Beginning this project, I was right there with the chorus of Twitter detractors. Assuming Twitter trafficked only in frivolous, tedious, and above all, meaningless little squirts of text, I had hoped that a minor tweak of delivery system would be both funny and damning.
Changing the medium from one of large fonts bounded by bubbly corners to a melancholy computerized voice was supposed to diminish the overblown power of this new “medium” — to put it in its place as a technological fad.
If one listens to the radio-ized version for more than a few minutes, it becomes clear that this new medium is not so easily flattened. What comes out is, even if mechanically rendered, a diverse and striking spectrum of human speech. Twenty-four hours a day this near-hallucinatory radio station hosts heartbreaking confessions of loneliness, witty rehashings of mass media gossip, and every banal and insightful utterance in between. These are just samples from a global pool that is many orders of magnitude larger. The selections are random, but the result is not simply chaos. The endless disjoint statements and questions risk becoming unintelligible but somehow their confluence settles into the beautiful, near-absent noise of language at work — what Barthes calls its “rustle.”
Perhaps this goes too far. Nevertheless, give this strange little experiment a few minutes’ attention. Even if you are not convinced of Twitter’s aesthetic or practical virtues, it does make for some extraordinarily brief flashes of good radio.
[A note: Users may “call in” to the radio station by posting a public message on Twitter that begins with @tweet_radio.]
[A more technical note: you can read more about how Tweet Radio works here.]
Moon Radio Credits
by STEVE DETTLING &
by BRADLEY HOPE
by MATT HACKETT
Film Festival for the Blind
Specters of the Spectrum
with archival audio presented by JARED KEANE FELDMAN
World of Sound
“ingeria” by CYCLOTRON
“Khorog, Tajikistan” by ALYSSA MOXLEY
“Oshogbo, Nigeria” by LUKE KUMMER
“Mumbai, India” by BRADLEY HOPE
by ALYSSA MOXLEY