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Sounds of War and Peace

Soundscapes of European Cities in 1945

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Edited By Renata Tańczuk and Sławomir Wieczorek

This book vividly evokes for the reader the sound world of a number of European cities in the last year of the Second World War. It allows the reader to «hear» elements of the soundscapes of Amsterdam, Dortmund, Lwów/Lviv, Warsaw and Breslau/Wrocław that are bound up with the traumatising experiences of violence, threats and death. Exploiting to the full methodologies and research tools developed in the fields of sound and soundscape studies, the authors analyse their reflections on autobiographical texts and art. The studies demonstrate the role urban sounds played in the inhabitants’ forging a sense of identity as they adapted to new living conditions. The chapters also shed light on the ideological forces at work in the creation of urban sound space.

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Waves of Remembrance: Wrocław in Radio Sounds. Broadcasting from the past (Dorota Błaszczak)

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Dorota Błaszczak

Polish Radio Archives, Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, Warsaw

Waves of Remembrance: Wrocław in Radio Sounds. Broadcasting from the past

Abstract: Waves of Remembrance: Wrocław in Radio Sounds, an interactive sound installation, created a listening environment for the public. A prepared radio receiver “broadcast from the past”, using content from radio archives. This article presents the installation with reference to the role of radio broadcasting and the experience of listening to radio as two inspirations for creating the work. The war-time context and the radio soundscape of 1945 are emphasised as a turning point in the history of the city, and as such they are present in the radio recordings that shaped the installation.

Keywords: radio art, broadcasting, soundscape, interactivity, perception

In May 2015, the Goethe-Institut issued a call for projects: “As part of Wrocław’s tenure as the European Capital of Culture 2016, we are looking for projects in the areas of performance and contemporary art that can be realised in a container (about 6 x 3 x 3 m) with three transparent walls located in a public square in Wrocław (the Goethe-Institut Pop Up Pavilion). […] The pavilion will serve as the basis for a site-specific, interdisciplinary cultural programme with a German-Polish focus, whose aim is to include the public and encourage it to participate”.1

One of the themes for submissions, referring to “identities and remembrance/Wrocław’s German-Polish history”, was relevant to the field I was working in and triggered the idea of an interactive sound installation, Waves of Remembrance, based on radio sounds connected with Wrocław.2 The project was accepted for a two-week exhibition, from 27 April to 9 May 2016, in the Goethe-Institut Pop Up Pavilion ← 221 | 222 → in Nowy Targ Square (Fig. 1).3 Visitors could set the channels on a radio receiver with the buttons, use the knobs to tune the radio in time on a special scale from 1924 – the year radio broadcasting was launched in Wrocław – to 2016, listen to various historic recordings about Wrocław or switch to the current local radio station. In this journey in time, many layers of history recorded in sound overlapped, invoked by listeners’ interactions with the receiver. The glass pavilion helped create an interesting public context to the privacy of listening to radio and the private soundscape generated inside the space of the pavilion. As Michelle Hilmes wrote about radio: “the diminishment of physical distance and penetration into private space is linked explicitly to the spread of culture – and cultural hierarchies. Radio promised simultaneity of experience without direct contact, exposure to the public in the privacy of one’s home”.4

Figure 1: Waves of Remembrance, Nowy Targ Square, Wrocław (2016). Photo Dorota Błaszczak

illustration

← 222 | 223 →

Waves of Remembrance was inspired by and relates to the notion of radio broadcasting as a technical process and an important medium which had an impact on people and the soundscape. The following sections will precede a review of the installation and will cover issues related to broadcasting, listening to radio and radio’s influence on the soundscape in relation to the period of the Second World War.

Broadcasting and the war

The invention of radio created the possibility of reaching people over a vast area and broadcasting the same message to various places regardless of distance. “Radio is an alteration of space and a structuring of time. It extends space if you’re making music, shrinks it if you’re listening”.5 Radio became a medium used for establishing or re-establishing a nation, as in the case of Canada, as a huge, diverse country,6 or Poland, as regaining independence in the 1920s.

