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Radio Silence

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Conceived by artist Michael Rakowitz, Radio Silence returns famed Iraqi broadcaster Bahjat Abdulawahed to the airwaves after decades of absence in the surreal world of “Radio Baghdad.” Bringing together the voices and talents of Iraqi refugees, Iraq War veterans, and musicians and performers, the program weaves elements of experimental documentary, radio plays, sound collage, and variety programs to frame the real experiences and talents of participants and reconstruct an Iraq dematerialized by literal destruction and diasporic separation.

Material is drawn from their own experiences in Iraq, America, and in between–from the progressive Iraq of the 1960s, to the decimation of physical and emotional landscapes during and after the 2003 American invasion and subsequent war in Iraq, to the realities of life in the United States, post-immigration and/or post-war. The program animates Iraq through scattered protagonists, conflating geography, time, and experience, as the audio (ranging from field recording and first-person narrative to music and poetry), layers like fragments of excavated artifacts.

We are building a national (and international) network of broadcast partners who want to participate in a groundbreaking performance and radio project by Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz. Radio Silence will launch with a live performance on Independence Mall in Philadelphia on July 29, with a special ten-episode radio event to follow, produced in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia. Rakowitz is an internationally acclaimed artist, working across performance, social practice, and installation, who conceived this site-specific project as a response to the context of Philadelphia—living home of American history, site of a large Iraqi refugee community, and home to both Warrior Writers and the Prometheus Radio project. The project can be seen as an alternative form of public art—trading the street corner for the public airwaves, and representation via images for evocation via voice and sound.


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Trailer for Radio Silence series

  • Added: Jun 05, 2017
  • Length: 03:53