New ‘Dreamlands’ Commissioned Artists 2014-15

Colin Black (AU)

Arturas Bumsteinas (LITH)

Iris Garrelfs (GER)

Anna Friz (CAN)

Louise Harris (UK)

Olivia Humphreys (UK) =

Langham Research Centre (UK)

GX Jupitter-Larsen (US)

Carlo Patrao (PORT)

Mikey Weinkove (UK)

New works to be aired in 2015 on: Resonance FM, Phonic FM, Sound Art Radio, Radio Reverb, WGXC, BCB, Radio Papesse, Radiophrenia, ABC, RTE look at our news page for updates.

Dreamlands works commissioned 2013-14:


Joaquin Cofreces (Argentina)

Esther Johnson (UK)

Michael McHugh (UK)

Gregory Whitehead (USA)


radio beach women

Dreamlands commissions  aired on the following radio stations :

ABC Soundproof,  Gregory Whitehead May 24th, Joaquin Cofreces, 27th July 2014, Esther Johnson 2nd Nov 2104,

Radio Reverb (UK): Joaquin Cofreces on 23rd, 5pm and 10am  / 8am 24th June 2014, Michael McHugh The Dream Scientist piece  30th July at 5pm/ 10pm/ Tues 8am, and Crazy Horse one Eight at the same times 7th August 2014

Radio Papesse (Italy) : 25th June Gregory Whitehead - 4pm GMT , 26th June Joaquin Cofreces 4pm GMT and  27th June Michael McHugh  4pm GMT)

Sound Art Radio (UK) : Sunday 29th June  3-5pm 2014

Resonance FM (UK): Gregory Whitehead  Crazy Horse One Eight , Joaquin Cofreces and Magz Hall, 23rd of July 8pm 2014 and 24th Dec 2014. Dreamlands. Michael McHugh and the Noise Choir can be heard on 29th July 2014

Phonic FM : (UK) Esther Johnson, Gregory Whitehead, Micheal McHugh,  Magz Hall 4th Sept 2014 and Joaquin Cofreces August 7th 2014

Wave Farm (USA) on WGXC 90.7FM: 8-10pm  USA (4-6 GMT) on July 12th 2014




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Dreamlands commissioned works were exhibited at The Radio Arts Showcase Exhibition at the Beaney:

Beaney House of Art and Knowledge
Canterbury, UK
19th – 26th April 2014

The Radio Arts showcase offered the first public airing of our new Dreamlands radio art commissions. An open call for works responding to the theme of Radio ‘Dreamlands’ has produced a series of outstanding new radio works from international artists Gregory Whitehead, Joaquim Cofreces and Michael McHugh and Noizechoir with new work to come from UK radio artist Esther Johnson.

Gregory Whitehead (USA)’s CRAZY HORSE ONE-EIGHT (a radio cantata in memory of those killed) is a provocative and chilling new work explicitly addressing the use of language and the weaponization of radiophonic space in the perpetration of US war crimes, as evidenced in Bradley (Chelsea) Manning’s leaked ‘collateral murder’ video.

Joaquim Cofreces (Argentina) Dreamland was a captivating radiophonic work which explores the fragile line between the real and the illusion, representing acoustically the elusive Edgar Allen Poe poem, through a shifting soundscape, narrated by the voices of women reading the work across the globe.

Michael McHugh and Noizechoir’s The Dream of the Dream Scientist used biomedical data examining brain patterns during sleep, re-interpreted vocally through graphical scores. This eerie sound portrait of the sleep centre and the scientists working therein consists of building choral pieces performed and recorded by the Noizechoir with an explanation of the process and the science that underpins it.

Radio Recall (2013) Magz Hall, is one of eight speculative ‘trace stations’: fictional radio stations that comprise from her ‘Switch Off’ project that imagines the sounds and novel uses to which the FM spectrum will be put following the proposed ‘analogue switch off’ of terrestrial FM broadcasting. It features local peoples radio memories recorded at the Old Lookout Gallery in Broadstairs last summer heard via a growing collection of vintage radio receivers, many donated offers are still welcome. Jim Backhouse composed a series of Incidentals in response to the interviews sourced from SW, LW and MW transmissions picked up from my collection and ones we built.

All the radio art works were broadcast in the space over 50 radios. We had some fantastic feedback  people particularly loved the vintage radios comments such as ” Interesting ideas the sounds feel like the last groans of old technology fading away ” and ” excited by the every growing army of radios multiples have the power to take over the world.” made it all worthwhile. People also were excited by the tone of the older radios which clearly contrasted with the new FM radios each old radio unlocked memories which visitors were keen to share, there was a real buzz in the air.

The audio showcase was accompanied by interactive visual art from digital artists Genetic Moo. Many children were drawn to this work as it was responsive to the surrounding sounds through an interactive visual wall called Aeroplankton (2014). Microscopic airborne protozoa called Radiolaria Aeoliae, display intricate mineral skeletons which act as receivers of extremely shortwave radio signals and children loved watching them and joining in.