The same function of re-establishing a nation can be discerned during the Second World War in response to the fragmentation of Poland, the dispersion of its people and the suppression of the Polish language in the occupied country. Radio broadcasting became an important source of information about the country for people who were far from Poland. A diary from Ankara describes the emptiness of the day when the Warsaw I radio channel stayed silent, 7 September 1939,7 whilst Fryderyk Jarosy’s poem “Warszawa druga” [Warsaw II] reflects the importance of another Warsaw radio channel.8 These examples show how the sound of Polish broadcasting was an important factor in people’s lives during the war.

Another “potential” of broadcasting was used during the war: the potential to influence others. The power of broadcast sound was well understood. From September 1939 to June 1945, possession of a radio receiver in Poland carried the death penalty. From 16 October 1939, the Polish language was banned from radio. A “fake” soundscape was created, with a “fake” German transmitter on the “true” Polish radio frequency, so listeners might think they were listening to a Polish programme.9 Nazi recordings were made to be broadcast in Poland so ← 223 | 224 → that the power of the occupier could be heard in statements and music through speakers installed on the streets.

During the Warsaw Uprising, Polish broadcasting became a symbol of hope that Poland still existed. People risked their lives to build radio transmitters, including the “Błyskawica” (Lightning),10 which functioned from 8 August to 4 October 1944. A few short programmes were broadcast during the day, in both Polish and English, as they were meant for both Warsaw residents and an international audience.11 After two months, shortly following the last day of the Uprising, the transmitter was destroyed,12 so it could not be used by the occupiers.

This shows the power of broadcasting, which remained an important tool for rebuilding the country in 1945, just after the end of the Second World War. As an “immaterial” medium, radio was again a means to reach many people and deliver political information. But radio had an important role on a private level, as well, broadcasting personal information to families searching for their relatives. Listening to the radio retained its significance.

Listening to radio: The radio soundscape

Radio sound is a technological construct. It requires the transmission of a source sound. Speakers and amplification are always involved on the side of the receiver. The listener’s gesture of tuning into specific radio waves is a necessary part of the process of finding a selected channel. Special attention is required to tune and listen to a radio. The position of the listener in front of a radio set with sound sources hidden inside creates an acousmatic situation for the act of listening.13 As described by Michel Chion,14 such a situation can intensify casual listening, when the listener tries to guess the cause of the sound, or, on the contrary, it can help with “reduced listening” to the sound itself. One way or another, listening to radio resembles an acousmatic situation, with the receiver serving as a contemporary ← 224 | 225 → Pythagoras’ curtain,15 which can help the listener to concentrate on the meaning and emotions conveyed by the radio sound.

It must be pointed out that the original sound source transmitted by a radio station is not the same as the sound received by the listener. Radio sound can be associated with Roman Ingarden’s notion of the “musical work”.16 Radio waves are transmitted as intentional objects, and the experience of listening to radio gives rise to sound concretions. This experience depends on the listener’s interactions forming a time structure and mixing streams of sound. The actual sound includes the transmission artefacts, superimposed onto the original sound,17 and the final audio result is determined by the amplification and speakers of the receiver used for listening. The listener’s point of view defines the subjective sound, encapsulating the experience of listening – what we could call a radio soundscape.

All types of sounds involved in the process of radio tuning create a specific radio soundscape in response to the listener’s interactions with the radio receiver. Such a dynamic soundscape can be analysed using R. Murray Schafer’s taxonomy of soundscape features: keynote sounds, signals and soundmarks.18

I would consider that a keynote sound, in the case of a radio soundscape, is not a fundamental sound, but a property of that soundscape. The sound of the radio can be present or switched off, so it disappears immediately. The listener can easily switch to another channel and a completely different radio programme; he or she “edits” the soundscape by manipulating the receiver. This property defines a radio soundscape as a technological, not a natural, construct.

Signals as foreground sounds that are listened to consciously can be found in the time signal heard on the radio every hour.19 Like all other signals, the time signal carries a message for those listeners who can interpret the tones as indicators ← 225 | 226 → of the start of an hour. This layer of a radio soundscape requires a semantic type of listening, by means of which the sound may be interpreted.20

A soundmark – a unique sound of the radio soundscape – can be heard when tuning a receiver as a static noise when no radio station is present for the frequency of radio waves set on the receiver scale.21 The static can be heard on the older analogue radios,22 so this soundmark is related to technology used in the listening process and does not apply to new devices.

