iPlayer Radio What's New?

Open Air – a collaboration with Artangel

Friday 22 March 2013, 17:38

Russell Finch Russell Finch Producer

Tagged with:

Editor's note: Open Air is a series of audio artworks by five artists, and their broadcast marks the launch of Open – a collaboration between Artangel and BBC Radio 4. Russell Finch, co-producer, explains more about these unique commissions. Hear them at 9.02 each morning this week

Christian Marclay Christian Marclay “The pictures are better on radio.” In my line of work, I hear that phrase a lot. Strangely though it always seems to come from a radio person. For some reason you don’t get many artists or film makers saying it.

Which is where the new series Open Air comes in. Beginning on Monday, Open Air consists of five playful and surprising audio interventions, stripped across the week at 9.02am after the Today programme. The idea behind the project was to select five leading artists – Christian Marclay, Ruth Ewan, Mark Wallinger, Susan Hiller and Peter Strickland – and to give them a blank canvas of three minutes of Radio 4 airtime. Their challenge was to decide what to do with it.

Ruth Ewan Ruth Ewan

We hear a lot about arts and culture on Radio 4 – programmes like Front Row, The Film Programme and Open Book, as well as the rich output of drama, readings and poetry – but what we want to do with Open Air is to showcase contemporary art on the network by bringing it to listeners at this key point in the morning schedule. It’s clear contemporary art is one of the most creative energies in our culture. We just need to look to art colleges or independent cinema to see how art has cross-fertilised with other disciplines like music, fashion or film. Open Air goes some way to getting that rich creativity onto radio.

It’s all part of Radio 4’s wider collaboration with the arts commissioning body Artangel. Open Air is just the first part of Open, an ambitious joint initiative to commission ground-breaking art projects that will transform the UK's cultural landscape. The transmission of Open Air marks one month until the deadline for artists to submit ideas for Open – 29th April.

For me and my co-producer Joby Waldman, it has been almost surreal to see how this idea has evolved into five pieces of art, which will, we hope, provide a unique and inspiring experience for Radio 4 listeners. An omnibus programme on Saturday 30th will give listeners a glimpse into the creative process behind each of the pieces, with specially recorded interviews with the artists.

What do the pieces sound like? Well, I’m afraid everyone will have to wait until next week to find out – after all, in the art world, a premiere is a premiere. It will be a first for us all – the unveiling of five new works of art, made especially for Radio 4, each morning at 0902. 

Russell Finch is co-producer and head of features at production company Somethin' Else.

Listen to the Open Air programmes

Follow Radio 4 on Twitter and Facebook

More about the Open campaign

More about Open Air 

Follow on Twitter using #R4OpenAir 

 

Tagged with:

Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1.

    First minute - interesting. Second minute - annoying. Third minute switched off.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 2.

    What a way to start the week. It hurt my ears, it made me feel I had vertigo. I shall avoid this time slot for the rest of the week

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 3.

    Art should be stimulating and make you want to know more -this mornings input was just noise. I thought it was another glitch at the new BBC studios, sad to find out you actually commissioned it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 4.

    It isn't 'groundbreaking' - and it's a shocking waste of money...

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 5.

    I think this is a good idea in theory and wish I could say something positive about it but it just didn't work this morning - sounded like one of those technical glitches that sometimes happen on the Today programme. I eventually worked out it was an intentional intervention because of the already overplayed extract of Charlotte Green. Maybe you need to publicise it a bit more and try to make sure what you commission really is groundbreaking.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 6.

    I found myself shouting at the radio to stop. Painful to listen to and not my idea of art.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 7.

    An dire, and horrendous flop on all levels. It really should not be repeated, but of-course it will. And it will be celebrated by hard-pressed execs as a success because it "generated controversy", which is, in the cosy, disconnnected bubble of BBC meeting rooms and moodboards, a signifier of great success, especially if you're scrabbling at the bottom of the barrel of a very capacious barrel.

    First, if you're so proud of it, why was it not announced? Why was it not put in context. Why did it need the element of surprise to work? Was it not good enough to stand on its own feet? How or why would it have been diminished by simply telling people what it was? Good art should be able to withstand contextualisation. It's the cheapest trick in the book simply to dump it on people unannounced.
    Second, the quality: It was so obviously a mashup that anyone could have knocked together on a rainy Sunday afternoon, with a second-hand laptop, access to the radio archive, and any old freeware audio software. It lacked imagination, flair, insight, timing, rhythm, all those things which make stuff worth listening too, and which Radio producers and "artists" are meant to have built in to their DNA,

    This was easily the worst thing I've ever heard on Radio 4, and probably on Radio full stop.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 8.

