TEXTS, PRESS & BIO
radio continental drift is produced by claudia wegener.
claudia wegener/ radio continental drift will welcome requests for talks, workshops, project facilitation or consultancy.
contact: long_walk_abridged [at] yahoo.co.uk
profile on linkedin
Claudia Wegener (a.k.a. radio continental drift) had a scholarly and intellectual formation in German and British art schools; and has been involved in teaching as freelance lecturer since 1996. Returning from an artist residency in Johannesburg (Jozi) in 2006, she focused her entire practice on acoustic productions and audio media projects, including skills training through participatory radio projects, like STREET WRITINGS for vulnerably housed people in London’s East End (2006), ambitious collective audio media projects like the NO-GO-ZONES project with black youth in South London (2007/08) and DURBAN SINGS audio media & oral history project for community activist youths organizations in Durban S.A. (2008-10). She has been developing and teaching an audio media course for photographers with the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg (2009-11). She says working among people in the inner city of Johannesburg during the production of the LONG WALK public chess tournament project (2005) changed her hearing, and that she attributes her heightened attention to oral culture to living and working among the people of Jozi in the first place. She is particularly committed to making her production and training skills available to organizations, community groups or collectives of artists and activists on the African continent; and here especially, women and young people. Her pioneering creative involvement in media activism follows the proposition that media can be a means of community making and development, and that communities can be the agents of media development.
radio / productions with
WDR Studio Akustische Kunst (G); ORF Kunstradio (A); Monitor Swedish Radio; Resonance fm; Radia Network; Cjam FM (CA); open-air radio (UK); YLE radio1 and Laehradio (Fin); SAfm; Audio Arts; CRiSAP; Gruenrekorder; Vibro/ Double Entendre; Collectif MU (F).
articles / conference presentations
- Setup4artists newsletter Jan. 2015, Weserburg/ Research Centre for Artists Publications; multimedia article, “How are we using field recordings to change the world…?”, women artists in Zambia and Zimbabwe
- My City My Sounds, ZKM symposium, Dec. 2014, on acoustic geolocalisation, conference presentation, “The sounds and tools of a listener with a bag” (video)
- The Public Life of Recordings, British Library and CRISAP University of the Arts London, symposium 2013
interviews / reviews
- Syntone “rencontre avec Claudia Wegener alias radio continental drift” Jan. 2015
- The Domestic Soundscape, Felicity Ford interviews Claudia Wegener about the All Africa Sound Map, Sep. 2013
- ISSUU “Africa” Autumn 2014 Alan Dunn on radio continental drift
- Joburg Radio Days 2011 click to listen)))) to listen to an introduction by Christo Doherty, Head of Digital Arts at Wits University, from a skype-cast presentation
- Global Voices online; review on the work in Kenya and Uganda: Juliana Rincon Parra, in Global Voices online; Dec. 2010
- Gisbert Sander, “Soziale Soundscapes”, Westfaelischer Anzeiger, 23 Jan. 2010 WA-23.01.2010 (in German)
- Max Grun, “Einfach mal zuhören”, Stadtanzeiger Hamm, 21 Sept. 2014
Carine Bernasconi on ‘Long Walk (Abridged)’ audio radio piece created for the Radia Network , first broadcast 2007; catalogue p.421, ‘Visions du Réel’ festival; April 2008.
“LONG WALK is about languages. In Johannesburg, Claudia Wegener asked passers-by of different ethnic groups to read in English a short excerpt of Nelson Mandela’s biography, Long Walk to Freedom, then to translate it into their mother tongue! Hesitant they stumble on the English before speaking fluently in their familiar language. Then begins a polyphonic mix of African dialects that are surprising because of their sounds so removed from our Indo-European pronunciations. The effects of the montage create a rhythm that moves to the beat of the Zulu clicks. LONG WALK becomes a huge forest of sounds, with thousand of trees, all of them different as are the voices, their accents and their information. Mandela’s fight seems to recover an original sound and its primeval meaning.”
‘Chess Set to Challenge Fence’, in Metro, The Sunday Times 20 Nov. 2005, p. 16: article by Henriette Geldenhuys; image by Robin Fortune (Market Photo Workshop)
Guy Brett, writer & curator, September 2007
“Claudia Wegener had a scholarly intellectual formation at German and British art schools, but instead of heading for the Academy she headed for the street: walking, observing, listening, in different cities and neighbourhoods around the world. She fashioned hundreds of small incidents into verbal objects. After a period of writing for herself or a putative CD or radio listener, she began to involve others, randomly in the street, or via organised participatory projects focussed particularly on low-income or deprived groups, projects such as Crisis/Skylight, Street Writing, and most recently, No-Go-Zones, a radio ‘drop-in’ still in progress.
Her medium has been language, language as it erupts out of a milieu of ambient sounds and is swallowed up by them again. Many exchanges in today’s cities are interrupted by a wailing siren and Wegener weaves this into the fabric, or mix. A sense of space emerges from the relative closeness or distance of the speaker or sounds from the mike, suggesting great possibilities for ‘aural sculpture’. Aural work has increasingly emerged from a visual arts background.
Another important component of Claudia Wegener’s work has been her involvement with Foreign Investment, a highly-regarded group of women artists who move outside their individual practices and get together for performances or contextual interventions. Venues and occasions are carefully chosen for the group’s sharp-witted, allegorical critiques of art’s dangerous liaison with commerce.”
Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Civil Society UKZN (SA) 2008-10; Associate member of Transnational Arts Identity and Nation (TrAIN/ UAL) 2002-10; multi-media advisor & trainer at Market Photo Workshop Johannesburg 2009-11; Associate Lecturer at University of the Arts London (UAL) Camberwell College (1999-2008); Visiting Lecturer at Winchester School of Arts (2007-08) and the Royal Academy Schools (1999-2006); Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths University of London (2003-04)