Another of Schafer’s concepts applies very well to the radio soundscape, namely, the soundwalk. “The soundwalk is an exploration of the soundscape of a given area using a score as a guide. The score consists of a map, drawing the listener’s attention to unusual sounds and ambiances to be heard along the way”.23 The scale of the radio receiver, filled with many locations, constitutes a “score” for a radio soundwalk all over the world: by tuning into different radio stations, the listener can visit the soundscapes of distant places. The installation Waves of Remembrance represents an invitation to embark on such a soundwalk in time.

The notion of the radio soundscape relates both to a location and also to a specific time in history, such as a time of war, which is relevant to the 1945 soundscape.

Radio and the soundscape during the war

In this section, I will address three different views on the war soundscape that are related to broadcast sound: the presence of broadcast sound within the general soundscape, the character of radio sound, and the nature of listening to the radio.

During the war, even if radio stations were still broadcasting, their programmes could be heard only when radio receivers were accessible, which was not so obvious. At that time, radio receivers were on the move. Many of them were confiscated in occupied countries and given to people in Germany or to the Germany ← 226 | 227 → army, so that propaganda could be delivered to a target audience.24 During the Warsaw Uprising, in 1944, over one hundred radio sets acquired from the Philips factory were given to the residents of Warsaw for the same reason, so they could listen to important news about the situation in the city.25 On the other hand, some radio receivers were kept in secret by Polish people to listen to the news, even if possessing a radio and listening to it were forbidden.

This information is confirmed by people who lived through the war. My colleague Wojciech Barcikowski’s grandfather, Juliusz Lenczewski, had a hidden radio receiver in the German tobacco warehouse in Tomaszów Mazowiecki where he was working during the war. He could secretly listen to the BBC news in the evenings. My own grandfather, Józef Błaszczak, placed a radio receiver inside a stool at the start of the war so the whole family could listen to the news from London, as my father, Gerard Błaszczak, described. In those two stories, both grandfathers talked about the London radio station using the Polish onomatopoeic phrase “bum, bum, bum, buuum” to describe the anticipated BBC broadcast signal. That was Morse code for the letter “V”, for “Victory”, and it became part of their long-term sound memory.

The sound of radio appeared mainly for short periods of time during the day, and it could easily disappear for various reasons. People would wait eagerly for radio broadcasts, and it was a big loss when the radio signal was absent and they could only hear static. The radio soundscape was split into broadcasting time and waiting for radio sounds (as we learn from soldiers’ diaries).26 Also relevant were power cuts, which caused the radio to fall silent on the transmission or reception side. So the radio soundscape acquired its “switchable” character on different levels: for purely technical reasons, through a lack of electricity and a lack or malfunctioning of receivers, or for political reasons, with transmissions banned altogether.

Another important element of radio sound is the radio voice, “perceived by the listener as factual and informative, newsworthy, or at least dedicated to the betterment of life”,27 as described by Frances Dyson. The sound qualities of a voice were particularly important during wartime. The presenter’s voice needed to show authority, but also to bring hope and be calm.28 ← 227 | 228 →

The sound of radio brought news and music into the soundscape, but it could also contain coded messages for military purposes – supporting an air defence system, for example, as happened in Poland at the beginning of the war.

When there was a ban on listening to the radio in general (as in Poland) or listening to foreign radio stations (as in Germany), deciding to listen to the radio could require hiding a radio set and keeping it muffled. On the other hand, if radio was used officially, it became part of the street soundscape in various ways. Receivers could be placed in windows by city residents, as broadcasters encouraged people to do,29 so the radio was “shared” and more people could hear it. But the sound could also be transmitted through cable radio to permanent speakers installed on the streets, so everybody would be forced to listen to the same programme. The radio soundscape was under the control of propaganda. The usual freedom to select radio channels was suspended.