    I enjoyed it. I didn't think it was great Art (whatever that means) but it was amusing, nicely put together and clearly judging from the comments above, a wee bit provocative. I look forward to hearing the rest of the week's output. I suspect this represents quite a small amount of money in BBC terms, so to term it 'a shocking waste' seems like a bit of an exaggeration in the great scheme of things.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 9.

    That was fun :) Although I can't help feeling it would be better if it was on earlier for people to catch when they're maybe a bit less awake than they are at just gone 9...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 10.

    If you go to an art gallery like Tate Modern you know that is what you have signed up to see and so can put any mindless pieces of rubbish like this safely in to context. But BBC Radio Four's utterly irresponsible Controller did not require a warning to be given to listeners this was a work of art or even have it explained once the excruciating 3 minutes was over.

    The net result is that this was actively dangerous to anyone suffering from a serious mental condition like Schizophrenia alone at home and listening to Radio 4 as their only friend. This is because due to the mindless cacophony of repeating voices that made up the so called artwork it could sound exactly like the onset of an episode of hearing voices to someone with a previous history of suffering from this kind of condition.

    I would recommend anyone else who feels as strongly as me on this issue to lodge complaints with both www.bbc.co.uk/complaints and http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/tv-and-radio/

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 11.

    "For me and my co-producer Joby Waldman, it has been almost surreal to see how this idea has evolved into five pieces of art, which will, we hope, provide a unique and inspiring experience for Radio 4 listeners".

    "Almost surreal" doesn't cover it. If only it were, then it would have been an improvement on the lazy, pointless exercise that, judging by the previous comments, clearly irritated the listeners. Anyone with sound edit software could have knocked this up in minutes. How many people are involved in this? How much money is being spent? Who deemed the chosen artists worthy enough to work in sound? I'm not against the idea of audio as art, or the practice of 'intervention' but this is a misfire. I won't be listening.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 12.

    Utterly awful. I changed radio stations.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 13.

    This series has been very actively trailed on Radio 4 over the last week or so (so much that I was getting a bit sick of it). It shouldn't be a surprise to regular listeners, Capvermell , I think the likelihood of anyone suffering in the way you described is very, very unlikely to say the least. MayMilesThomas, I have heard of four of the five artists involved and all of them have worked in sound before, so it wasn't the BBC 'deeming them worthy', as you put it. I'm amazed at the tone of some of these comments. I hope you all get as angry about things that are REALLY important.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    Peter - the majority of comments here are negative for good reason. The audience don't like what they are hearing. It's not a case of getting angry - art isn't THAT important and bad art even less so.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    Christian Marclay is amazing! 'The Clock' and 'Telephones' are groundbreaking. I loved this mornings piece, it had a real force of the 'uncanny'. Great sound art! Artangel are wonderful, ' room for london' is also excellent! I can't wait for tomorrow... thank you very much for this!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    Ann
    I very much enjoyed the broadcast. It was playful and actually I thought cleverly textured. I would say it was a good one to launch the collaboration and I look forward to the rest of the week's offerings..A

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    It was a masterful intervention - an interruption of normality which made me do an aural 'double-take'. Art is often at its best when we are not quite sure what we are confronted with and become unsure of the boundaries of what is expected. Pre-advertising it would have missed the point.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 18.

    Pretentious rubbish. The Emperor's new clothes.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 19.

    Why did the man from the BBC just now say that these were artists who DON'T work with sound ?
    Christian Marclay is one of the most famous SOUND ARTISTS in the world ?
    Much of his work also involves other media but .................I quite liked it, but not his best work and a tad predictable BUT given that Radio in other parts of the world has done this for years it was good to hear

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

    I turned this on in the car. Decided it was a fault and when it didn't stop found it distracting so I turned the radio off. Only found it was deliberate this morning. Sorry, I found no beauty in this art and it was completely lost on me.

 

Page 1 of 4

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
In Our Time: Alfred Russel Wallace

Friday 22 March 2013, 17:37

Next
Noise: A Human History - Week 2

Monday 25 March 2013, 12:50

About this Blog

Behind the scenes at Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra from producers, presenters and programme makers.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

Follow Radio 4

Follow BBC Radio 4 & BBC Radio 4 Extra on Twitter for programme highlights and interesting retweets. 

Woman's Hour Power List 2014

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.
See the latest on our blog
Find out about this year's panel and theme
Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014 Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014

 

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.

 

See the latest on our blog

 

Find out about this year's panel and theme