Mezcal: Radio Transmission and Sound Art



WHEN: 5pm - 9pm 29 Jun 2022 – 3 Aug 2022

COST: Free

"a new kind of radio that is cheap and quick and easy"

In this workshop, we become familiar with the interactive audio software application Mezcal designed by artist, designer and engineer August Black.

What is Mezcal?

August describes it thus: "Mezcal is a novel telematic service that allows multiple constituents to fluidly participate in broadcast-like scenarios through their mobile devices at the flick of their thumbs.... Listeners get an immediate way to call in and contribute. Producers can make shows by themselves, in collaboration with others, at remote locations or on-site, and/or in synchronous or asynchronous modes. Both listeners and producers can hop-on or off the stream at will. It all works in a browser, outside of app stores, and is a different kind of networked radio where the boundary between listener and producer can be strict or blurred.

Mezcal currently works similar to the audio rooms of Slack or Discord, but with broadcast scalability and audio-specific features such as mixing of multiple audio sources, re-streaming to icecast, fingertip access to various online media archives, etc. ... I see Mezcal as an instrument for diverse practices in transmission and sound art, for providing alternative modes of point to point communication for social movements, and as a new technological form of environmental and journalistic reporting."

For this workshop, anyone of modest ability may apply as long as you can bring along your mobile device. Numbers are limited, hence holding another workshop later in the year. We shall spend the initial part of the workshop at 107 Redfern Street as we understand how to navigate the app and its potential uses. We shall then decide on a public space or an event that we would like to use as our audio subject matter. Then we'll complete the workshop by editing a fix-media piece from our actions and audio outcomes that will be streamed and transmitted via Wave Farm Radio NY and 107diffusion Redfern.

Facilitator Bio

August Black

Hi, I'm August Black. I'm a hybrid practitioner of art, design, and engineering. I like to make experimental spatial and acoustic situations, often creating my own technological artifacts and instruments in hardware and software. My past work focused on live networked audio, mixing FM radio with user input through online software. I'm currently interested in the philosophy of technology, functional programming, alternative web interfaces, and AI/machine learning. More importantly, I'm interested in exploring the expressive capabilities of these various instruments, languages, and architectures.

I've earned a living at various points in time as an artist, producer, graphic designer, software engineer, and educator. I've had the pleasure of working at places like the ORF Kunstradio, the Ars Electronica Futurelab, the UCSB BioImaging Lab, and Cycling '74 - the makers of Max/MSP. As an educator, I've taught media-art classes at UC Santa Barbara, U. of San Francisco, and CU Boulder.

Ultimately, I am a technologist, someone that studies the profound co-evolutionary impact of our own constructions (τέχνη). I earned a doctorate in Media, Arts, & Technology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and am currently an Assistant Professor at CU Boulder in the department of Critical Media Practices.


Jon Panther

Jon Panther is a Sydney based Sonic and Radio-artist. He based himself for many years in the UK where he graduated from the London College of Communication with a BTech Cert in Sound Design and Music Technologies and an MA in Interactive Multimedia. After several years collaborating with various performers and musicians, Jon returned to Aoteoroa to complete his post graduate diploma in Music Studies specialising in Electroacoustic composition at Auckland University. He graduated (again) with a MMusA Distinction Composition focusing on Telematic, Transmission and Radio-arts, Victoria University Wellington NZ. Jon started recording and performing under the name Audiotopsy in 1999 in the UK, Japan and Brazil, He has had works broadcast, performed and presented in the USA, Italy, UK, Ireland, NZ and Australia and has produced and presented sonic arts and new music radio programmes on FM community radio in Australasia. He has had the pleasure of having various works featured by Metanast UK, The Sonic Arts Forum UK, Hearsay International Audio Arts Festival Ireland, Helicotrema Italy and Jeu de temps/Times Play (JTTP) Cache Canada to name but a few! Jon is currently absorbed in his online streaming and narrowcast FM project DiffusionFM exploring generative composition systems for the medium of transmission. He, with DiffusionFM, is the Australian member for the Radio-arts network RADIA and has the honour of curating and producing content by local artists for international transmission.