The radio soundscape of 1945

The end of the war and the changes it brought were spread over time and space as the new Poland took shape. The radio industry and radio stations were destroyed and had to be rebuilt. The first transmitter of the new Polish Radio was launched in Lublin on 11 August 1944,30 while “Błyskawica” was still working at the beginning of the Warsaw Uprising. The double radio soundscape reflected a complex political situation during the last part of the war.

The beginning of 1945 brought the first radio programmes in Warsaw for street speakers only; then a small radio transmitter started broadcasting on 16 March 1945 and the rebuilt Raszyn radio station on 19 August 1945. The programmes were based on live announcements, news (forty per cent of airtime) and music programmes (thirty-four per cent), including live concerts and a very small set of fifteen records, with Polish music – mostly folk.31 When broadcasting began after the war, those recordings were repeated several times a day. 1945 was a year of one central radio programme prepared in Warsaw and broadcast between eight and sixteen hours a day.32

Already in 1945, radio stations were rebuilt in many cities: Cracow, Katowice, Poznań, Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk and Łódź. The following year, stations were launched ← 228 | 229 → in Szczecin and Wrocław.33 There were cable connections for transmission between radio stations, so a large part of Poland could listen to programmes as soon as people had access to radio receivers and electricity. First, from 1945, cable radio stations were established, to give more people access to radio broadcasting as soon as possible. Then, in 1946, radio receivers began to be built in Poland.34 So the 1945 radio soundscape was mostly based on receivers left in Poland after the war. To return to my father’s war memories, when he returned to Warsaw in February 1945, he dug out a radio receiver that had been hidden in a stable in 1939. Unfortunately, it had stopped working, because of its lengthy exposure to humidity. But then, using crystal detectors and spare parts, my father managed to build a crystal set that did not require electricity to listen through headphones. The main purpose of building this receiver was the upcoming broadcast of a football game between British Army and Polish teams in Warsaw on 10 November 1945.35

In 1945, sports transmissions and other radio programmes brought the promise of normal life. The national anthem was played on the radio at the beginning and the end of each day’s broadcasting.36 Several radio orchestras were created and gave concerts in 1945, such as the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (March 1945), Poznań Orchestra (May 1945) and Bydgoszcz Orchestra (April 1945). The first live piano concert on the radio was Władysław Szpilman’s recital broadcast on 19 February 1945.37 There were also programmes prepared for listeners in rural areas twice a week, featuring agricultural topics and folk music. Educational programmes started in 1944. The first live sports programme was broadcast on 15 August 1945.38 Live transmissions of political events began with a military funeral in March 1945. Holy Mass was transmitted from 3 March 1946 to 11 September 1949, when such transmissions were forbidden again for many years.39

In 1945, most radio programmes were broadcast live; some were recorded onto discs and magnetic tapes, and some of those recordings were held in archives and gave rise to collections of recordings. The Polish Radio Archives became a catalyst for creating Waves of Remembrance, to enable visitors to explore recordings about Wrocław. ← 229 | 230 →

The operating principle behind Waves of Remembrance

Waves of Remembrance consisted of a real, but “prepared” radio receiver, a virtual receiver on a screen, two additional speakers and a computer that “broadcast” sounds from the past.

The radio receiver was modified by Zbigniew Pietrzak to serve as an interface for the listeners to access historical sounds broadcast over ninety years of radio history.40 This prepared radio became a time machine for archive sounds to be replayed over the receiver’s speakers. The knobs and buttons were modified to be used by listeners as normal manipulators of the radio, but they acted differently. Instead of changing the parameters of the circuits and antenna, they controlled the computer application. An artificial magic eye added feedback for tuning,41 with a green light indicating a properly tuned sound station.

Figure 2: A prepared radio with special time scale and buttons with thematic channels

illustration

The key function of the prepared radio was to tune “through time” to a selection of historical recordings, thanks to a special scale on the radio’s front glass panel consisting of important dates in radio and Polish history (Fig. 2). The visitors could listen to different channels by switching the real buttons of the receiver: the ← 230 | 231 → first button switched off the radio, the second button directed the listener to the current, live broadcast of Radio Wrocław,42 and a special “antenna” button played a mixture of sounds from all channels broadcast at the same time. The last four buttons on the right offered a choice of thematic channels about people, history (two channels), culture and sport, like selecting a channel on an ordinary radio.

