[ISEA94] Curators Statement: Iiro Auterinen, Elukka Eskelinen, Tommi Grönlund, Matti Knaapi & Petteri Nisunen – Ambient City Radio

Curators Statement

Soundscapes on the air

Ambient City is an experimental radio project, a narrowcast 24-hour station for Helsinki with commissioned pieces from Muslim Gauze to Pete Namlook and Ambient classics from Brian Eno to Iannis Xenakis.

Ambient music is a most fruitful crossing between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Ambientlike sound structures have been brought out in contemporary music since the 1950. Ambient is music in space and as space, “intelligent background music”. Static and meditative, it is music for the soul. The AMBIENT CITY project is divided into three-week transmission periods, the second of which (August 20-September 12). coincides with ISEA94. The radio station is situated in the Museum of Contemporary Art. The AMBIENT CITY sign, a 33000 watt ‘lamp’ glows on the outside: a lightgrid with a transmitter antenna in the middle, directed out to the ether. The visually effective lightpiece works as an AMBIENT CITY symbol as well as an outdoor advertisement. The station functions through computerized IBM equipment; each three week period is preprogrammed into the software. The exhibition hall also has a computer monitor with text and picture information concerning the music. The room is filled with soundscapes from the radio and the glow of the Iightsculpture. AMIBENT CITY combines music, environmental and visual art. AMBIENT CITY is the first internationally significant radio experiment in Finland. The audience is Helsinki and its surroundings, though the project does not end at its reception areas. Ambient musicians are a group of talents keeping closely in touch with each other and communicating through the latest electronic media. Their ideas and projects spread immediately through networks all over the world.                                              Thanks to Tommi Grönlund of Sähkö (=electric) Recordings, AMBIENT CITY can present the most important Ambient music makers. The programme features large amount of commissioned pieces and special versions from all over the world (Atom Heart, Christian Vogel, Fred Gianelli,
Muslim Gauze, Patrick Pulsinger, Pete Nam look, POL, Mixmaster Morris, Mouse on Mars), from Finland (RinneRadio, SIN O, Jimi Tenor) and Ambient ‘classics’ (Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Klaus Schultze, John Cage, etc.)

AMBIENT CITY project team:

  • Urban Research / liro Auterinen, ideas
  • Matti Knaapi, Petteri Nisunen, stationsculpture
  • Sähkö Recordings/ Tommi Grönlund, program coordinator
  • PopZoo Productions/Elukka Eskelinen, program director
  • Radio City, parallel station realisation Museum of Contemporary Art/Asko Mäkelä