Dust FM: Guide to a Static Mixtape Assembly*

A collective process of listening-from-a-distance
led by Thandi Loewenson and David Roberts

The silence between songs can’t be modulated by anything other than held breath. You have to sit and wait, time the release of the pause button to the last tenth of a second so that the gap between each track is a smooth purr, a TDK or Memorex your masterwork. Don’t talk to me about your MP3 player, how, given the limitless choice, you hardly ever listen to one song for more than two minutes at a time. Do you know about stealing double As from the TV remote so you can listen to last night’s clandestine effort on the walk to school? You say you love music. Have you suffered the loss of a cassette so gnarled by a tape deck’s teeth it refuses to play the beat you’ve come to recognise by sound and not name? Have you carried that theme in your head these years in the faint hope you might know it when it finds you, in a far-flung café, as you stand to pay, frozen, and the barista has to ask if you’re okay? 

‘Guide to Proper Mixtape Assembly’ from ‘Kumukanda’, by Kayo Chingonyi

Dust FM: Guide to Static Mixtape Assembly took the form of a collective process of listening-from-a-distance to the 20 radio stations in Egypt available on radio.garden, first alone and then together. Workshop participants were invited to select and listen to a radio station from this list, tune into it over the coming days, and then record a 20 second sample and a separate 10 second personal reflection on this act of listening in. We invited participants to join us in attending to the sounds carried on Egypt’s radio waves, the silences between songs, and the atmospheric noise - the spherics and static of the universe –  which are held within this air. 

*(shout out Kayo Chingonyi)

A contribution to ‘A Quarantine Marathon: Dialogues with Dust’, hosted by the Graduate School of Architecture, Unit 18, led by Huda Tayob and Sarah de Villiers. This event - a truly astonishing act of gathering in the time of the Rona – brought together thinkers, activists, artists and architectural practitioners from around the world in the collective act of making and sensing a place from afar.