As an interactive installation, Waves of Remembrance required a computer application to run during the exhibition to simulate the broadcasting and receiving of audio recordings in response to visitors’ interaction with the radio receiver.43 The receiver sent data about the manipulators through an Arduino microprocessor to the computer running the application. The application’s main algorithm defined the process of choosing sound recordings based on the selected channel and the point on the scale. The key principle behind the algorithm was based on the simulation of broadcasting sound; the recordings were not selected “on-demand”. So the listener could only tune into sound files that were currently playing.

The application generated a virtual representation of the radio, with information about the current recording displayed on the monitor, and two streams of sound to be played on the speakers of the receiver itself and on two additional speakers.44

A special demo mode was prepared for the night, when the installation was not turned off. It automatically tuned slowly through time, so the labels for the recordings and the light of the magic eye were changing and visible to people passing by the Pavilion.

The audio recordings for Waves of Remembrance

The audio recordings were selected by the historian Wojciech Barcikowski, my colleague from the Polish Radio Archives, based on three main sources: the Polish Radio Archives, Wrocław Radio Archives and National Digital Archives.

The first group of recordings concerned the people of Wrocław. It consisted of the recorded voices of the residents of the city, covering the Polish period in the ← 231 | 232 → history of Wrocław. The voices included people of various professions, such as the composer Ryszard Bukowski, writers Maria Dąbrowska, Stanisław Dygat and Wojciech Żukrowski, theatre director Jerzy Grotowski, zoo director Antoni Gucwiński, musician Lech Janerka and poet Tadeusz Różewicz. The channel playing these recordings was organised in alphabetical order across the whole scale of the receiver.

The other three channels were structured in chronological order across the scale so the listener could tune through time by turning the knob. These channels contained many recordings about various historical, cultural and sporting events from the Weimar Republic and the period of national socialism (“Reichssender Breslau”), from post-war times, from the independent “Radio Solidarność Wrocław” and also from contemporary materials. The visitor might hear recordings about the World Congress of Intellectuals in Defence of Peace (1948), quadruplets from Wrocław (1954), a smallpox epidemic (1963), the Odra 1204 computer (1967), a flood in the city (1997), the decision regarding the hosting of the Euro 2012 football tournament (2007), the European Capital of Culture (2016), and also classical music recordings of the cathedral choir, in Thomas Stoltzer’s O admirable (1936), the radio symphony orchestra, in Anton Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony (1937), Stanislaw Moniuszko’s Halka at the Wrocław Opera (1961), the Jazz Festival (1974) and the Actors’ Song Festival (1988), among others.

The wartime content selected for Waves of Remembrance was a mixture of military, political and everyday programmes and included the following audio recordings:45 Adolf Hitler at the Reichstag (1939), historical monuments of Wrocław (1941), visiting the Polish Pavilion at the Trade Fair in Wrocław (1941), a programme in Hungarian broadcast from Wrocław (1941), the funeral of pilot Werner Moelders (1941), the German Gymnastics Championships (1942), Adolf Hitler after the attempted assassination (1944), cultural news for Silesia (1945), Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz (1945) and the opening of the Polish Radio station in Wrocław (1947).

The selected audio recordings were prepared for playback on the computer application. This included editing and work on the overall loudness balance for all the sound files. In most cases, I decided not to use sound restoration, so the timbre variety and some distortions were kept. Such aesthetic decisions about the ← 232 | 233 → degree of “mastering” of all the recordings allowed for a diversity of the potential soundscapes created during the exhibition.

Waves of Remembrance as an interactive soundscape

The subtitle of Waves of Remembrance, Wrocław in Radio Sounds, indicated the provenance of the recordings that could be heard over the old radio set. All the recordings came from radio archives, and they allowed visitors to build up a story about Wrocław and its residents by listening to the receiver.

