JAN-PETER E.R. SONNTAG RUNDFUNK AETERNA X
1.- 7. 2. 2019 AKADEMIE DER KÜNSTE HALLE 1&2
a radio opera for sonradiaGrid – a grid of 16 acoustic 360° radiators, two spherical horn systems, large diffraction-horn-system, transistor radio, an Audion radio circuit, antennas and recievers for ELFwaves, plasma light and instrumental soloists in two halls
RUNDFUNK AETHERNA X is Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntags sinfonic spatial re-composition of his radio opera comissioned by and broadcasted worldwide for documenta14. The audience now is invited over 7 days to walk through a multi-dimensional listening space. In the 1930s, radio pioneer Rudolf Arnheim saw radio as the future medium of a disembodied sound art. For Sonntag, sound art is above all a spatial art that addresses the body. In this opera Sonntag traces the artistic and political visions of the first new (mass) medium Radio starting from Arnheim, Benjamin, Brecht on later Stockhausen, Cage, Heidegger and Kittler. He argues that on the one hand the technical prerequisites of radio have the same roots as the dissection of sound in the new and experimental music and on the other the institution of broadcasters in Europe made the post-war avant-gardes technically and financially possible. The radio apparatus and radio studio became part of the compositions. It is also the first presentation of the sonradiaGrid consisting of N-solab’s newly developed acoustic omnidirectional radiators.
Radio Studio / recording team: Recording soloists: Sam Ashley, voice; Axel Dörner, trumpet; Lars Gühlcke, sonDdouble bass; Robin Hayward, tuba; Theo Nabicht, double bass clarinet; Oliver H.J. Sonntag. drums; Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag, Transistor Radio and Audion Feedback Radio System; Tim Tetzner, tape recorder; Michael Vorfeld, drums and DIY string instruments, Biliana Voutchkova, violin; libretto, composition and postproduction: Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag; dialogue director: Ulrike Klein; recording: Alexander Brennecke; production manager: Lars Gühlcke; production assistance: Anton von Heiseler
Installation team: sonradiaGrid development & production: N-solab; concept & design: Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag; circuit design: Jens Bakenhus; metal construction: Eike Döring: production manager: Lars Gühlcke; assistant: Maximilian Rummel; video documentation: Anton von Heiseler
A production by N-solab, supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, world premiere of the radio opera installation at the Akademie der Künste, in a media partnership with the transmediale and the ctm 2019. The composition, which is first published here, was commissioned by documenta 14, 2017. The studio production of the composition, whose almost 100 tracks in the 2 halls become spacial for the first time, was supported by Deutschlandfunk Kultur.
Fri 1.2. 2019, 7 pm, AdK, Hanseatenweg, Halle 1 & 2
Opening of radio opera Installation with live instrumental soloists: Lars Gühlcke, sonDdouble bass; Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag, Audion feedback radiosystem & transistorradio & Michael Vorfeld, bowed cymbals & DIY string instruments
Sat 2. 2. 2019, 6 pm, AdK, Hanseatenweg, Halle 1
Künstlergespräch über Oper, Immersion & Radio-Utopien mit Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag, Wolfgang Hagen & Hubertus von Amelunxen. Moderation Detlev Schneider
Mi 6. 2. 219, 7 pm AdK, Hanseatenweg, Halle 1 & 2
radio opera Installation with live instrumental soloists: Lars Gühlcke, sonDdouble bass; Theo Nabicht, double bass clarinet; Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag, Audion feedback radio system & transistorradio & Michael Vorfeld, bowed cymbals & DIY string instruments
RUNDFUNK AETERNA X – a radio opera / Installation
Fri – Sat 11 am – 10 pm, Sun – Thur 11 am – 7 pm. On occassion of transmediale 2019
Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag (*1965) is an artist, composer, researcher and performer. He studied fine arts, art history, music theory, composition, philosophy and cognitive science. He was a fellow of the Akademie Schloss Solitude and the Villa Aurora and received several grants or prizes among others the German Sound Art Prize, the Cynet Art Award, the emare-Mexiko-Grant.
