When we think about radio waves we normally think about signals transmitted by humans. In the low frequency range of the radio spectrum we can however find 'natural' radio emissions that originate from lightning and interaction of the earth's magnetosphere with the Sun. Natural radio signals can be received with specially build antennas and receivers.
Fascinated by natural radio signals themselves and earlier works by other artists using natural radio, Edwin van der Heide and Jan Peter Sonntag became interested in staging a live 'natural radio reception' performance that focuses on the spatial nature of these radio waves that intersect the performance space. This led to the work Rund-Funk-Emfangs-Saal that premiered in 2013.
In October 2013 the Skanu Mezs Festival in Riga invited both Jan Peter Sonntag and Edwin van der Heide for a location visit to the Botanical Garden in Riga. On one of the sides of the Botanical Garden one can find the remains of a former soviet observatory. Besides this beautiful outdoor environment the botanical garden contains a huge green house full of tropical trees and plants. The combination of these two elements formed the bases for Radioforest.
Radioforest can be seen as a live natural radio observatory. Where the aim of Rund-Funk-Empfangs-Saal is the realization of a live performance, Radioforest’s aim is a live natural radio reception installation. Electromagnetic signals received by custom built antennas and receivers form the source material for a generative compositional score that tunes, selects, combines and spatializes these signals over time.
Short excerpt of the Radioforest installation. This is a binaural recording meant to be listened to on (high quality) headphones. © Edwin van der Heide & Jan-Peter Sonntag.