In my projects, I am interested in exploring the possibility of extending the listening process. This interactive sound installation creates a radio soundscape that can be navigated through time and through the sound streams of the thematic channels. The radio set lets the listener recreate radio soundscapes from different periods of time. The project would not have been possible without the invention of audio recording, enabling ephemeral sounds to be stored, together with all the emotions contained in recordings of voices, which are missing in the text itself.46

The installation was not meant to be an augmented reality project; having done it, however, I would consider it as such. Radio as a medium has some important properties that naturally fit into the augmented reality category that is so prominent in modern discourse. Radio sound always needs amplification and speakers, so it is natural to listen to radio augmented reality over speakers (it is not so natural if you try to recreate the sounds of an environment coming from natural sources). In the case of radio, you always tune to a programme that could be live or pre-recorded days or even years before. The listener is always confronted with overlapping time and broadcasting from the past, so the attributes of augmented reality can be found also in listening to a normal radio set. The radio reality and the temporal relationships between recordings are complex and continually augment the listener’s reality.

One key aspect of Waves of Remembrance is time and sound overlapping, which addresses the history contained in audio archives. This aspect was inspired by digitisation processes occurring in an environment where many concurrent streams of playback sounds were surrounded by the real sounds in the rooms of the archives; the two types of sounds create a random context for each other. This generated the idea for a separate channel enabling a special type of listening to “all” the radio waves that might surround us at a given time. There was a special “antenna” button (originally used for changing the properties of the signal reception), which ← 233 | 234 → allows the visitor to listen to a mix of all the thematic channels for a particular point on the receiver scale. The listener can use the tuning knob to search for various mixes on the scale. Moving the knob introduces delay-based processing with speed-dependent parameters, so the user might obtain different sound results from manipulating the knob.

The time overlap concept is also realised by assigning a live feed from Radio Wrocław to one of the radio’s channel buttons. Furthermore, a time signal is generated every hour, based on the computer system’s clock. On top of that, recorded time signals “from the past” can be heard according to their own timeline. The time signal triggers a semantic type of listening to the sound conveying the time information. If the signal from a digitised sound file is heard at a different time than the start of the current hour, the time in the soundscape being created is unexpectedly relativised.

There is another stream of sound in Waves of Remembrance, an extension to the listening modes, in the form of an audio mix built up from sounds “collected” by listening. If the visitor is just listening to one radio programme, without moving the knob and buttons, this additional sound stream develops slowly over time. It is heard from the additional speakers only, which need to be placed higher and behind the radio set, as if those “already heard” sounds were entering a cloud of sound memory, shared with others through the act of listening.

If the installation is used with the five main thematic channels set by pressing the radio buttons, Waves of Remembrance follows the “archive strategy” from the taxonomy of interactive art proposed by Ryszard W. Kluszczyński: “the dominant factor of the archive strategy is information, (audio)visual data gathered, organised and made available to the audience”.47 If the installation is used with the special “antenna” button set, the receiver may be turned into an instrument: this mode of functionality follows the “instrument strategy”, in which the interactive experience is of a “purely performing” character: “It is organised around an interface, which plays a fundamental role”.48

During the opening, one visitor made everyone worried about the radio by playing with the buttons and knobs, but most people were very gentle while searching and tuning into different recordings. The exhibition was overseen by attendants who were prepared to provide an explanation about the installation. During the first couple of days, I observed and talked with some visitors and with the attendants. The audience consisted of locals, tourists and various groups. There were students who tried to listen through the whole scale and all the channels, and ← 234 | 235 → also visitors who entered the pavilion and listened to other people’s choices. I met some tourists from Germany who called their friends to listen together to German historical sounds, which triggered a discussion about the history of our countries. They also raised the question of their collection of photographs from Breslau which they wanted to donate for public use. I noticed also that the radio set itself was bringing back memories even without the sound: people started to talk about their relatives who had a similar radio, describing the room it was in. Sometimes they would check that the receiver was modified and had a “fake” magic eye and would remember playing with its green button, which could be pushed in.

The exhibition lasted for two weeks and attracted nearly 1800 visitors.

Waves of Remembrance, prepared in the Polish Radio Archives, represented the continuation of a series of site-specific projects conceived within my work environment and based on its resources.49 Such projects follow the “active archiving strategy” proposed by Piotr Krajewski of the WRO Art Center,50 as “long-term preservation by active use of the content. Active archiving can be divided into two types: developing genuine user interfaces and working with archival materials in order to re-create them”.51 Using the radio receiver as an interface to the audio archives created a special context in which to re-listen to audio recordings as intermingled “waves of remembrance”.

