Monday, September 14, 2009

Tender Transmissions

Tender Transmissions is an aural network produced through community participation and site-driven research. It will be broadcast on a temporary FM radio station receivable in the Tenderloin district, and available in segments via a telephone number, throughout the duration of the Wonderland Exhibition. Speakers will be set up in the Tenderloin National Forest to provide a communal listening environment and space for gatherings.

The Transmissions team came to this project with an interest in the intimate and invisible characteristics of sound, and its potential resonance at the threshold of the public and the private. We approached the neighborhood with this in mind, engaging with intimacy, desire and tenderness in a variety of artist projects, by listening to individual voices, the sounds of the neighborhood and the desires and stories of various residents, workers and students.

Tender Transmissions will broadcast discrete content punctuated by ambient sounds from the neighborhood, differentiating its style of programming from that of a conventional radio station. The transmissions will include conversations about love with seniors and young mothers, songs and poetry chosen and sung/recited by participants, abstract compositions made from recordings at major intersections and on walks, a screenplay derived from conversations with erotic dancers around desires and fantasies that inspire their performances, ambient audio recorded during blindfolded walks with a community walking service exploring issues around safety and a composition which reflects on the cinematic history of the neighborhood. All recordings were made in the Tenderloin with people who live and/or work there. The project also includes a self-reflective engagement with the position of the radio broadcast and the other public art projects within Wonderland, through interviews with curator Lance Fung and other key members of the organization. These interviews will focus on issues of movement, migration, nomadism and the visible in relation to current residents, participating artists and potential visitors.

Tender Transmissions uses the figure of the network to define the project’s form as well as the set of processes by which the artists engage with the neighborhood. We are incorporating the voices of local youth by collaborating with teachers at the Glide Foundation and De Marillac Academy, and are hoping to establish a lending library for children’s books. We are working with Bay Fitted urban attire on graphics for our radio station and phone number. By working with accessible technologies, combining radio (communal) with telephone (private) transmission and including content in multiple languages, we intend for the network to be available to most residents and visitors.

Central to Tender Transmissions is the dynamic relationship between our base of operations at the Tenderloin National Forest and the larger radius of the neighborhood. Created by artistic directors Darryl Smith and Laurie Lazer of Luggage Store Gallery, this greened oasis and community commons provides a beautiful and open listening environment and a connection to the longstanding artistic communities of the Tenderloin. We are honored to be able to inhabit the forest (in the making since 1989) after its official dedication and opening in May 2009.

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