X C H A N G E -

information & communication channel for creative net broadcasters and audio content providers

Xchange mailinglist is on-line since December 1997, and so far mostly re-lab.net team in Riga/Latvia has maintained it. Xchange web-site is recently (in February 2000) updated (previous: xchange.re-lab.net/index2.html). Also new concept for streaming media portal is being developed in co-operation with some of most active xchange members - radioqualia, x-i.net, zina k., backspace and others. (see test: xchange.x-i.net/test)
In 1998 Xchange project received Award of Distinction in net.category in the competition PRIX Ars Electronica'98.

XCHANGE NETWORK: exploring the acoustic dimensions of the net

Xchange, the net.audio network, emerged from "Xchange on-air session", the 2nd new media festival in Riga "Art + Communication II", which was organised there by the E-Lab artist organisation from November 12 - 14, 1997. In his Xchange on-air session's lecture 'Acoustic Cyberspace', Erik Davis explored the immersive qualities of audio-environments, to find out what audio might mean for our experience of the 'space' of digital networks. His notion of an acoustic (cyber-) space became a guiding idea for the development of the Xchange net.audio network:

"We've seen some interesting experiments and opportunities with the use of RealAudio on the Internet, for example. But, more than that, I'm interested in getting people to think about the larger implications of sound and acoustics. Not as simply a vehicle for communicating information or establishing dialog between far-flung actors; and not simply as electronic music, a genre of activity and expression that, however fascinating, is commodified and compartmentalized from our "other" activities and experiences. A broader understanding of acoustic space is what I'm after: I'm really talking about different dimensions of the kind of subjectivity that we produce in networked environments. This dimension is profound, and we should consider it, work with it, explore it." [...]

XCHANGE OPEN CHANNEL: a space for co-broadcasting experiments and live co-sessions

X-Open Channel was an attempt to develop a co-platform for experimenting with live streams, exploring the feedback mechanism and collaborative broadcasting possibilities.
X-Open Channel experiments most actively happened in 1998 and 1999. Every Tuesday night during the riga net.radio OZOne live sessions call for co-broadcast was announced and everyone could join in the live session with his/her real-audio live stream.

"There are several possibilities for co-streaming*. The simplest one is to mix your sound source with another (one or more) real audio live-stream. In this case each of participants is doing one part of this live session (e.g. one is streaming voice, another - background music). There one can listen two (or more) different streams - the final one with all transmissions mixed together or each 'input' - live stream separately. Another interesting experience of co-streaming is creating the loop. Each broadcaster takes another's live stream, re-encodes it and sends it further for next participant. In this loop sound input is going around and coming back with little delay (5-10 sec.) and it creates multiply sound layers. If sound keeps travelling around, the stream gets more and more noisy, and finally it turns into one continuous noise (it depends also of amount of participants). Another way of using loop-connection is to cut down the feedback, it can be used e.g. for remote interviews and discussions, news exchange, etc." (by Raitis Smits) --> http://re-lab.net/netradio/05/index.html#b


Xchange is not a project with particularly defined structure, it rather aims to provide the context for communication and information exchange among the creative net.broadcasters. Accordingly - the content, form or definitions (about 'what xchange is') can be identified by its' contributors themselves.

"Xchange is 'sovereign media' in the best sense of the word: It is completely useless and has no commercial value. It will never reach a mass-audience, nor does it intend to do so. It is completely international (the network now even extends into Australia, where it has some highly active members), it is non-funded, non-commercial, and has no market-value. It seems to operate on pure enjoyment, and does its very best to escape attempts at a fixed definition".[...]
(by Eric Kluitenberg)

Xchange activities - net.radio meetings, workshops, net broadcasters' events or collaborative broadcasting sessions are initiated by various xchange participants - both net.radio stations and individual broadcasters - E-LAB / OZONE / Riga, BACKSPACE / London, RADIOQUALIA / Adelaide, Zina Kaye / Sydney, RADIO 90 / Banff, MIKRO / Berlin (with its organised "Berlin Net.radio day's'98), and many others. But almost all of the activities initiated via xchange channel are autonomous events, and xchange doesn't aim to become a label. (But it can be used so as well, if somebody likes it).

The only guideline important for the Xchange is to explore the acoustic dimensions of the net, to find out what audio means for the experiencing the multidimensionality of the 'space', of the 'acoustic cyberspace'. Open spaces, non-linearity and experimental practice - are the keywords for the xchange development.

"By pushing the boundaries of electro-acoustic environments, of acoustic cyberspace, we can maintain a line into the open spaces of the unknown." /Erik Davis/