Acknowledgments

Waves of Remembrance was supported by the Goethe-Institut, WRO Art Center, Polish Radio Archives, Wrocław Radio Archives and National Digital Archives. My special thanks go to Wojciech Barcikowski, Zbigniew Pietrzak, Waldemar Listowski, Dorota Krakowska, Agnieszka Kubicka-Dzieduszycka, Carolyn Birdsall, Sławomir Wieczorek and Glen Fraser. ← 235 | 236 →

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Miazek, Ryszard, “Audycje Polskiego Radia dla wsi” [Rural programmes on Polish Radio], in Andrzej Ossibach-Budzyński (ed.), Polskie Radio. Historia-Program-Technika. 90 lat Polskiego Radia [Polish Radio: history, programmes and techniques. 90 years of Polish Radio] (Warsaw: Polskie Radio SA, ASPRA-JR, 2015), 261–284.

Miszczak, Stanisław, Historia radiofonii i telewizji w Polsce [The history of radio and television broadcasting in Poland] (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Komunikacji i Łączności, 1972).

Nowak-Jeziorański, Jan, Kurier z Warszawy [Courier from Warsaw] (Cracow: Znak, 2009).

Schaeffer, Pierre, “Acousmatics”, in Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner (eds.), Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music (London: Continuum, 2004), 76–81.

Schafer, R. Murray, The Soundscape. Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World (Rochester: Destiny Books, 1994).

Wawer, Zbigniew, “Samodzielna Brygada Strzelców Karpackich. Organizacja, walki, życie kulturalne, polskie radio” [The Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade: organisation, fighting, cultural life and Polish radio], in Andrzej Ossibach-Budzyński and Krzysztof Jasiewicz (eds), Polskie Radio w czasie II wojny światowej [Polish Radio during the Second World War] (Warsaw: Polskie Radio SA, ASPRA-JR, 2015), 191–206.


1 When the call was issued, in May 2016, it was presented on the webpage of the Goethe-Institut, which now carries information about the event in Polish and German, https://www.goethe.de/ins/pl/pl/kul/sup/wro.html, accessed 26 February 2017.

2 Waves of Remembrance: Wrocław in Radio Sounds (2016): Dorota Błaszczak – concept and programming, Wojciech Barcikowski – selection of archive recordings, Zbigniew Pietrzak – preparation of the radio receiver;

cooperation and support:

Polish Radio Archives, Wrocław Radio Archives, National Digital Archives,

Goethe-Institut, https://www.goethe.de/ins/pl/pl/ver.cfm?fuseaction=events.detail&event_id=20710975, accessed 26 February 2017,

WRO Art Center, http://wrocenter.pl/en/fale-pamieci/, accessed 26 February 2017.

3 More images can be found on my website, at http://dorotablaszczak.pl/home_/2016/iv-v.2016.html, accessed 26 February 2017.

4 Hilmes, “Radio”, 354.

5 Berland, “Toward a creative anachronism”, 41.

6 Ibid., 39. “The emergence of a concept of Canada as a nation was dependent on, and articulated through, the building of the national railway and, subsequently, at first literally in its tracks, the national broadcasting system”.

7 Kunert, “Cztery pożegnania”, 22.

8 Ibid., 23.

9 Kondracki, “Rola warszawskiej rozgłośni”, 219.

10 Miszczak, Historia, 215–217.

11 Nowak-Jeziorański, Kurier z Warszawy, 334–335. “Błyskawica” transmissions were received at the radio monitoring centre near London, and a few of the broadcast programmes were stored on records. There are copies of those recordings in the Polish Radio Archives.

12 Kunert, “Cztery pożegnania”, 31.

13 “Acousmatic […] marks the perceptive reality of sound as such, as distinguished from the modes of its production and transmission”. Schaeffer, “Acousmatics”, 77.

14 Chion, Audio-Vision, 32.

15 Schaeffer, “Acousmatics”, 77. “In ancient times, the apparatus was a curtain; today, it is the radio and the methods of reproduction, along with the whole set of electro-acoustic transformations, that place us, modern listeners to an invisible voice, under similar conditions”.

