Day #4: THE BUILD!

Ever since the first presentation in class about the Netherlands trip, I think Annet and Ryan have been trying to prepare/warn us about how intense the build day at WdKA was going to be. But I think we all just kind of wrote it off because, well, we’ve all had plenty of long workdays in the studio, and how different could it really be? So we arrived on Tuesday, kind of sleepy, but overall feeling good and ready to work…

… And then build day proceeded to kick all our butts.

I think the difference between build day and just a regular long day in the studio came down to a couple key factors:

  • When you’re doing your own work, you presumably already know what you’re doing, whether you already understand the technique you’re employing or the concept that you’re ultimately working towards.
  • You’re usually not having to collaborate/negotiate with ~11 other people, over half of whom you may have just met for the first time that morning.
  • The facilities available are usually already well known to you when working in your own space.

And those were just the baseline challenges facing us without even adding on the actual creative challenge yet.

On the previous day when Simone and Johanna had been giving the presentation about the problems the four different groups were going to be tackling, I had been immediately drawn to the “Post Radio Arsthetics” proposition. It seemed like the one most associated with making radio into artwork, although all four groups ended up achieving that in the end.

Fortunately, I ended up getting to work in that group. The first thing that happened was Jon giving us a baggie of electrical components and tasking us with building an FM receiver at the very least.

After that, we discussed some general concepts for a bit, then realized it’d be more efficient to split into a few subgroups to each start tackling the various aspects of the project- building the receiver circuit, generating and overall concept, etc.

Because I have had a decent amount of experience with reading schematics and electrical circuitry, I ended up heading up the building-the-receiver group. It’d been a little while since I’d done any circuitry wiring, but everything came back pretty well and the parts I was foggy on, Alan and Tim were a big help with, and we got a prototype working on a breadboard pretty quickly.


By that time, the coming-up-with-a-concept team had, well, come up with a concept. We decided we were going to translate the picked up radio waves into sound recordings, which would be transformed into a graphic image, which would then be again transformed into various physical objects to represent the radio waves.

We ended up running into some snags with our plan and some delays and ended up having to change some things. Because of the delays, a few of us decided to come in early the next day and finish everything up for the display.

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