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Radio Memory

July 25, 2010


Cataloguing the memories, Radio Memory is an artist project by Brandon LaBelle. Initiated in 2005 and continuing today, the book from 2008 documents the artist’s related installations, along with a CD of new work, making a small testament to the power of transmission.

Accompanying the book is a post card, inviting the reader to share his or her radio memory with the author. Here is my radio memory:


Having finished “videregående skole” (high school) I started studying natural science at the University of Bergen; Maths, computer science, physics and geophysics. Half a year later I got a job teaching maths in the evening once a week. I was still staying at my parents place in Ytre Sandviken, but every Monday I would remain in town, visiting my grandpa and have dinner with him before going on for the teaching of the week.

My grandpa has a wall clock, as grandparents are supposed to. The ticking filled the living room, for strange reasons leaving an impression of timelessness; as if time had ceased to exist at his place.

After dinner we would have coffee and listen to the radio.

One week Brian Eno was the “artist of the week”, with half an hour a day dedicated to his music. After a brief introduction "1/1” from “Music for Airports” started playing, unabridged, all sixteen and a half minutes of it.

My grandpa was not impressed by this kind of “pling-plong” music (“pling-plong” was a term used in Norway at the time for any kind of contempoary music that might vaguely remind one of Arne Nordheim.)

I however, was increasingly preoccupied by Brian Eno and in particular his ideas about ambient music, also through him discovering the music of Erik Satie.

I was totally captivated by listening to “1/1” in the quiet room with the clock ticking in the background. I didn’t have any need for arguing with my grandpa, but probably asked him if he could just keep the radio on, even though he did not like it much.

This is the one time that radio has made totally sense to me.