magi*k is an interactive exhibition about the history of mass media emergence in Bucharest. We begin with the art deco radio antennas and reach the contemporary era, when the city is plugged in to the global network.
Modulab & Zeppelin created these stories full of humor, art and technology about fragments of architecture and personal narratives, an unusual exploration of a hidden city visible in crafted antennas, neighborhood networks, white noise on the TV and in the colored pixels of today’s magical world.
Today we see a diversity of antennas on rooftops in Bucharest which seem meaningless objects but they speak about the technological phenomenon with the greatest impact on society: the emergence of media culture. This history starts in the 20s when the radio appeared in Bucharest and the antennas where a symbol of an epoch-making technological advancement, proudly displayed in the art deco architecture and on modernist buildings. After the war, when radio and tv became mainstream, in Romania of the communist buildings appear makeshift antennas, crafted to access as many posts as a form of resistance to the country’s political isolation. Right after the 90s they are replaced by parabolic antennas and subsequently by cable and, today, optical fiber.
We begin with this documentary that highlights both the architecture and the artifacts of those times – radios and appliances, advertisements that show the domestic universe created by technology. Pointing out links between various moments in time and architecture (modernist villas, apartment blocks etc) and the visual vocabulary of antennas, we also bring forward the connection between various creative practices, form architecture to product or graphic design, and deeper cultural layers – social practices and rearrangements of domestic life.
The visual history of the city written in antennas and cables is complemented by installations that will make us experience the buzzing of the signal and of the invisible waves that carry information and changed our lives. The five interactive installations, a docufiction about Bucharest’s history, from radio to internet:
“The Dark Radio” is the equivalent of Dark Web, the frequencies that are hidden from our radio receivers and the content they crypt.
“Estalgic TV” is a portal to a past when hearing a shout in the neighborhood that announced “Cartoons” or “Dallas!” was enough to empty the parks and the playgrounds, but also when you had to adjust the antenna constantly to get rid of the the static noise (called “fleas” in popular language).
“Lambda (λ)” shows you the hidden beauty of trigonometric wave symmetries that make telecommunications possible.
“RF278” captures all the waves in the visitors’ purses and pockets, send out by their gadgets and illustrates them in real time in a spectacular manner.
“Cosmic Soup” adds a cosmic dimension, literally, to the exhibition by viewing real-time radiation coming from stars in the farthest corners of the galaxy.
Magi*k exhibition is part of the Creative Sweden #3 program, organized by the Swedish Embassy in Romania and Zeppelin Association
Main partner: ABB
Sponsors: Absolut, H&M, Husqvarna, IKEA, Volvo
Supported by: Ecolor, Ericsson, Scania, Securitas, Skanska, Volvo Trucks, Zewa
Curators: Ioana Calen, Constantin Goagea, Cosmina Goagea
Texts brochure & exhibition: Ioana Calen, Constantin Goagea
Exhibition design: Constantin Goagea, Ștefan Păvăluță, Paul Popescu
Interactive installations: Modulab – Paul Popescu, Matei Popescu, Ana Carlan, Elena Carlan, Răzvan Petre, Răzvan Gorgan
Graphic design & projections: Radu Manelici, Ștefan Păvăluță, Constantin Goagea
Potos: Ioana Andra Staicu, Mihai Șom, Mircea Barac
Drawings & illustrations: Eliza Cernătescu, Anca Florina Georgiu, Anca Dumitrache, Alexandru Barat,
Research, documentation: Mădălina Bombărescu, Ana Maria Sabău, Ioana Alexandra Staicu, Constantin Goagea
Comumunication: Mugur Grosu, Andreea Ilinca
Special thanks for contributions and discussions about the art deco antennas and about radio & tv during communism:
Adrian Bădescu – bucurestiivechisinoi.ro
Vasile Isache – tvarheolog.wordpress.com
Florian Ungur – the house0museum Radio-nostalgia, Brusturi
magi*k exhibition is organized together the National Museum of Contemporary Art.
Cultural project financed under the Cultural Program “Bucharest – In-visible city”
Cultural project co-funded by the National Cultural Fund Administration – NCFA/ The project does not necessarily represent the position of the National Cultural Fund
Administration. NCFA is not responsible for the content of the project or for the way the results are used. These fall under the whole responsibility of the beneficiary