Soul Stirrers #3: Radio Garden
Despite myriad differences in geography, culture, language, and beliefs, are there ways in which we are all similar in the ways we communicate? What can we learn about one other by “tuning in” to the world around us — together?
Web-based platform Radio Garden, commissioned in 2016 by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, is a radical experiment in excavating answers to this and other pressing questions about humanity and shared values. Designed and developed by Studio Puckey, Radio Garden initially began as part of a research project on how radio, as a technology, gives structure to our cultural encounters. How do people identify with and participate in their local and regional communities by listening to radio? How does our sense of belonging develop?
Radio Garden adds nuance to these inquiries by visualizing as many different stations situated around the world as possible and by allowing listeners to tune in anywhere, any time with a simple spin of their interactive globe. What kind of music is popular in Kolkata? How many stations broadcast sound art in Senegal? Who’s featured on Greenland’s Ice FM at 3 AM local time? What does a Javanese news broadcast sound like?
Radio has always served as a way to connect us: both with those who share and have access to our same frequencies, and with those we encounter from many miles away—through their voices. Radio Garden reimagines our archetypal sentiment of metaphysical connectivity for contemporary times by encouraging us to explore and gain insights — delivered through sound, with thanks to the Internet — into the vast and yet somehow still nearby world beyond our own.
Radio Garden presses us, as our other Soul Stirrers do, to pursue deep thinking, social courage, moral imagination and joy; and to renew inner life, outer life, and life together.
What media and mechanisms have you found that challenge you to do the same?