Tetsuo Kogawa – Radio-art


UV Éditions, ISBN-13: 978-2956275329, French, 312 pages, 2019, France

There are very few radical and outstanding figures like Tetsuo Kogawa in media art. His work on radio as a liberating medium in unparalleled as a personal endeavour. Through his work in micro-radio, he started and triggered the vast Japanese free radio movement, and has, for decades, developed theories and practices on radio as both a political and artistic medium. His libertarian and activist approach is well documented in this book. In the first part (“Akiba”) he recounts the history of Akihabara, Tokyo’s ‘electronic district’, since the 1960s where he sourced the transmitters and receivers. This also includes material describing both the evolution of technical and legal workarounds for his broadcasting. Kogawa defined broadcasting as a ’polymorphic space’, and began to collaborate with similar pirate/free radio situations abroad. In the second part of the book are five of his most significant texts, including his seminal manifestoes about micro-radio and radio art. This publication, covering four decades of activities, is coordinated by Pali Meursault, who writes a comprehensive introduction, including an unpublished interview he did with Félix Guattari, new texts by John Duncan and Elisabeth Zimmermann, and a rich set of black and white photographs, ending with the iconic instructions on how to build a simple FM transmitter’. Published in French, hopefully it will be soon translated into English.