The Dreamlands commissions are to be broadcast more traditionally this year on Basic FM, Radio Reverb, Sound Art Radio and Resonance FM in the UK, Radio Papesse in Italy and Wave Farm in the USA. Please read on to hear about the artists and more about the works


Artists Details of Dreamlands Radio Works


Joaquin Cofreces

Joaquim Cofreces

Sound storyteller of features, radio art, radio drama, museum installations, field recording, sound art, soundscapes  from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. His work has been featured by broadcasters, festivals and galleries around the world (China, Iran, India, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Belgium,Norway ,Croatia, Italia,Finland,Australia , etc.) Dedicated collector of sounds brings on his travels a recorder instead a photograph camera. Intuitive journalist understands radio like a space of experimentation, sound as a global way of telling stories in an emotional language. His features and radio art pieces were broadcasted at SWR, Deutschland radio Kultur, France Culture, Radio Educacion de Mexico, FM metro, FM La Tribu, etc. His work was awarded in different festivals: Premio radio sin limites (Buenos Aires 2006), Bienal Internacional de radio (Mexico, 2006 and 2012), Premio abri los ojos (Fm Metro – Buenos Aires 2009) , 8th International radio festival (Iran 2007). 10th International radio Festival (Iran 2009. Best sound editor. Best innovative program) Phonurgia Nova (radio art – France.2009) Ake Blomstrom award (Ebu – IFC 2010) Suden call (Italy/Germany). Nominated to the prize Fundacion Nuevo periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI – 2007) honorable mentions: Premio periodistico Rey de España (Spain 2007), Grand Prix of radio (URTI – France 2007), Septima Bienal internacional de radio (Mexico 2008).The radio art piece Hamoni lapude anan was presented at FILE Festival (Brazil), Tsonami festival (Chile), Sao Paulo Bienal of arts, Radio Nacional Argentina Audithorium and Sala Nini Marshall Ushuaia.

Proposal : “Dream-Land” (1844) is one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most consistently misread and misunderstood poems. It tells the story of a journey, moving through landscapes of oceans, valleys, caves, and forests, beyond the borders of space and time. Although it’s never quite clear where that trip starts or where it ends. Nothing looks or moves the way it does in everyday life. Mountains tumble, the sky is on fire, the ocean leaps up, and the snow sits on the ground forever. This radio art piece explores the fragile line between the real and the illusion.  Representing acoustically what is said in the poem, read in diverse languages by women from different places of the world such as Greenland, Brazil, México, France, Germany, Iran, Romania, etc. Adding “images” and information with soundscapes from where this voices come from. Moving through real places and imaginary sound ambiences. Shapes, shadows and bodies get interlaced in an “almost “eventful and musical way. Recreating the actions, places and situations mentioned at the poem. Mixing field recordings with electronically modified sounds and noises, bases of many sources, panned, worked in layers to create movement of the microphone through textures and intimate spaces of this oneiric context. Also travelling in time: from past to future, from abstraction to concrete in a kind of apparently random session. Giving freedom to the listener to create each own tale, suggesting tracks to their imagination using words as a reference.

During dreaming the brain moves through different states represented by vibrations. our brainwave frequencies can descend from Alpha through Theta state (4-7 Hz). This “movement “is expressed , in this piece, by this kind of vibrations , linking different stories as interlaced memories.

In this work many things are linked to number five:

This lyric poem consists of five stanzas, with the first and last being nearly identical. Each phrase contributes to one effect: a human traveler wandering between life and death.

Each strophe will last five minutes. So, the total length suggested is 25. There are five phases of sleep: stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement).  Usually when you are sleeping, you begin at stage 1 and go through each stage until reaching REM sleep, and then cycle begins again. Each complete sleep cycle takes from 90 to 110 minutes. So, if you sleep for eight hours per night, you’re getting five full sleep cycles. It will include Five Different Types of Dreams (for example : Prophetic Dreams, Psychic dreams, . Processing Dreams, etc.)

Gregory Whitehead 


Gregory Whitehead has created more than one hundred radio plays, essays and acoustic adventures for the BBC, Radio France, Australia’s ABC, NPR and other broadcasters. Often interweaving documentary and fictive materials into playfully unresolved narratives, Whitehead’s aesthetic is distinguished by a deep philosophical commitment to radio as a medium for poetic navigation and free association. In his voice and text-sound works, he has often explored the tension between a continuous pulse and the eruption of sudden discontinuities, as well as linguistic entropy and decay.

