‘phone or text to public broadcast’ projects at Conflux

There are two projects at Conflux that can be described as ‘phone or text to public broadcast’.

The first one is ‘Supplied by the Public’ by the ‘Free103point9/31 Down Radio Theater’ . Is a festival radio station where the content consists of nothing but telephone calls by the public and festival participants, streamed on the internet and broadcast locally via FM radio. There have been various telephone-radio projects on the last decades; this projects references Neuhaus work: ‘Our project will be based on the concept of the 1966 work by Max Neuhaus titled, “Public Supply.” Neuhaus’s revolutionary telephone/radio work was sponsored by WBAI in New York City and has been recreated in other cities.’

Another project that comes to mind is TextFM by Graham Harwood and Matthew Fuller. TextFM invited people to send text messages to a previously advertised number. Additionally people could add parameters to control the type of voice to read out the message in the next step where the text messages were transformed into synthesised speech by a server and broadcast life on radio. For more detail on this project see ‘Handymusik‘. Another text message to public speaker project’ is ‘Tool for armchair Activists’ by Troika.

TextFm can also be regarded as a predecessor of the Conflux Project ‘smsSage’ by Tim Redfern and Ralph Borland.


smsSage at Conflux hides a speaker in a surveillance camera, broadcasting text messages sent in from the public: ‘smSage receives SMS text messages, which are converted to audible speech, using a text-to-speech engine with a synthesized voice. It speaks these messages coherently at first, but which each repetition, starts to mix them with previous messages it has received, producing a concrete poem. The voice becomes quieter … A new message wakes it up again, for brief lucidity, before sense begins to dissolve again.
smSage can sense the ambient sound level and adapt its volume accordingly. When the project isn’t receiving any messages, it advertises its presence by quietly reciting its phone number.
The device is contained in a security camera housing, which contains a parabolic speaker to throw the sound at a nearby surface. The sound appears to come from a point on a wall where the speaker is directed.
The security camera acts as disguise for the source of the voice, making it more spectral and mysterious. It takes the function of a security camera and turns it around rather than capturing information from the environment, it projects onto it, voicing and remixing participants comments and observations in a transient, ephemeral way.’ (from here).

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