WW1 sound and transport

Posted on May 4, 2015

Sonic bikes and the world of sound and transport communications:

For the past two weekends in April (now May) I’ve been participating in a Radio Arts book workshop with Jim Backhouse and Magz Hall. In the workshop I learned how to make an FM transmitter from the beginning, which took quite a bit of time to perfect. Some of the parts were very fiddly and we were using a hardback book as a base for the nails and capacitors to be held into position. After 3 hours of creating these transmission circuits there was a lot of testing with a 9volt battery and mp3 player plugged in to hear if they frequencies were being transmitted. At the same time as fiddling with the tuner of the FM transmitter we’d to try and tune the radio to hear what station the sample audio was being broadcast on. My book then had to get a part replaced but it’s fully operational now which is very exciting! It was a fantastic few weekends learning about sound and how it would benefit my project with Dover Transport Museum. Of course FM transmitters can be bought readymade for a low price but there’s nothing quite like making your own one with your hands, you realize the power before you, radio as a medium.


I was also lucky enough to come across the Bicrophonic Research Institute – The Bicrophonic Research Institute (BRI) is an association that makes music and audio landscapes to be triggered and played by you the cyclist. Not an app and free of the Internet, it creates an outdoor listening experience for all, the antithesis of headphones. I’m really interested in combining the imagined soundscapes of WW1 and the experiences of a military cyclist.

In the trenches sml

Not only does the FM transmitter touch upon soundscapes but it can relate to the strategic importance of wireless technology in the trenches. Electronic communications would come to play such an integral part of the Allied war effort on both the Front Line and the Home Front. After the destruction of the war came the foundations of modern communications that would have a world-changing effect a century later (radio broadcasting in the UK began in 1920).

About Radio Arts:
Radio Arts is an independent artists’ group who promote radio as a site for creative experimentation. The collective started in 2001 in South London by radio and sound artists Magz Hall and Jim Backhouse later joined in Kent by digital artists Tim Pickup and Nicola Schauerman (Genetic Moo).