16 Ingarden, “The sounding”, 115.

17 Most of the recordings preserved in audio archives are the original recordings meant for broadcasting, but some were preserved as audio recordings from the receiver side, with all the broadcasting artefacts added, as radio “Błyskawica” programmes from the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

18 Schafer, The Soundscape, 9–10.

19 There is a standard for time signals broadcast on radio, introduced at the dawn of broadcasting, in 1924, at the BBC (Greenwich Time Signal). The time signal with five short pips and one longer beep of 1kHz is still used on Polish Radio.

20 In the sense of the listening modes presented by Michel Chion. Chion, Audio-Vision, 25–31.

21 Analogue radio broadcasting is based on the modulation of a carrier signal by an audio input signal that can be heard on the radio receiver. The frequency of a radio station is the frequency of the carrier signal. If there is no carrier signal transmitted – when, for instance, a station has stopped working – the receiver will give a static noise at that point on the radio scale.

22 Radio receivers adjust the gain of the signal that was causing the static. Many radios can automatically mute the receiver when no station is detected, so the static is no longer heard.

23 Schafer, The Soundscape, 213.

24 Miszczak, Historia, 213; Fikus, “Hans Fritzsche”, 95.

25 http://sp2put.utp.edu.pl/radioelektronicy/technika_amatorska.htm, accessed 26 February 2017.

26 Wawer, “Samodzielna Brygada”, 198.

27 Dyson, “Radio Voice”, 167. Dyson discusses the need for different radio voices in general and in radio art, but without focussing on wartime.

28 Kondracki, “Rola Polskiego Radia”, 216.

29 Ibid., 213.

30 Miszczak, Historia, 227.

31 Ibid., 236–237.

32 Ibid., 331.

33 Waves of Remembrance includes a recording of the official opening of the Polish radio station in Wrocław (16 November 1947).

34 Ibid., 321–325.

35 A recording of this football game (33-P-139) is held in the National Digital Archives.

36 Miazek, “Audycje”, 267.

37 Markowska, “Muzyka”, 320.

38 Listowski, “Sport”, 434.

39 Górski, “Audycje religijne”, 294.

40 It was a Tatry tube radio receiver, manufactured in 1964 by ZKR (Zakłady Radiowe im. Kasprzaka) in Warsaw.

41 The magic eye tube was a special tube used as a green tuning indicator. It is an element of old radio sets remembered well by radio users, as became clear while talking to the visitors to this and another public installations using a radio set.

42 There was a modern tuner circuit installed inside the receiver, tuned to Radio Wrocław.

43 The MAX 7 programming environment (https://cycling74.com/) was used to program all the audio functions, and an Arduino microprocessor to connect the computer with the radio interface.

44 An image of the radio with a graphic simulation of the movements of the tuning indicator and short descriptions of the sounds were visible on the screen of a monitor hanging from the ceiling. The speakers placed at the back of the Pavilion, behind the radio, were used for additional layers of sounds related to sounds previously sought and “heard” by the visitor.

45 The main sources for the recordings from the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft, Reichssender Breslau included German radio recordings. There are original records in the National Digital Archives and copies on tape at Polish Radio Warsaw. Several original sounds from the war and radio programmes about the war can be found on the Polish Radio website, at http://www2.polskieradio.pl/wojna, accessed 26 February 2017.

46 There is an archive recording from 1954 of the Polish writer Zofia Nałkowska talking about the emotions conveyed by recorded voices compared to the written text alone.

47 Kluszczyński, Sztuka interaktywna, 236.

48 Ibid., 222.

49 Including Colours of Archives (1996), Sound Drawings (2014), Hearing Data. Data Carriers (2014) and Radio Receiver of 90 Years (2015).

50 That strategy was introduced by Piotr Krajewski during a Media Library conference at the Museum of Screen Culture in Moscow, in November 2012.

51 From an English synopsis of the presentation The WRO Collection: Active Archiving, delivered by Agnieszka Kubicka-Dzieduszycka and Bartek Korzeniowski to the conference Digitizing Contemporary Art, held on 10 May 2013 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Wrocław.