Radio Propaganda

Sound design and engineering – multimedia artist Simona Blahutová (CZE)

Site-specific audio mash-up from radio archives /re-radiation/; Records of the past and living memory on radio broadcasting during the Cold
War era. The Cold War theme was set at intersection of authors and in a long term it focuses on tensions between one's own existence, historical
conditions and political situation on the one side and the place of exposition – the city of Berlin – which was divided into East and West, was
the very exact frontier of the divided world of the Cold War era.

The author, painter and multimedia artist Simona Blahutová (Prague, CZE) was born in the Czechoslovak socialistic republic /ČSSR/ in the
late Cold War era). Through this elaborated audio installation, she renders ambivalent feelings which she felt like a little child when she was
listening to the omnipresent state-controlled radio broadcasting. She reflects historical (dobový= period) heterogeneous mixture of
contradictory moods present in the radio broadcasting. The optimistic, romantic and “easy-going” popular music on the one side and the
horrific, hateful and absurd propagandistic news (incomprehensible for the child she was) on the other side.

The form of the audio Mash-Up genre has opted (chosen) as a form to enable to draw that doubled schism present on the both sides of the
divided world. The genuine audio mash-up which uses quotations and samples from the radio broadcasting of those times you could
perceive…that laughter and great expectations were always served with the taste of total disaster and spiced by the breath – of one's own
death. This shades of ambivalence and contradictions theme could be found at the core of many major pieces of art in history. The presented
audio piece joins this existential stream.

© Michal Tošner, social anthropologist and art theorist / Prague 13/9/19/



Cold War(m) Radiation / Comprehensive Poem of the Theorist
Once upon a Cold War, be happy or die…
Once upon a radio, Cold War’s disco rocket,
Atomic Pop / Die Atombombe.
Money in the pocket.
Apocalypse now?
– No. Not yet!

The total disaster was a common talk.
When songs of Modern Talking,
were hits no.1 in
– the pop-music charts.

East and West once were rivals,
Which political system prevails?
Which one will offer better lives?
Who will gain a better future,
when there is none?
Nuclear disaster is possible.
– Nothing could be done.

Maria Magdalena,
the song on the radio
sang by romantic
beauty pop-star Sandra.
But what you heard behind
was nothing else, than
– the prophecy of Cassandra!

In divided world there was,
di-vision of the ways of life
Of the yuppies and of the communists.
Freedom contra totalities,
both ultimately hypocrites
– it was a lie and a lie.

Russian Vodka and
as well as
– American Pie…

Obsessed by labelling,
who is a friend and who is a foe?
Iran or Iraq? West of East?
Listening child hardly could know.
Half of Germans – our allies!
And half belonging to the foe.
What a game! Tic tac toe!
Occupied Prague, then
was suffering and mutedly cry
– Ivan! Go Home!

Propaganda's daily portion
Broadcasted by the radio.
Conflict contradiction
Nuclear armament killing potential,
far over the ratio.
Madonna's new release Like a Virgin
just broadcasted at the same moment,
when humanity and its fate,
– was raped.

Clash of superpowers. USA vs. USSR!
Radioactive propaganda: On-Air!
Nuclear tests deadly beautiful
mushrooms on screens!
Nuclear rockets dispositions On-Air!
Radio Free Europe, Radio Moscow…
(In the meantime, Deutsche Welle
presents advertisements for the Quelle.)
– Love is in the air!

Tape auto-reverse and political perverse,
new fun and fear were introduced,
both well produced. Flash dance,
of bomb was more thrilling…
than Michael Jackson's Thriller.
Beautiful Life by Black, there is no way back
Jolly Taxi by Vanessa Paradise!
– Paradise lost.

Nuclear overkill became available.
“Hands of leaders”, radio voice clearly said,
Either in Moscow and in Washington
Ready, steady on the Red Button...
Radioactivity and radio-waves have no borders. Beware
wrong orders! The bomb you´ve sent will soon
– hit your own back.

That news was sad: the end of the world
was for once set – true Box of Pandora.
Fortunately, soon after, Russian “geroy” Ivan
was defeated once for good
– by Rocky Balboa.

Cold War ended just in the moment
Called the Fall of the Berlin Wall
History records the year 1989
Berlin, that’s the place where Cold War finally,
found its own end.
– Ich bin ein Berliner!

Like the coin flips the sides.
When “the Times Go By”,
Goodbye Lenin, Hallo Marx.
Still living in the rotting capitalism,
not as expected
– on planet Mars.

No alternative, no way out so fast.
Back – not to the future – to the past.
Towards the end, we are heading fast.
The world will as we knew it
– will no longer last!

© Michal Tošner (CZE, UHK)