His mostly spatial works are shown and perfomed worldwide like: V2 & duende, Rotterdam; NIMK, Amsterdam; Making Waves Festival, San Francisco; Apex Art & The Kitchen, New York; Fundcion Arte Y Technologia, Madrid; Centre Cultura Contemportnia & METRONOM, Barcelona; Nacional Gallery, Poznan; sonambiente, transmediale, tesla, SAVVY, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, Akademie der Künste, Tieranatomisches Theater, Berlin; Mediabiennale, Seoul Museum of Art, & Aram Art Gallery, Seoul; Laboral Centro de Arte y Creatión Industrial, Gijon; Center for Contemporary Art, Torun; MKG, kampnagel, Galerie der Gegenwart & Kunstverein, Hamburg; Museum Centro Calego de Arte Contemporénea, zkm,Karlsruhe; Santiago de Compostela; ars electronica, Linz; Biennale D-0 ARK / Titos Bunker, Konijc; CYBERFEST, Hermitage, St.Petersburg; HMKV, Dortmund; WKV & Staatsgallery, Stuttgart, Manif de Art, Quebec; China Science & Technology Museum, Beijing; Elektra, Montreal; Tent, London.
He has done more then one-hundred sitespecific installations, has written and provided four chamber-operas and hundreds of performances. Since 2013 together with Sebastian Döring he has been the publisher of the circutry notations for Friedrich Kittler Gesammelte Schriften.
2015 he was invited for his midcareer retrospective Rauschen at the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart. 2017 – RUNDFUNK AETHERNA a radio opera was commissioned by the documenta 14. 2019 the installation version will be shown in the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and the stage version in the summer at the Theater Freiburg.
Sendezeit:1. Februar 2019, 23:39 Uhr
Länge:6:40 min Minuten
RUNDFUNK AETERNA X
11 seconds of fountain noise at the river Thames next Albert Bridge in London
11 seconds of wind noise at a lake in a forrest one hour away from Berlin
11 secomds of the noise of calm rain in Travemünde
11 seconds a military march in Rome
11 seconds of a boxing match in New York
11 seconds of street noise in Milan
You heard some seconds ago a
“drama of distance” – Marinetti called his “sintesi radiofoniva”
You are listening to RUNDFUNK AETERNA
a radio opera comissioned by documenta 14 radio
what is radio?
an effect of distance?
since the maker Marconi we know how to build an apparatus to dive through
the ocean of so called “Herzian waves”
and since Marinetti we have a manifesto for radio
“La Radia” published in 1933
„radia“ should be
1. Freedom from all point of contact with literary and artistic tradition. Any attempt
to link la radia with tradition is grotesque. A new art that begins where
theater cinema and narrative end
3. The immensification of space. No longer visible and framable the stage becomes
universal and cosmic
4. The reception amplification and transfiguration of vibrations emitted by living
beings living or dead spirits dramas of wordless noise-states
5. The reception amplification and transfigurahon of vibrations emitted by matter.
Just as today we listen to the song of the forest and the sea so tomorrow
shall we be seduced by the vibrations of a diamond or a flower
6. A pure organism of radio sensations
7. An art without time or space without yesterday or tomorrow. The possibility
of receiving broadcast stations situated in various time zones and the lack of
light will destroy the hours of the day and night. The reception and amplification
of the light and the voices of the past with thermoionic valves will destroy
8. The synthesis of infinite simultaneous actions
9. Human universal and cosmic art as voice with a true psychology-spirituality
of the sounds of the voice and of silence
10. The characteristic life of every noise and the infinite variety of concrete/abstract
and real/dreamt through the agency of a people of noises
11. Struggles of noises and of various distances that is spatial drama joined
with temporal drama
12. Words in freedom. The word has gradually developed into a collaborator
of mime and gesture. The word must be recharged with all its power hence an
essential and totalitarian word which in Futurist theory is called word-atmosphere.
