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Media beyond The Media

Andrea Baker

Andrea Baker is completing post graduate research into Net Radio audiences at Monash University, where she is also a lecturer in journalism.

When Marshall McLuhan outlined his thesis about the global village in 1967, the web didn't exist. However, the web and qnoors (queer non object orientated radio signal) brings his vision to fruition. qnoors is a live digital media networked installation, from co-net radio operators Jason Sweeney and Jaye Hayes.

From a makeshift mobile media bunker of broken cardboard boxes and flashing fairy lights, Sweeney (net name Dubhustler) sat with a minidisc recorder, computer and modem. With these he SMS'd, blogged and online chatted to his co-qnoors creator and net mate Jaye Hayes (net name Subliminal) who was in a boot lab in Berlin. Nearby were 2 transmission sites with real time video streams from Jaye's venture in Berlin.

At qnoors' internet relay chat room geography, time and space becomes meaningless and qnoors becomes a global village square. Dubhustler and Subliminal describe themselves as "net radio out-casters", queer operators with an outlaw attitude, secret audio agents with hidden agendas. Their mission: to generate queer post-consumer noise, mis-communicating dissent and recycling it into 'noo media.'

Sweeney and Hayes's project was initiated during a 6 week residency in 2000 at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, Canada. At Banff they used the tools of Radio 90, a terrestrial pirate radio station that also streamed online 24 hours a day.

Sweeney and Hayes befriended Virtual Artists and "radioqualia, server-based companies from Adelaide and New Zealand. These companies provide access, advice and space for digital media artists. As a writer, musician, sound artist, broadcaster and radio trainer, Jason Sweeney worked for 15 years in community radio and on the band circuit, witnessing the transition from analogue to digital radio, from the terrestrial (traditional radio) to the extra-terrestrial (net radio) and the development of the world wide web in the mid-1990s. Hayes had a background in performance and noise making before she left queer spectacle behind in search of a queering of process. While re-training in contemporary dance, she found her footing in the realm of networked media, where she was inspired by the creative and political energy of online communities operating outside the institutions and expectations of the arts industry.

I ventured into qnoors chat room to interview 'dub' or 'dubhustler' and, 'sub' or 'subliminal', about their fuse with this cool, interactive, non linearity, hypertext paradigm.

Andrea9671: hi to both if u, 1st would like to start with how you both define Sovereign Media and is qnoors a prime example of that?

sub: we are not an example of anything

sub: we are good for nothing

Andrea9671: what do you mean?

sub: we are noo media

dub: there is a definite alignment with what was being talked about in the area of sovereign media - we certainly don't have a defined audience when we transmit.

Sweeney subsequently described the Sovereign Media phenomenon as "related to people who are in their bedrooms with all this equipment...sending out these signals and these ideas by the web...[they're]...not really there to be part of some big market force...but to use the tools to communicate to their friends." In his article "Media Without an Audience" (2000), Eric Kluitenberg defines it as a mediated environment of digital networks forming a complex phenomena of social interaction. Sovereign Media produces signals with an origin, sender and author, but no designated receiver. Kluitenberg writes, "Sovereign Media are the cream of the missionary work performed in the media galaxy. They have cut all surviving imaginary ties with truth, reality and representation. They no longer concentrate on the wishes of a specific target group as the 'inside' media still do. They have emancipated themselves from any potential audience...Sovereign Media insulate themselves against the hyper culture. They seek no connection, they disconnect." Now the qnoors exhibit made some sense.

Andrea9671: at the ACMI installation, how many SMS's, did u get?

dub: about 150 or so over the 7 days

Andrea9671: ok, how successful was the installation work you both produced for ACMI, what did u both get out of it?

dub: it was a resounding failure on all accounts

dub: failure has become our greatest success. discovering the various ways things can fall apart. technology stutters, doesn't work, it fails more often than we do.


qnoors, Jason Sweeney, Jaye Hayes, 2004: Australian Culture Now, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, June 7-13; http://fluidtransmissions.va.com.au [expired]

Andrea Baker is completing post graduate research into Net Radio audiences at Monash University, where she is also a lecturer in journalism.

RealTime issue #62 Aug-Sept 2004 pg. Onl

© Andrea Baker; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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