TTW#53 – Ray Gallon – Nam June Paik – A Work for Radio
This hour-long compositional documentary was produced for the CBC Radio Series “Signature,” and was originally broadcast on April 28, 1979. It was nominated for an ACTRA award for best radio documentary of the year. It is the result of a remarkable creative collaboration by artists such as John Cage, Charlotte Moorman, Philip Corner, and Nam June Paik himself with the author. Interspersed throughout the portrait are audio realisations by Ray Gallon of conceptual works by Nam June Paik. Thanks also to Lorne Tulk for remarkable engineering and creative contributions, and to Digby Peers for the courage to broadcast it.
Author and producer: Ray Gallon. Mix engineer: Lorne Tulk. Additional technical assistance: John Hollinger. Narration: Ray Gallon, Russ Germain. Series producer: Digby Peers.
Ray Gallon has been a communicator for over 40 years, half of that time as a radio producer and audio artist. Although he had a classical music education, Ray gravitated early towards the avant-garde, and was fascinated by musique concrète, electronic music, so-called progressive jazz, and the multitrack experiments of the rock revolution in the sixties. His first exposure, on television, to the work of John Cage came very close to the moment when he wandered into a cinema by chance, and saw Fellini’s 8 1/2. The one-two punch of these experiences left him delirious for the rest of his life.
Ray studied theatre design at the University of Alberta, and helped found Theatre 3, Edmonton’s second professional theatre company. He worked for many years in Toronto as a lighting and sound designer for theatre and performance art. As a radio producer he has worked in almost every department at CBC Radio except hard news. He was nurtured by Glenn Gould’s experiments with “compositional documentaries,” and developed his own style, inspired by Gould’s work. In 1980 Ray moved from Toronto to New York and joined with Julia Lee Prospero and Brian Flahive to form The Airworks Group. Together, they produced innovative documentary and radio art programmes for NPR in the U.S. and for independent public radio distribution, most notably the Airworks series of original commissioned works for radio in different disciplines. Ray joined the staff of public radio station WNYC in New York as a producer, and eventually became the station’s programme manager, guiding a programme schedule built around the creativity of 20th century music, art, and drama.
In the late 80s Ray’s focus turned towards new media, communications art, and computers. After moving to France in 1992, he continued to produce audio art and radio while teaching courses in new media and working as a technical communicator. Ray is currently a researcher with The Transformation Society, and shares his life between Barcelona, Spain, and the Languedoc region of France.
The Wire (UK):
An hour-long audio documentary about the Fluxus great Nam June Paik. Includes interviews with Charlotte Moorman, John Cage, Philip Corner and many more, plus commentary, music and all sorts of other stuff. Supremely interesting.