On 17 January, Kunstradio - in a network with other radio art platforms, artists, museums, cultural organizations and radio stations worldwide - celebrated Art's Birthday. This is a celebration of art that was initiated by the French Fluxus artist Robert Filliou. In 1963, he claimed that art was one million years old on January 17 of that year.
On Art's Birthday, art is produced, presented and exchanged in an international network all over the world. One artist who has been taking part for years is Ward Weis alias Planktone, alias Planktone, from Antwerp. In reference to a photo portrait of Robert Filliou with a party hat folded from newspaper, Ward Weis provides instructions for making a hat, inviting us to send him photos of it. And this year he fed the network with two pieces. One was a piano interpretation of Robert Filliou's "Whispered Art History", the other a composition generated online from sky images in homage to John Cage, whose voice can be heard right at the beginning, answering the question of whether he believes that our Earth is unique. "I would be amazed", said Cage, and this is the title of Planktone’s composition. Software programmed by Ward Weis analyzes what can be seen in the sky and converts it into music - on 17 January, this piece was broadcast live on the channels of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) as part of the Art's Birthday exchange of the radio art group Ars Acustica.
Another platform of the network is the artsbirthday.net. Here you could follow what was happening where around January 17, listen to streams and mix them yourself using the mesh function. A stream that went on for hours came from the Regensburg media art group Pomodoro Bolzano from the TokyoLab Studio: "The broadcast is the message", in reference to Marshall McLuhan's "The medium is the message".
Bern's cultural radio station RaBe also took part again this year, using the phrase "Art is what makes life more interesting than art". This is a quote from Robert Filliou, the inventor of Art's Birthday, who modified a guiding principle of the Dada movement in the 60s and 70s: “Art is more interesting than life”. In Bern, Art undergoes a fitness check; while in Graz the ESC mediekunstlabor celebrated with "Resonating Sculptures" by Reni Hofmüller.
In Vienna, the Palais Rössl is currently being founded and established - according to its own definition, a cross-generational and polydisciplinary liaison of artists, designers and cultural workers who are setting up their headquarters in Rienößlgasse in Vienna’s district of Wieden. As a birthday present to art, the Palais Rössl has contributed a soundscape about the necessity of independent places of creation in a largely privatized city: "The Mycorrhiza Mix" by Maria Herold, Maria Hruschka, Anto Manhartsberger, Lale Rodgarkia-Dara, Nicole Sabella, Karl Schönswetter, Daniel Sea and Georgios Tsampounaris.
A few U4 stops further on, in the Echoraum in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, Ö1 Kunstradio celebrated together with Der Blöde Dritte Mittwoch (Stupid Third Wednesday). Run by artists Anat Stainberg and Noid, the event series Blöder Dritter Mittwoch hosts concerts, performances, media art presentations and other experimental art events on the third Wednesday of the month - which happened to coincide with Art's Birthday this year. On January 17 2024, there were performances by Elisabeth Flunger & Inge Kaindlstorfer, Frans Poelstra (for Jennifer Walshe's collective network project "Text Score Database"), Golden Diskó Ship, as well as Martin Siewert & Reinhold Friedel."Lichtung" is the title of the new CD by Martin Siewert (electric guitar, electronics) and Reinhold Friedel (piano), which has just been released by Karlrecords and was presented as an improvisation concert.
© Arnold Haberl
Kunstradio has long been an engine that keeps the Art's Birthday network running and celebrating. In the course of the Ö1 program reform, which will come into force in February 2024, Kunstradio will be transformed. It will no longer be called Kunstradio, and it will have a different broadcasting slot. To paraphrase Robert Filliou's sentence "He's dead, but art is alive" from his Whispered Art History: Kunstradio will soon be no more, but art is alive.