At first glance, radio may seem to be an example of dated technology, overturned by other, more contemporary media. However, the beginning of the 21st century brought an upsurge of radio-related artworks alongside an increased theoretical interest around the broader topic of sound in culture – in response to W. J. T Mitchell’s ‘pictorial turn,’ the ‘sonic turn’ was introduced in 2004 by Jim Drobnick. In this article, I specifically focus on radio as a tool used in visual arts on the example of works by artistic/curatorial collective Radio Earth Hold, observed through the lens of ‘transmission arts’ – a term coined at the end of the 1990s, which recognizes the issue of transmission as political at its core. REH’s works render apparent the potential of the radio voice to become authoritarian as well as to create an intimate experience of listening. By building upon the idea of ‘sonic solidarity’ REH touches upon political topics in a way that can profoundly challenge our thinking and encourage us to reexamine not only the role of radio but also the transmission and communication in or via art – which perhaps could be understood as a way towards the possible sonic turn.
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