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Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Artist to release CD of silence
Rogalsky: Hopes to create
Rogalsky: Hopes to create "an image in negative"
A set of CDs featuring silence gathered from BBC Radio 4 broadcasts is to be released by a Canadian artist and sold for 300.

Matt Rogalsky, 35, is planning to edit out all the voices and music from a 24-hour period of Radio 4 output and create 24 sets of 24 CDs - one for each hour of the day.

He thought up the project after hearing that American radio stations are editing out gaps in broadcasts in order to squeeze in more adverts.

It's perhaps not the kind of thing to listen to like a piece of music

Matt Rogalsky
What is left after cutting out words and music are "ambient sounds" that people do not usually focus on, he said.

"So with the Archers you have farmyard ambient noise.

"I don't know if you would describe it as relaxing to listen to, I'm aiming it to be an artistic collection," he said.

His website says the result will be "an image in negative of our everyday experience".

Rogalsky, who is based in Cambridge, will crop the silences from programmes aired on 12 December - the 100th anniversary of Marconi's first ever transatlantic wireless broadcast.

'Slightly ludicrous'

The project is named S because Marconi's transmission consisted of that letter repeated three times at hourly intervals.

"The idea might seem slightly ludicrous, but even if it were absolute silence I think it would bear serious consideration," Mr Rogalsky said.

A spokesperson for Radio 4 said their official statement was silence.

Previous works have included frames of people blinking
Previous works have included frames of people blinking
But they did say they were aware of the project and were treating it in a light-hearted way, despite the fact that it is illegal.

Tests have shown that every hour yields about 20 minutes of silence or ambient sounds, Mr Rogalsky said.

"It's perhaps not the kind of thing to listen to like a piece of music."

He is using a computer program called SuperCollider that will automatically isolate the silences.

"It adjusts itself to the loudness of the radio signal. Once it is running I have very little to do - just sit back and enjoy the silence," he said.


Mr Rogalsky gave a graduate seminar on radio silence at the Darlington College of Art on Tuesday.

His previous works include video stills of newsreaders and politicians with their eyes closed and an installation in the foyer of Cambridge University's business school, where the sound and light fluctuated, triggered by real-time fluctuations in the world currency markets.

In May, a UK gallery displayed jars containing an artist's breath, while another exhibition presented visitors with whitewashed walls and asked them to conjure up images from written descriptions.

Charting its past, present and digital future
See also:

10 May 01 | Arts
Hot air over breathy show
19 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Imaginary art show opens
12 Oct 01 | Arts
The Brits and modern art
23 Jan 01 | UK
Where has wireless been?
22 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
How did broadcasting begin?
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