Swamp Radio takes a challenge to give a voice to many those unheard, and invisible. In a time when our planet is threatened by climate change, real and hybrid wars, the swamps represent contemporary oasis. These vast wetlands with their ancient ecosystems are like time-capsules. Yet swamps are also key players for serving variety of ecological services for our modern society.
Swamps contain dormant resources and myriad other species, with whom we share life on this planet. Escaping from intensive agriculture, these wetlands contain enormous biodiversity. Swamps are inhabited by numerous of plant and animal species, and various communities of living micro-organisms.
Swamp Radio gets beyond our anthropocenic reality, and maintains connections between the humans and other species. By artistic interventions and transmitting interfaces, the Swamp Radio is turned into a social media megaphone for invisible and inaudible actors of nature. The artists are installing microbial fuel cells, environmental monitoring sensors and transmitting devices to transform the swamps into dynamic power plants and the 21st century multi-voiced broadcast media.
Biotricity. Fluctuations of Micro Worlds
Artists Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits have worked for several years on exploring techno-ecological systems and inter-species communication. The Swamp Radio is based on their earlier Biotricity experiments at RIXC. Biotricity transforms the fluctuation of bacteria electricity and environmental data into responsive real-time audio-visual experiences.
Their most recent artwork Biotricity – Fluctuations of Microworlds (2017) will be shown in the ACT’s CAVS 50 anniversary program.
Swamp Radio Research in Tidmarsh and Kemeri bog
In Spring 2018 Swamp Radio will be expanding its activities in Boston area. The artists Smite and Smits together with their students at MIT ACT will be exploring the marshes and water reservoirs in Boston area, collaborating with Tidmarsh Living Observatory and making field recordings and collecting data from the marshland ecosystems. The collaborative sound interpretations will be created as a part of the Sound class - EXPANDED FIELD RADIO AND ACOUSTIC IMMERSIONS, and presented in the programme of CAVS 50th anniversary in the MIT in April 2018, and in the public program at Harvard Art Museum in May 2018 (tbc.).
In parallel the swamp research will be carried out in the bogs near Riga and Liepaja in Latvia, involving Liepaja University's new media art students who will create sound interpretations from the collected data as a part of their contributions for Swamp Radio at Venice.
Swamp Radio manifestation at Venice Architecture Biennale
Live manifestation of Swamp Radio will take place in Venice, May 21 – 27, 2018. Venice event will be involving various international sound artists, as well as the invisible actors of nature, living in the wetlands of Venice. Live transmission platform and outdoor installation will be set up in Venice in collaboration with MIT ACT and Lithuanian National Pavillion. Swamp Radio in Venice will facilitate artistic interventions, live transmission, sound art performances, field recording sessions, workshops, lectures and artist presentations. Swamp Radio also will also feature presentation and seminar hosted by ECODATA research project by FHNW, Basel, Switzerland.
Swamp Radio exhibition
In the fall 2018 the project will result in artistic installation created by Raitis Smits and Rasa for their solo show at the National Arts Museum of Latvia, from September 15 - October 28, 2018.
By using data sonification, VR and 3D visualizations, the Swamp Radio research will be turned into immersive environment that visually and acoustically reveals the swamp ecosystems.
Artists: More info about Rasa Smite & Raitis Smits
Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits are artists and researchers, who work internationally and interdisciplinary, on the edge of art, science and innovative technologies. They are co-founders of RIXC Center for New Media Culture, editors-in-chief of Acoustic Space peer-reviewed publication series, and organizers of annual RIXC Art Science festival in Riga, Latvia.
Rasa Smite holds her PhD in sociology of media and culture. She is professor in Liepaja University's New Media Art programme, researcher at University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Basel, Switzerland). This year in 2018, she also is a lecturer at MIT Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) program, Boston, USA.
Raitis Smits holds her doctoral degree from the Arts Academy of Latvia, where he also works as associate professor; he also is teaching in New Media Art programme in Liepaja. In 2017 he was Fulbright Researcher in Graduate Center of NYC (hosted by Lev Manovich), and currently in 2018 he is research affiliate and lecturer in MIT ACT (together with Rasa Smite).
In their artistic practice, Rasa and Raitis work together since the mid-1990s. Their more recent artworks: “Talk to Me, human plant communication”, and “Biotricity – Bacteria Battery” and Pond Radio, a poetics of green energy” – have been exhibited in kim? Contemporary Art Center in Riga, KUMU museum in Tallinn (2011), House of Electronic Arts in Basel (2014), Ars Electronica Center (2013-2014), Arsenals National Arts Museum in Riga (2014), National Science and Technology Museum in Stockholm (2015), Van Abbe museum for Modern and Contemporary Arts (2016), D'Days, Paris Design Festival (2016), ZKM (2017-2019), and other places.
They have been awarded with Prix Ars Electronica (1998), National Award of Excellence in Culture by Latvian Ministry of Culture(2016).
Credits: The artistic concept and data transmitting technologies, as well as visualisations and sonification patches used for Swamp Radio have been developed by artists from RIXC in collaboration with MIT ACT. The artistic research also include MPLab of Liepaja University and Ecodata research project team at FHNW, Basel, Switzerland. The research takes place in the swamps in Boston and Latvia during the spring 2018, the first prototype will be showad in April in the framework of CAVS 50th anniversary in the MIT. Sound interpretations from Boston area marshlands will be also shown in public arts programme in Harvard Art Museum in May 2018.
The live manifestation will be take place in Venice, in the end of May 22-27, 2018
As a follow up, the artistic result will be exhibited in Riga, National Arts Museum of Latvia, in September 14 - October 28, 2018.
Curators of Swamp Pavillion project, Swamp Radio workshop at Venice 2018 – Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas. Curator of Swamp Radio exhibition in Riga – Selda Pukite.
Produced by RIXC and MIT ACT, 2018
+371 67228478 (office)
+371 26546776 (Rasa Smite)