In 2023, the Wave Farm Residency Program will emphasize “feral frequencies,” prioritizing proposals that employ and/or activate less commonly used frequencies within the radio spectrum and the electromagnetic spectrum at large. Applicants are invited to propose visual and sonic projects that fall within the Transmission Arts genre. Projects that prioritize frequencies other than FM and AM allocations will be most competitive. New in 2023, a team of consulting artist engineers will participate in the application review process both for evaluation of feasibility, as well as to identify areas where tool development will assist the proposed projects and inform a growing inventory of resources for future transmission artists.
A sub-genre of the media arts, transmission art is defined as works where the electromagnetic spectrum is an intentional actor (either formally or conceptually) in the work. The electromagnetic spectrum is vast including seven primary types of waves: Radio Waves, Microwaves, Infrared Waves, Visible Light Rays, Ultraviolet Waves, X-rays, and Gamma Rays. Naturally occurring radio waves are emitted by lightning and astronomical objects. Radio-related projects, either conventional radio art works (audio made explicitly for radio broadcast) or do-it-yourself radio-based installation and performance where artists might build their own transmission and receiving devices are common manifestations of transmission art in action. Another common trajectory of the genre is making the ethereal tangible, for example works that demonstrate a physical delineation of space through sonic or visual representation: the architecture of transmission and reception.
Transmission art encompasses works in which the act of transmitting or receiving is not only significant, but the fulcrum for the artist’s intention. The genre involves a multiplicity of practices that often engage aural and visual broadcast media, where in some instances works for traditional broadcast are created, and at other times artists harness preexisting broadcast signals as source material manipulated in live performance; installation; and public interactive networks and tools. Similarly interested in the synaesthetic possibilities of radio, much of contemporary transmission art values interplay with waves, informed by historical and emergent wireless technologies. These works often challenge a conventional one-to-many definition of transmitter (or artist) and receiver (or audience) in ways that celebrate Brechtian aspirations for more multi-nodal wireless interactions.