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What Is Radio Art?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn

Radio art is a very broad term for auditory arts that use the radio as a form of transmission. While these types of artistic projects can range from technical uses of sound, to more social programming like interviews and audio performances, any art that seeks to use the properties of radio for its process is often called radio or radio delivered art. In many definitions of this kind of art, the artist is not a professional radio producer, but someone who is using radio in a new way to showcase different kinds of artwork.

Some types of radio art seek to provide a lot of varied non-vocal audio sounds. These are often called soundscapes or experimental radio types of art works. There are an almost infinite number of elements that can be included in one of these performances, from familiar samples of sound to unique ambient or technology-induced abstract sounds.

Woman painting
Woman painting

Other forms of radio delivered art focus on the human voice. Certain types of interviews can be called radio art if they have a performance art component, or are otherwise delivered as an artistic product. These types of social performances can also be called radio art if they are part of a greater set of radio broadcasts that are universally regarded as artistic.

Many technical forms of radio based art rely on a very important specialized process. Some of these types of art projects include sounds from outer space. Others use the interplay of silence and sound to provoke an art audience. The liberal use of screeching, banging, groaning, whirring or other abstract ambient sounds is often part of more technical radio based art.

There’s also a category of dramatic radio based art that uses the unique venue of the radio to reach an audience in a different way. These radio art pieces usually have an accessible narrative and use voices, as well as sound effects, to guide an audience through the narrative in a compelling way. Traditional radio theater broadcasts are good examples of this kind of art.

In general, radio art is defined by its producers, its audience, and its regional and broadcasting context. Fans of this type of art work can look to fine arts organizations in a given nation or region of the world to find more established venues for radio art. This can also be a good resource for artists who want to become a part of the radio art community.

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