UCSB student-run radio station KCSB will host an interactive radio art program called “Picnic Revolution” today at noon in Storke Plaza.
Neighborhood Public Radio organized the open event as part of KCSB’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration and Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum’s “Wireless” exhibition. Participants are encouraged to bring handheld radios and picnic lunches and create their own broadcasts over a toll-free number.
Exhibition curator and UCSB alumna Elizabeth Lovero, who worked at both KCSB and the Daily Nexus, said the political history of the picnic makes it a symbol of solidarity in favor of public rights.
“The history of the word ‘picnic’ is a reference to the time following the French Revolution,” Lovero said. “Prior to the revolution, the monarchy owned all the parks and public lands. After the revolution happened, the people had rights to the land and parks and would bring their plates of food and have meals in these newly public spaces to demonstrate their ownership.”
According to Lovero, the aptly-nicknamed “Occupy the Airwaves” will use analog synthesizers and looping broadcasting streams — a process classified as a quadraphonic radio — to create a live composition broadcast at a low FM frequency.
“There will be four areas marked out in the plaza; people will bring boomboxes, sit with them and make the whole space of Storke a large quadraphonic stereo,” Lovero said. “There is a 1-800 number where you can call in and they live mix your voice into the audio. They’ll also have a live mix of sounds from surrounding people walking or biking past.”
KCSB General Manager and fourth-year sociology major Eric Wolff said the program puts a unique twist on the occupation theme by projecting a range of public expression from the heart of campus.
“It’s an amplification of sonic art and speaks to the idea of taking control of our public resources — something that has been highlighted in the Occupy movement so far,” Wolff said.
According to Wolff, “Picnic Revolution” will underscore the station’s strong roots in the campus community.
“We are really excited to put this event on, mainly because it highlights our participatory and inclusive nature,” Wolff said at Wednesday night’s Associated Students Legislative Council meeting. “We get regular people, students [and] community members to have their opinions on air. At the event, people can call in and contribute or participate by bringing a radio.”
Fourth-year chemistry major Dmitriy Gekker said “Picnic Revolution” should be appreciated as an original way to channel a political message as well as an impressive display of technological prowess.
“I think anything that gets students involved is fantastic, especially when it’s something that’s fun,” Gekker said. “It seems like a really technical endeavor, which I completely support, as the chair of the Technology Services Committee.”
Gekker said the program provides students an opportunity to gain firsthand experience in the communications field.
“It sounds great; we should have more events like this,” Gekker said. “From the whole technology standpoint, I think it’s fantastic that students get involved with KCSB because it teaches them interesting technology like broadcasting, but it’s also a great opportunity for anyone who wants a career hosting a show or being in radio.”