At a recent panel celebrating the 100th issue of the performing arts journal PAJ, Whitehead said, “I embraced analog broadcast radio as my ideal creative home because the airwaves seemed to vibrate with the same qualities I sought to capture in my own plays, and in my own thinking: indeterminacy, fragility of signal, random access, tension between public and private, ambiguous borders, modulating rhythms, complex polyphony, and a pulse rate set by a wild heart.”

His plays have won numerous awards, including a Prix Italia for Pressures of the Unspeakable, a Prix Futura for Shake, Rattle, Roll and a Sony Gold Academy Award for The Loneliest Road, which was described by the jury as “a master class in sound”.  His 2005 BBC production of Normi Noel’s play No Background Music, featuring Sigourney Weaver, also received a Sony Gold Academy Award.



The so-called “collateral murder” video that documents the killing of journalists and civilians in Iraq by US military represents what is possibly the most consequential social media posting of all time, with direct implications ranging from the prosecution of Manning and Assange, through to accelerated attempts by the NSA and other global “security” agencies to expand and enhance internet surveillance and control, while also criminalizing whistle-blowing.

Though the visual aspect of the video has received a tremendous amount of analysis, I am more concerned with the complicity of radiophonic space in the perpetration of these war crimes; I am also concerned with the casual and dismissive language of the interactions themselves, as evidenced in the transcript of the radio exchanges between helicopters and command. I propose to recompose that transcript into a series of “cantos” (draft versions below), which will then be performed using my own voice.

The cantos follow the critical forensic narrative of the video, concluding with the obliteration of a building in which several people had sought sanctuary. By using my own voice, I also make the tacit acknowledgment of my indirect complicity in these events, beyond simply inhabiting the acoustic space, thus voicing the text is also a form of accepting responsibility. The vocalized texts will then be subjected to a variety of techniques and rhythms/structures of entropic disintegration, interruption and polyphonic accumulation, all of which I have experimented with at a smaller scale in previous works. I will also use very small samples from the audio track of the collateral damage video, both to construct acoustic envelopes for the vocal unfoldings, and to create interplays between the colloquial “banter” of the attack with the psychoacoustic qualities of a solo voice. I am aware that the prevalent trend in radio art inclines towards the elaboration of intermedia networks and various modalities of interactivity. Though such approaches are legitimate, my own inclination is to deepen our understanding of the poetic and aesthetic possibilities of radio voices/bodies themselves, above all the complex, frictive coincidence between radio as a space of play and radio as a space of command, and control; in the past, I have often addressed tensions between Radio Eros and Radio Thanatos. Crazy Horse One Eight represents a sustained further exploration of this theme, as well as a further refinement of my techniques of voice composition through entropic disintegration across generations of repetitions and variations.

Gregory Whitehead talks about his new Radio Arts Commissioned work Crazy Horse One Eight on Soundproof ABC Australia

Michael McHugh 

micheal McHugh

Freelance arts and heritage practioner; working with photographic and time based media who has delivered a number of innovative projects working in partnership with organisations such as Sunderland City Council, Northern Architecture and Washington Arts Centre. He is involved in engaging archive and museum projects for Tyne and Wear Archive and Museums where he is an outreach officer. He runs the record label Signals and a weekly show Signals from the North on BASIC FM which combines field recording, audio collage, with reportage and an alternative take on the idea of the heritage in the North of England. Working with with Noizechoir for the last two years. Noizechoir’s process is rooted in interpretive performance, working from visual scores. They sing in response to location, architecture and environment but also explore less concrete notions such as light pollution and radio landscapes.

Proposal : Signals - The Dream of the Dream Scientist

My interest in this project was sparked through discussions with a friend whose mother is undergoing treatment for sleep disorder. The Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research is one of only three purposely built academic facilities dedicated to the research of sleep in the UK.  It is an unusual space – part hotel, part science lab.

Much is known about the effects of sleep deprivation on an individual but little is known about why we sleep. The Centre dedicates itself to three main areas of study:

  • The treatment of sleep disorders caused by a variety of medical problems.
  • Sensory gating: an area of research that looks at what happens as people transition between the different stages of sleep and how our sleep is affected by environmental conditions.
  • Dreaming: what happens, physiologically, when we dream? How do dreams affect our bodies when we enter different stages of sleep?

Biomedical data of participants is recorded through sensors and electrodes attached to their body. These record the brain waves, eye movements, body movements, temperature and heart rate of the participant as they enter and exit the varying stages of sleep.  The Signals radio arts broadcast will pose the question ‘What does the Dream of the Dream scientist sound like?’

