If Radio Waves Play in the Forest and No One Is Around to Hear Them …

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 5 2014 8:50 AM

If Radio Waves Play in the Forest and No One Is Around to Hear Them …

Uninhabited forests aren't usually known for their radio stations.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Sound artist Stuart McLean is working on collecting original, never-before-heard music for a blowout radio broadcast. It’s going to be an amazing show. And if you want to hear, it you have to journey to one of the darkest places in Scotland.

McLean's project, Dark.Outside., explores the concept of content sharing and how easy it is to access pretty much anything online. McLean is in the process of collecting unreleased music for the third annual Dark.Outside. and will use an FM transmitter to broadcast the jams he collects into Scotland’s Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park on the day of Sept. 27. You can’t tune in without getting off the couch and trekking to the forest.


In 2012 McLean had six people listening, but last year Dark.Outside. had as many as 600 listeners at certain points because it was part of the Environmental Arts Festival Scotland. On the Dark.Outside. website, McLean explains, “music that nobody has heard before will be playing for 24 hours to a small audience of goats, red kites, deer and assorted wildlife.”

McLean will accept original, unheard tracks under 30 minutes until Sept. 22 and already has a long list of contributors. He told Motherboard that his goal every year is to see whether people will “leave the comfort of their own homes to travel into a forest, clamber up a hill and listen to music they've never heard before.” New music and assorted wildlife: an Internet denizen’s dream come true.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.


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