WAR!: A Radio Broadcast

Date: Sunday, 14 November 1999
Location: New York and Belgrade

WAR!—A Live Interactive Sound Performance between WBAI (New York) and B2-92 (Belgrade)

This project was conceived by Brian Conley and co-produced by Brian Conley & Sina Najafi of Immaterial Incorporated in New York with the help of Gordon Paunovic & Robert Klajn of Radio B2-92 in Belgrade, and Matthew Finch & Hesu Coue of WBAI in New York.

WAR! occurred on November 14, 1999 and was broadcast in New York on WBAI and in Belgrade on Radio B2-92, a key voice of opposition inside Serbia throughout the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. The event, an imaginary theater of conflict between Serbia and the United States just after the NATO bombing of Belgrade, was a two-hour interactive live performance between two teams of sound artists gathered at the two radio stations and connected via the internet. For this performance the teams read classic books of war strategy (Sun Tzu and von Clausewitz, for example) and each devised a strategy for waging war on the other using cartoon sound effects as the primary sound material. Just as the broadcast employed both new and old technologies of the internet and the radio, the participants were allowed to employ any technology from home-made instruments and the human voice to samplers and computers in order to manipulate and organize the cartoon sound effects. By using the stereo divide, each team was broadcast on a separate speaker so that the audience could easily distinguish between them. The teams did not meet their opponent until the moment of broadcast. At that moment they were involved in a relentless struggle for domination and drive towards victory over the other in the domain of the audio. This public event was a satirical reflection on the violent political conflict in Serbia as one recent episode of ‘civilized’ humanity’s capacity for collective acts of aggression.

The US participants were: Scott Arford, Gracien Challenger, Bill Chesley, David Cunningham, Michael DeMurga, Thomas Dimuzio, Brian Dewan, David Dixon, Joshua Fried, Rob Gould, Dan Illian, Nina Katchadourian, Peter Lew, Pam MacKinnon, Akio Mokuno, Sean Moore, Daphna Naftali, blaat, Barry Conley, Marcin Ramocki, Maria Striar, Clubbed Thumb, Shane Valentino, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, Trevor Williams, and Jay Worthington.

The Serbian participants have never been identified publicly.

The broadcast was also webcast on www.bai.org and www.freeb92.com.