Mezcal is a telematic service that allows multiple constituents to fluidly participate in broadcast-like scenarios through their mobile devices at the flick of their thumbs. It is a new kind of radio that is cheap and quick and easy. Listeners get an immediate way to call in and contribute. Producers can make shows by themselves, in collaboration with others, at remote locations or on site, and/or in synchronous or asynchronous modes. Both listeners and producers can hop-on or off the stream at will. It all works in a browser, outside of app stores, and is a different kind of networked radio where the boundary between listener and producer can be strict or blurred.
Mezcal currently works similar to the audio rooms of Slack or Discord, but with broadcast scalability and audio-specific features such as mixing of multiple audio sources, re-streaming to icecast, fingertip access to various online media archives, etc. The project is at a working beta status and in constant development in collaboration with activists, artists and researchers from the USA, UK, Netherlands, Italy, Colombia, and Australia.
Not unlike how a piano provides its “users” with a vast set of possible acoustic outcomes - everything from classical to jazz and noise - I see Mezcal as an instrument for diverse practices in transmission and sound art, for providing alternative modes of point to point communication for social movements, and as a new technological form of environmental and journalistic reporting.
software: August Black (lead), Henry Saver (contributor)
design: August Black (lead), Alejo Duque, Namita Pasupuleti
beta group: Galen Joseph-Hunter, Jen Kutler, Anna Friz, Federico Bonelli, Grant Smith, Alejo Duque, Tom Roe, Mort Drew
Supported by:
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mobile phone with audio mixer app, mezcal
The mezcal interface.©Alon Koppel
14 people looking at speaker on large porch
Mezcal workshop at Wave Farm.©Alon Koppel
mobile phone with audio mixer app, mezcal
Mezcal workshop at Wave Farm, summer 2021.©Alon Koppel
workshop participants with phones
Mezcal workshop at Wave Farm, summer 2021.©Alon Koppel
workshop participants with phones
Mezcal workshop at Wave Farm, summer 2021. Participants: Alex, Adam, Kirsten Bates, Bianca Biberaj, August Black, Jeff Economy, Jimmy Garver, Galen Joseph-Hunter, Alon Koppel, Alanna Medlock, Jess Puglisi, Tom Roe, Becca Van K, and Bryan Zimmerman©Alon Koppel
trashcans taped to the leg, cell phones inside
"Footsteps on Gravel" ©Wave Farm, summer 2021.
collage of person walking with trashcans taped to the leg
“Footsteps on Gravel” Two mobile phones inside two trash cans act as a low-level listening device.
collage of man and women outside detention centers
Migrant Detention Radio - live from the Aurora, CO and Otay Mesa, CA detention centers by Eliseo Ortiz and Prof. Jessica Ordaz.
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