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length‪:‬ 59 min‪.‬

Karen Power

is this on? [2016, part]

In 1927, Cork City Gaol hosted one of Ireland’s earliest radio broadcasts, the simple sound of cartwheels on cobbles. RTÉ lyric fm has commissioned is this on?, a new work for radio from renowned Irish composer Karen Power to mark the place of that first broadcast and to pay tribute to the profoundly significant contributions by women to Ireland’s turbulent history in the early twentieth century.

is this on? combines; field recordings recorded by Karen from all over the world, RTÉ Lyric fm archival materials + inaudible sounds from Cork City Gaol itself.

We together will move between real and imaginary worlds, times and spaces. We are here in this beautiful space, which creates 1 unique listening environment. Radio audiences are in a variety of other spaces surrounded by other contexts - whether they be passing traffic in a car, the kettle boiling in the kitchen. This piece is designed to trigger sonic connections with these known and unknown spaces. To allow you time to dream in and through sound. To bring you on a journey through Irelands past voices and times. To connect you to each other and at the same time highlight our individuality in the way you receive sound.

Each of our listening experiences are largely governed by our unique context, or memory of a place, a time, a sound and these unconsciously direct our hearing of everything. All I am doing as the composer of this piece is choosing to highlight specific sounds that surround us all of the time and that have some connection with our history as Irish people. i hope that through these decisions you can embark on 1 of many potential sonic trips. The music is designed to 1st root us in this stunning gaol space and then gradually move away into a realm of real but reimagined spaces. Every so often I remind you of where you started from, but even this grounding changes based on where else we’ve been. 
I ask that you consider this space, consider the mode of radio and its unique ability to reach out and connect us. I ask you to really listen.

hearspace 2014

hearspace from 2014 is an interactive piece of radio art composed for and through Irish radio by Karen Power.

On March 23rd @ 9pm RTÉ lyric fm acted as a live conduit, through which Karen Power  composed and performed a new composition for radio based on the idea of exploring the sounds of a particular time, place and memory.

hearspace explores, isolates and uses specific RTÉ sound archives as a means of grounding listeners to a particular time, place and memory. These voices or sounds of Ireland, which are combined with Karen’s own sounds recorded throughout the world; from The Arctic to Laos, will bring listeners on real and imagined sonic journeys from their past and into their future. This work also features archival materials from other European Radio stations who were invited to submit their sonic snapshots.

Radio exists without visual cues, allowing listeners to form their own unique relationships with sounds from the privacy of their kitchen, bedroom, cow shed or shower! RTÉ Lyric fm and Karen Power invited the audience to share their listening experiences with them and become a live part of the premier performance of hearspace. When radio is being received in a space it simply enters and shares space with everything else around it. (Unlike a piece of concert music, which expects silence and your full attention.) The result is that radio sounds move frequently and freely between the background and foreground of a space. Karen wants listeners to consciously consider this fact and to share your chosen radio listening space with her, which in turn was possibly added to the composition during the live broadcast.

Karen Power’s website

Karen Power on SoundCloud