie Chan series on the Mutual Network