Words in freedom children of the aesthetics of machines contain an
orchestra of noises and noise-chords (realistic and abstract) which alone can
aid the colored and plastic word in the lightning-fast representation of what is
not seen. If he does not wish to resort to words in freedom the radiast must
express himself in that freeword style which is already widespread in avantgarde
novels and newspapers that typically swift quick synthetic simultaneous
13. Isolated word repetitions of verbs in the infinitive
14. Essential art
15. Gastronomic amorous gymnastic etc. music
16. The utilization of noises sounds chords harmonies musical or noise simultaneities
of silence all with their graduations of appaggiatura crescendo
and decrescendo which will become strange brushes for painting delimiting
and coloring the infinite darkness of la radia by giving squareness roundness
spheric in short
17. The utilization of interference between stations and of the birth and evanescence
of the sounds
18. The delimitation and geometric construction of silence
19. The utilization of the various resonances of voice or sound in order to give
a sense of the size of the place in which the voice is uttered._The characterization
as the silent as semisilent atmosphere that surrounds and colors a given
voice sound or noise
20. The elimination of the concept or the illusion of an audience which has
always had ((even for books)) a deforming and damaging influence.
1933 – in the same year of Marinettis radio Manifesto, Rudolf Arnheim, a
young man of 29 and one of the publishers of the most important left liberal
journal in the weimar republic „Die Weltbühne“ wrote his book „Rundfunk als
Hörkunst“ which was published first 1936 by Faber & Faber in London with the
simplified titel „RADIO“. In his introduction to the book he discibed a situation
when he was sitting by the harbour of a south Italian fishing-village listening
to an hour of German folk-songs out of the loudspeaker of a radio from a café
„In German, from London, in a little Italian place where strangers are almost
This is the great miracle of wireless. Broadcasting has constituted a new experience
for the artist, his audience and the theoretician: for the
first time it makes use of the aural only“
His Essay „starts from an analysis of the conditions of the material, that is
to say, the special characteristics of the sensations which the art in question
makes use of are described by the methods of psychology, and from these
characteristics the expressive potentialities of the art are deduced.“
„there are timeless visual arts, painting and sculpture“
„the concept of a timeless representation of sound is meaningless. Extension
in time is a characteristic of the audible“
„when we say ‘I smell a flower ‘, we use a simplified verbal symbol for ‘I smell
the smell of a flower’, and ‘I hear the violin’ means ‘I hear the sound of a violin’;
yet, on the other hand, by ‘I see the tree’ is meant not ‘I see the image of a
tree’, but quite literally ‘a tree ‘. We really believe we see ‘the tree itself’- a notion
that becomes quite senseless and unintelligible if we begin to think about
Three years later Martin Heidegger wrote in „the Orgin of the Work of Art“
trom an onthological perspective: „We never really first perceive a throng of
sensation, e.g., tones and noises, in the appearance of things – a this thingconcept
alleges; rather we hear the storm wistling in the chimney, we hear the
tree-motored plane (…) Much closer to us than all the sensations are the things
themselves. We hear the door shut in the house and never hear acoustical sensations
or even mere sounds. In order to hear a bare sound we have to listen
away from things, divert our ear from them, i.e., listen abstractly.“
Heidegger creates – Friedrich Kittlers summerised in his words – out of that,
what had been before his philosphy a more or less theoretical dualism between
mind and nature a bloody drama. The entirety of culture ends on the
shoulder of the existance of all of us while the entirety of nature ends in scientific
The parametric analysis or autopsy of our organs of perceptions and their perceptions
like the analysis of all substances and the mathematical intersection
of all produced the technology of the radio and in same way the twelf-tonemusic
and its progession up microtonality, sinus waves, grans and white noise.
But what happens, when noise becomes the signal?
noise is nothing abstract for a physic or an electronic musician.
what do You hear?
the sound of the violin
the sound of the contra bass clarinette, tuba, trumpet, double bass, percussion,
drumset, voice and transistor radio diving to short waves at night recorded
in radio studio in Berlin
the sound of Your radio, Your electromagnetic driven loud-speaker, Your headphones
the electronic circuits of the medial system
the compression of the medial format
do You like the melody of this words?
do You like my voice?
do You believe this voice is human?
what is radio?
waves, which we can not hear
rays we cannot see
since the physic Heinrich Hertz we have the evidence for Maxwells theory
the existance of distant effects triggered by the magic fluidum named after a
in the language of ancient Greece
what is radio
“It was a colossal triumph of technology at last to be able to make accessible
to the entire world a
Viennese waltz and a kitchen recipe. An ambush, so to speak.
