International Biennial of Contemporary Art Ljubljana,
23 June - 24 September 2000
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Cankarjev Dom
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Daniel Jewesbury
  *1972, lives in Belfast

Exchange 2000, 1999-2000, sound project

The project consists of four radio receivers broadcasting a short programme. It takes the form of a discussion between six people who talk about the problem of immigrants, racial prejudice, multiculturalism and the meaning of national affiliation. The exhibit at first seems spontaneous, but when one of the participants begins to talk in his national language and the moderator of the discussion immediately begins to interpret, the listener has doubts about the spontaneity of the discussion. As this procedure is repeated to the end of the discussion, the listener very soon realises that the programme has been minutely scripted. Thus the question of the objectivity of radio as a medium is exposed. Marshall McLuhan classified radio among the cold media. These are the media that normally involve only one of the human senses, but provide a great deal of information. Thus they demand only limited human participation, so that the observer or viewer becomes a passive participant. Radio undoubtedly falls into this category, as the participant is only required to listen, and there is almost no participation or communication. The authors of radio programming can thus be quite misleading in their broadcasts, which is made possible by the radio as a non-communication medium. And this is precisely the shortcoming that the project Exchange 2000 exposes. In order to prevent this kind of misunderstanding, Bertold Brecht proposed a new function for radio: it should become a public communication system with the possibility of active participation of listeners, who would not merely listen, but would also have a chance to express their opinion. Daniel Jewesbury considers radio as a medium with which the listeners prefer to participate, rather than with some kind of silent monument which requires thinking or contemplation. For this reason, he prepared the project Exchange 2000, inspired by a feeling of unease as a citizen of "righteous" Europe, with four radio receivers.

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