Professor Jason Ellis, Director of the Sleep Research Centre, has never undergone these tests personally and has offered to undergo a night of sleep recording to see how his body responds.  For the broadcast Jason will take the listener through what it means to be asleep and discuss what is happening to our bodies when we dream. Biomedical data captured during the study will be re-interpreted by the Noizechoir to create graphical scores.  The basis of the 60 minute broadcast will consist of choral pieces performed and recorded by the Noizechoir. Interviews and audio recordings of Jason’s experience will also be used to create a sound portrait of the sleep centre, exploring its aural landscape, its culture and the science that underpins it.  The broadcast in itself is an exciting departure from traditional sleep science. What would the dream of the dream scientist sound like re-interpreted through voice? The field of sleep research is a relatively new area of study and the broadcast offers a new and challenging opportunity to creatively re-interpret data that is usually presented graphically.

Esther Johnson


Esther Johnson MA (RCA); BA Hons, University of London, is an artist, filmmaker and photographer who creates work that takes a poetic approach to documentary and narrative, through film, video, audio and photography. Her current practice unearths extraordinary, resonant stories that may otherwise remain hidden or ignored, presenting these within poignant filmic and photographic portraits. Recurring themes include personal histories, the underdog within contemporary society, heritage, tradition, folklore, and explorations of architectural vernaculars and the inhabited environment, to intimately convey the often-uneasy relationship between subjects and their respective surroundings. Her work has exhibited internationally in over 30 countries in galleries, cinemas, festivals and on television and radio including BBC; BFI; Cornerhouse; FACT; ICA; IDFA; NASA, California; Science Museum, London; Site Gallery; Sotherby’s New York; Tate Britain; Tate Modern and the 11th Istanbul Biennial. Support for her work includes Arts Council England; BBC; British Council; C3RI Art & Design Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University; LAFVA; Film London; National Endowment for the Arts, USA; National Lottery; Screen Yorkshire; Sheffield Children’s Festival, Skillset, Sound and Music and Yorkshire Arts. Johnson is Reader in Media Arts within Sheffield Institute of Arts at Sheffield Hallam University and was awarded the 2012–2015 Phillip Leverhulme Prize in Performing and Visual Arts for young scholars.

Proposal:‘Plunge, Flip, Bump and Score’ will examine the world of Pinball machines in an age of digital gaming.  The provocative title refers to the common features of a traditional pinball machine, the mechanics used in order to win. Pinball machines are a symbol of nostalgic Americana yet there is still a thriving following for the game with tournaments taking place internationally. The programme will examine our connection with analogue objects and gaming through the potential of musical sounds such machines can make. I aim to create a poetic audio montage that re-configures recordings taken inside and on (using contact mics) a variety of pinball machines. These recordings will be interwoven with interviews featuring pinball enthusiasts talking about their love of the game, and also recordings of actual playing from the perspective of the player themselves and the perspective of the ball rolling through the machine. Potential interviewees include the owners of ‘The Pinball Parlour’ in Margate (not far from the funfair ‘Dreamland’), a museum opened by longtime fans and contest winners of the game. Additional interviewees may include organisers and players in the UK Pinball League, and pinball designers on how they go about creating the perfect ‘sounds’ for such a machine. The subject matter makes audio the most appropriate medium for this project as denying the image will be more evocative and allow for maximum experimentation in editing. The absence of a visual image – these machines may be heard but not seen – will reinforce the abstract nature of pinball rhythms through play, and provide a gap in which the audience is free to imagine the sight of the game based on its sound. By denying the image, I hope that the audio work can create a more powerful engagement in which the listener is actively immersed, relating and connecting to the subject through association. I aim to create an original investigation in order to gain new knowledge and understanding. I’d like to explore the use of recordings from real life to create an abstracted expressive examination that offers an emotional connection, and not a purely descriptive picture of the subject. My intention is to take a sensorial not journalistic approach. The project will be challenging as I plan to experiment with recording methods to achieve a range of tonalities and textures, and will have to create imagery without using actual images. I would particularly like to experiment with binaural recordings for the work in order to situate the listener within a game, and from the perspective of the pin ‘balls’, in addition to the perspective of the player.The concept is a metaphor for larger universal themes of changes in technology and how this is changing our world and societies on a personal and universal level. Tackling the particular in order to touch on the universal is a method that I hope will connect with an audience on an individual level.



Dreamlands: International Open Call for Radio Art Now closed:


Radio Arts are commissioning four new Radio Art works of 30 or 60 minutes in duration.
We are seeking proposals that explore the relationships, possibilities and potential of radio.
Works should take the theme of: ‘Dreamlands’ as a point of departure.

A fee of £500 will be granted for each commissioned work.

To apply send a CV and 500 word proposal with relevant links to your audio/radio work to:

The deadline for applications is December 6th 2013.Successful applicants will be contacted in January 2014, works to be produced by 31st March 2014.

Thanks to all who applied to our Dreamlands Commissions. We had an unprecedented response to the call with 92 people applying, a difficult task with so many high-quality creative and exciting applications having to be reluctantly declined this time, we hope to gain more funding to realise your great ideas.

 Selection Panel:

Professor Angus Carlyle, Dr Lance Dann, Magz Hall and Jim Backhouse