Radio Ballet: Brecht

It seems like Bertolt Brecht always wanted his audience to participate in whatever he was presenting whether it was theater or radio. To quote Mark E Cory’s essay, Sound Play: The Polyphonous Tradition of German Radio Art, “Brecht was very clear on the dangers of passive listening, ‘concert’ listening, which he felt could lead to a mind-numbing identification with a heroic individual.”


Brecht specifically said “Radio is one-sided when it should be two It is purely an apparatus for distribution, for mere sharing sharing out. So here is a positive suggestion: change this apparatus over from distribution to communication.”



I had a hard time trying to imagine radio as being participatory until my friend Heather suggested I look at this Radio Ballet which used radios, earphones and about 500 volunteers to test the boundaries permitted and forbidden gestures.



These are 2 interesting artists: who used sound to comment on the environment.
Melissa Gray @The New School created a composition using field recording of bees as a response to colony collapse.
Katie Peterson made 3 records out of glacier ice and played them until they melted.

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Categories: Reflective Posts

Author:miranda shafer

Miranda Shafer is a freelance producer for the podcast, "How Do We Fix It?" In January 2015 She graduated with a Masters in Media Studies from The New School. She has worked for WNYC as a production assistant for Selected Shorts and as a producer for the series "Talk to Me." She likes hot media and cold weather.

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