Agustina Woodgate is based in Miami, Florida, and Buenos Aires. In a recent project, she and her team produced Radio Espacio Estacion (Radio EE), a 4-day online radio show for Auto Body, a performance-based exhibition featuring the work of more than 30 women artists. Our conversation—and Woodgate’s temporal Auto Body broadcast—took place on Miami Beach, during Miami Art Week, December 2014.
Sound Editor: Kris McConnachie
CATHY BYRD: Agustina Woodgate is an artist based in Miami, Florida, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. In a recent project, she and her team produced an online radio show for four days during Auto Body, a performance-based exhibition featuring the work of more than 30 women artists. Her broadcasts and our conversation took place on Miami Beach during Art Week in December 2014. On the coast of South Florida, her station popped up in what was once the office of a former car repair shop. She transformed the abandoned space into a studio by adding recording equipment and four bucket seats. One click and Radio Espacio Estacion was on the air.
AGUSTINA WOODGATE: It really blew my mind to find out that I can download an application on my computer, press a button, and be live to the world. A round table, some car seats, and some good conversation — though not every radio show is conversation. I think I have about 35 guests, one guest an hour, ranging from conversation to sound experiments to music and bands, and the topics are inspired by the location. Usually that’s how the show works.
CB: Agustina’s radio projects are site-sensitive. She designs her programming in response to exhibition themes and the environments in which they are presented. For Agustina, presenting a fluid bilingual show is critically important.
AW: This radio broadcast has a particularity in that it is bilingual. In this way, the broadcast happens in two languages at the same time. What this means is that at the same time es que, de repente, hablo un poco en español, y la conversación sigue en español. And then I flip to English again, and there is never a translation, just the idea. The experiment is integration.
CB: You’ve got this live broadcast—who listens?
AW: In every city that I broadcast, I somehow collect the locals and then they follow me to the next one and then follow me to —and on like that. I do a lot of online distribution, because it is an online radio show. I’d rather keep the online distribution, the online promotion. Then you are just one click away. It is also a conscious decision, a very thoughtful decision to do a radio show that only exists online. There is an intention of hosting an online event and somehow challenging what it means to gather online.
CB: Before going on the air, you do tons of research.
AW: Every time I put up a broadcast, I go to school all over again because I have to do so much research for every guest I am inviting, or the topic itself. And not only the topic itself, but also the branches [of information or thought] that might affect the topic, so that the show can be a healthy conversation addressed from different perspectives.
CB: Featuring women exclusively, her program captured the sound of Auto Body performances and the voices of local musicians, a transportation planner, an immigration lawyer, and a car mechanic, among others. Each day, she broadcast a series of hour-long conversations and streaming audio of art and music performances.
AW: The way that I have been building up the programming was inspired by movement. Auto body parts seemed right. When I say movement, I think about movement within Miami and in-and-out of Miami. When thinking about within it, of course the car industry is at the base of it, where I am at right now. But then I also want to consider other ways of addressing the topic of movement in relationship to the automobile industry, labor, and the economy. I have, for example, a guest from the Underline project, which is a new project that is about to begin. It’s a proposal to be built underneath the Metrorail. It’s sort of like a High Line, but an underline.
CB: Agustina has produced her event-based shows seven times in the U.S. and Europe. The broadcast before Auto Body was a 24-hour marathon in Washington, D.C. The theme: daylight saving time.
AW: The last one I did was commissioned by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. It was really an incredible experience. It was a 25-hour marathon, 25 hours nonstop, roving the geometry of the city. At every stop, I had a different guest. The whole broadcast was on daylight saving on November 2, the day that actually has 25 hours. That is why I was broadcasting for 25 hours, and the topic was time: the politics of time, the policies of time, how time affects economy, how time affects astronomy, and the city itself.
CB: In Washington, D.C., one of the stops was at noon at the National Cathedral, where a society of bell ringers was performing.
AW: They ring the bells every Sunday, but one of them came down to speak with me while they were still ringing so I would have the background noise while we were in conversation. They have nothing to do with the cathedral itself anymore. They just use the tower because it has the bells.
Historically, priests were the timekeepers of the town. They would use the bell to keep track of when to pray or when to wake up — so that was one of the first timekeeping tools we have used. The monasteries would be the ones producing the watches, so the priest would have the clock, so then he would ring the bell. And nowadays, the bells are not being used like that. But then you have these other groups that just get together every Tuesday to rehearse and every Sunday to ring the bells. They have these crazy mathematical patterns, and it’s a whole society of ringing.
CB: RadioEE.net is that perfect fusion—a way to channel contemporary technology, the voice, and her imagination.
AW: This channel is not visual. Sound is important, and imagination is a very big component of my end result, always. I think that not having the visual, but just the storytelling, is something I wouldn’t want to disappear.
CB: This May, Agustina follows the exhibition Auto Body to Buenos Aires. Her recording studio will be set up near the Port Authority and the Department of Immigration. Visit RadioEE.net or freshartinternational.com to learn more about Agustina’s live internet broadcast series.