A phenomenon of the century, but to what end?”, Berthold Brechts once wrote
1929 Brecht together with the composerts Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weill wrote
a first radio opera for the Baden-Baden
Music Week “The Flight of the Lindberghs”
Brechts phantasma was “The Radio as a Communications Apparatus”
This Radio Opera was a model for his idea of Communication: “Here the pedagogical
role that the ‘listener’ assumes is both that of the airplane crew and of
the crowd. It communicates with the role of the trained chorus provided by the
radio, of the clowns, of the announcer.”
“Epic drama, with its episodic nature, its separation of the elements, that is,
its separation of the image from the word and the words from the music, but
especially its instructional attitude”
– radio as a mass- and medium of participation with the pedagogical role to
modulate a new society
„Yes, wireless is a fine thing; but still the greatest pleasure it gives is switching
it off“ John Cage wrote in 1931 to Alban Berg in an letter and in his Imaginary
landscape Nr. 4 in 1955 he used the radio apparatus the first time as live-instrument
– ‘Golden Throat’ radios from RCA Victor –
tube radios for his first performance
radio – the receiver became a music instrument
Cage used just the range in between 55 to 156 kHz
In the USA in that days different to euroge in that range had been only services
like weather forcasts. No commercial
how do we interpret the original wavelengths?
And in another country
In another time
Belfor Steward observed this geomagnetic storm in the Kew Observatory
magnetometer. On August 29, southern auroras were observed as far north as
Queensland Australia and on Saturday 3 the Baltimore and American Advertiser
“The light was greater than that of the moon at its full, but had an indescribable
softness and delicacy that seemed to envelop everything upon which it
rested. Between 12 and 1 o’clock, when the display was at its full brilliancy, the
quiet streets of the city resting under this strange light, presented a beautiful
as well as singular appearance.”
For the first time in 1989 a red big flash of three milliseconds had been observed
from the Space-Shuttle STS-34.
Dr. Davis Sentman from the University of Alasca named this atmospherical
plasma seen by a low-light-level TV camera: Sprite.
Sprites are the same like nothern lights but much faster
“The sky is great dome of hard material arched over the earth. There is a hole
in it through which the spirits pass to the true heavens. Only the spirits of those
who have died a voluntary or violent death, and the raven, have been over the
pathway. The spirits who live light torches to guide of the new arrivals. This is
the light of the aurora. They can be seen there feasting and playing football
with a walrus skull.
The whistling crackling noise which sometimes accompanies the aurora is the
voices of these spirits trying to communicate with the people on the earth.
They should always be answered in a whispering voice.” E. W. Hawkes wrote
in No 14, Anthropological Series
Of the Canada Department Of Mines Geological Survey, Memoir 91
„The Labrador Eskimo“, Ottawa 1916
That inuits can hear the aurora borealis was also mentioned by Alexander von
Humboldt in the 18th century. And he had been the first one who had mentioned
a relation between the nothern lights and the magnetic field.
Light can be described as an electromagnetic wave. The extrem long frequncy
radio figures transformed and pitched into sonic waves are called sferics:
whistlers and cracklers.
Sferics are natural radio signals from the ionosphere, from solar storms
With long antennas and special receivers we can hear the radio sounds of the
the spirits communicating with the inuits.
During the solar storm from 1859 the wires of the new medium „electric telegraphy“
functioned as a wave catcher Marconi would call later „antenna“.
The crackling noise on the ticker in the telegraphy offices of the newspapers
had been radio messages from the sun before radio was invented or in another
narration: the voices of spirits 59 years before for the first time human voices
and music from grammophones were broadcasted on wireless telegraphy
channels between the trenches at the westfront in word war one
– technical experiments to check the possibilities of wireless telephony with
the new small systems based on tubes and audion circuits
Please participate in my radio work
become a maker like all early amateur radio pioneers 100 years ago
twist 1000m of isolated copper cable in a circle of round 1m diameter
connect one end to germanium diode the other to the ground
connected a pieco ceramic inearphone parallel to the diode
when You hear a crackling sound or tiny noise, cement the circuit and bury it at
a safe and secret place
maybe in a time when all batteries are empty and no powerplants are working
anymore this simple circuit can produce the audible evidence, that man once
had developed tools for access to what he called radio
Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag (2017)
Verantwortlich für den Inhalt:
Friedenstr. 16 , 10249 Berlin
Tel: +49 151 15235416