Sunday, 2 December 2012

The last days of Radio Eris

Radio Eris is still burbling away, but it will shut down for good at midnight on Friday.

If you're not familiar with Radio Eris, it's an algorithmically generated audio stream that takes a bank of samples and the text of KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money, and generates a mix of synthetic readings and cut-up soundscapes as it sees fit. It was built by the artist Shardcore, who talks about it here.

If you are familiar with Radio Eris, then you might like to see what it physically looks like.





As you can see, Radio Eris is running on a cronky old 2006 MacBook sitting on a windowsill in Shardcore's home. The stream, therefore, is entirely dependent on this laptop not being knocked to the ground by the cats that prowl around his house, and its continuing ability to broadcast is very much dependent on the whims of fate.

The existence of Radio Eris has been described as a "bloody clever" and the "best book promo in a long while" which demonstrates a "clear understanding of viral marketing and the target audience." This is all very nice but it is more truthfully the result of a purely reactive marketing non-strategy that consists of saying yes to most things, and very little else. Using this method, it is not necessary to go out and proactively pitch the book to all suitable magazines and blogs. Instead, you go to the pub and, when an artist asks if they can build an algorithmic radio stream based on the book, you respond "Sure," and the next thing you know thousands of people have heard of your book.

Followers of the Church of the Subgenius will recognise this approach as 'Slack,' and it is very effective.

There's been a lovely unpredictable air to the whole thing. People and blogs we thought would love it have paid it no mind, whereas others who we never dreamt would mention it have plugged it like crazy. Even the broadcast itself, which is entirely automated, has been constantly surprisingly. It has refused to pronounce the Discordian word 'catma', for example, and instead replaced it with a barely audible grunt as if to suggest that a catma was a fnord. What's that about? The damn thing acts like it's got a mind of its own.

I highly recommend that you explore the other work of Shardcore, for he has created many strange and memorable things. I personally enjoy the flashing eyes in this portrait of Aleister Crowley:



And enjoy the last few days of Radio Eris, for none of us can say exactly what they will bring.