Maia Urstad & Karen Werner
Talks and readings

This recording will be streamed live her and be made available later, on Vimeo, Youtube, Facebook and on the programme page for the series.

Maia Urstad in conversation with Karen Werner

MAIA URSTAD (Bergen, Norway) works at the intersection of audio and visual art. Technological progress and communications technology are pervasive themes in her projects, which use radio as a key audio, visual and conceptual element in order to comment on the temporary nature of present technology and examine what traces and stories we leave behind when new inventions enter our daily lives. Her work has been presented in established venues as well as site-specific locations since 1987. She was appointed City Sound Artist of Bonn (DE, 2017) and awarded the Rune Brynestad Memorial Grant (NO, 2019). Her most recent solo and collaborative projects include: The XIV Biennial of Media Art(CL), Kabuso (NO), Bonnhoeren (DE), Struer Tracks (DK), and has ongoing collaborations with Anton Kats and Eva Rowson (Mækur), Hilde Hauan, and part of Freq_out and freq_wave curated by CM von Hausswolff.

KAREN WERNER (Massachusetts, USA and Bergen, Norway) is a radio artist and sociologist. Her radio pieces have been broadcast widely on community and public radio stations and have been part of live events and art exhibitions. Her recent work is in live performance: sound installation meets experimental documentary with transmitters and radios. As of spring 2020, she is an Artistic Research Fellow at KMD in Bergen, Norway, where she is developing her long-term project “Strange Radio” about forced migration, radio, the stranger and voice. “Strange Radio” began in Vienna as a series of broadcasts on Orange 94.0fm and Österreichischer Rundfunk and as public sound installations at the MuseumQuartier’s Tonspur Kunstverein Wien.


Maia Urstad and Karen Werner are both radio artists creatively interacting with archives. Urstad’s radio art practice draws on her extensive practice of recording and collecting radiophonic signals, morse code transmissions, time tones and multiple languages heard on the radio. In 2017 Urstad also worked with the archive of Deutsche Welle, a German state-run broadcast station, to create a 40 channel sound installation and radio broadcast called “Zeit-Ton-Passagen” Werner’s “Strange Radio” project brought her to the Archive of the Jewish Community of Vienna and to the Phonogram Archive of the Austrian Academy of Science to create a set of broadcasts and public sound installations. As the 2019-2020 Wave Farm Radio Artist Fellow, Werner also recently curated a living radio art archive.

In this sonically rich dialogue, Urstad and Werner weave together insights about archives and air waves as private and public spaces; about intuition in collecting and responding to archival research; about archiving as a speculative practice; about listening and vulnerability; about radiophonic experiences of time and space and about utopian longings for connectivity. Signals and Connections borrows its title from a composition by Halim El-Dabh.

“Signals and Connections: Archival Processes” is created and produced by Karen Werner and Maia Urstad.
Mastered by Njål Paulsberg.

Source sounds: (in order of appearance)
“The Future of Radio” (2006, inspired by V. Klebnikov’s 1921 manifesto) by Miguel Molina & Leopoldo Amigo, released on Baku: Symphony Of Sirens. Sound Experiments In The Russian Avant Garde

“Signals and Connections” (2009) by Halim El-Dabh, released on Total Satisfaction

“Biegga, jietna, mikrofuvdna ja mobiilatelfovdna/ Wind, voice, microphone and mobile phone” (2019) by Elina Waage Mikalsen, with permission of the artist

“Zeit-Ton-Passagen” (2017/2018) by Maia Urstad, commissioned by Bonnhoeren and Beethoven Foundation.

“Lecha Dodi” (1913) sung by Viennese cantor Jakob Bauer, Number 1752, Phonogrammarchiv Wien Archive

“Exodus” (1911) sung in Palestine, Number 1804, Phonogrammarchiv Wien Archive

“Haus, Part 1: Covenant of the Tongue” (2017) by Karen Werner with artistic contributions by Reisa Mukamal and Yuval Katz

“Haus, Part 2: Zirkus” (2018) by Karen Werner with artistic contributions by Benjy Fox-Rosen, Elisabeth Kelvin, der Sprechchor directed by Bruno Pisek, Marion Werner and Reni Hofmüller, commissioned by Tonspur Kunstverein Wien.

“Ether / Stations” (1998) by Maia Urstad

“Meanwhile in Shanghai” (2011) by Maia Urstad

In response to the limitations in our live program capabilities in 2020, Bergen Kunsthall has produced a new series of recorded talks and readings with local and international artists and writers, developing a dialogue surrounding our exhibition program and exploring practices of local artists which we will be presenting to wider online audiences.

This new series utilises the input of artists and writers to initiate dialogues in connection with our current exhibition program and expands upon themes socially and politically relevant within their own studio practices. Artists invited in the series include Annette Kierulf, Kobie Nel, Elsebet Rahlff and Maia Urstad, with three readings provided by Lisa Robertson, Elvia Wilk and Rebecca Tamás.

Release dates and times:

Mon 28 Jun 18.00
Lisa Robertson, Weeds: For the Natufians

Wed 1 Jul 18.00
Elvia Wilk, Reading from Oval

Sat 4 Jul 18.00
Maia Urstad in conversation with Karen Werner
Maia Urstad in conversation with Karen Werner

Mon 6 Jul 18.00
Kobie Nel in conversation with Julie Lillelien Porter

Wed 8 Jul 18.00
Rebecca Tamás, Reading from Witch

Sat 11 Jul 18.00
Annette Kierulf in conversation with Axel Wieder

Mon 13 Jul 18.00
Elsebet Rahlff in conversation with Eva Rowson

Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Re-Imagine Europe is initiated by Sonic Acts (NL) and coordinated by Paradiso (NL) in collaboration with Elevate Festival (AT), Lighthouse (UK), INA GRM (FR), Kontejner (HR), Landmark / Bergen Kunsthall (NO), A4 (SK), Disruption Network Lab (DE) and Ràdio Web MACBA (ES)

In their recorded conversation, ‘Signals and Connections: Archival Processes’, Maia Urstad and Karen Werner explore airwaves as private and public spaces, archives, and much more, contextualised within their long-standing practices concerning radio as art.