Sisters Akousmatica is a curatorial umbrella for projects that explore sonic public spaces, with a focus on feminist methodologies and radio art. Premiering their city-scale acousmonium for Next Wave Festival 2016, supported by Next Wave’s Emerging Curators Program and Liquid Architecture, Phillipa Stafford and Julia Drouhin explore the subversive and ecological nature of radio broadcast and sound art.

Sisters Akousmatica for the Next Wave Festival 2016 invited seven women artists to explore the concept of akousma – the idea of sound removed from its source – during performances broadcast live on 3CR over seven hours. Phillipa and Julia, as the Radio Queens, lead a sound walk around the Yarra River, pausing to listen to each performance and allowing audiences to experience the performances as a web of transmission via portable radios. The performances in question maybe acousmatic (tape music), mixed (tape and instruments) or live. The sounds created by the Akousmatic orchestra join the sounds of the city to create a unique, one-off experience. The radio queens ask the audience to engage with the flux of the city in slow motion with slow listening and open ears.

The sound walk ends in a collective noise machine, or radio acousmonium, the mother-spider at the middle of the transmission web, which is available to visit at Signal, Northbank during the Next Wave Festival 2016.

Akousma subverts the traditions of the implied and often unchallenged assumption regarding the relationship between a “source” and a “copy”, through distributing the media via transmission and allowing audiences to have particular relationships with the sound depending on their location.

Using radio and instruments as both sculptural form and tools for performative divination, we constellate a layered relationship with form and content, representing chaotic, rhizomic systems that loop and feedback. The ephemeral world of radio offers a dialogue with an audience that is at once live and not-live, real and unreal.

Sisters Akousmatica also emcompasses a live sound performance by Phillipa and Julia, called Super Occult Cosmophon. This collaboration is based on improvised unconventional sound with radio, fun and cocktails. Together they are the glamorous, feminist Radio Queens searching for performances in vibrant spaces; they believe in witchery and the strange power of the obsolete medium and realm of invisible signals that is radio.

Sisters Akousmatica like the number seven / radia / gregory whitehead / galena & quartz / maryanne amacher / discuts / thesis / fair play / gin & tonic / dead frequencies / community radio / copper tape / exquisite corpse / big sunglasses / fancy shoes / women’s voices / / emphemeral art / antenna / DIY / the power of|in your hands / slow listening / sound art / radioscape / public space / agoradio / witchcraft