Untitled (My grandfathers World Band Receiver)

Untitled (My grandfathers World Band Receiver)

Untitled (My grandfathers World Band Receiver)

Charcoal on paper, 2010

To remember the frequency of his favourite channels, my grandfather had marked them with a pencil on his tuner-amplifier. My grandfather would fix everything in the household himself. With some bandage, soldering and gummy bands made out of old bicycle tires if necessary. He was that kind of man. A very practical hands-on type of guy, who spent most of his days in his toolshed fixing things, if he wasn’t sitting in his lounge chair, listening to the radio that is.

I found this mentality reflected in the way he had remembered the channels of his favourite radio stations. He could have written the frequencies down on a paper next to the amplifier, so he didn’t had to write on this expensive product, but instead he had chosen to take a pencil and had drawn some lines directly on the tuners frequency bar to indicate where his favourite music was hidden.

When he died, the tuner-amplifier stood around in my parents garage for years. Once I started to get into vinyl and needed an amplifier to hook up to my turntable, I began using his old amplifier to listen to my records. Having noticed his markings, I got curious to listen to the stations he had marked, hoping to tune into him, hearing his voice behind one of the stations.

I got myself a cheap antenna and hooked it up and turned the frequency pointer to my grandfathers scribbles. One by one, they all sounded like noise, interwoven by flashes of pop music, news, loud and cheerful deejays. Not surprisingly, all of his stations had moved channels over the years, making the old radio shows now sound like plain noise.

While listening to this monotonous buzzing, I never the less pictured him on the other side of the radio, listening to the same noise with me. I imagined him sitting there, in his armchair, a cup of tea by his side, in his practical nature getting a bit irritated about the fact that nobody had erased that marking, wondering why anybody would want to listen to that noise?

Picturing him like this, it became clear to me why he had used a pencil in the first place and not something more permanent. Initially I had thought he had done so to preserve the value of this luxury product, which was quite an investment for him at the time. But that wasn’t why. He had used a pencil to be able to fix his radio’s improvised memory function, to be able to erase and adjust it’s frequencies if needed.

A drawing hand is both a receiver and a transmitter. It receives what the brain gives it and transports this to the paper.

Sometimes the hand picks up some signals along the way, resulting in lines not being drawn completely straight, sometimes trembling a bit, adding a certain live to the drawing, or perhaps a certain noise.

Sometimes the drawing looks better than what you’d thought of initially. Sometimes worse, and at other times it turns into something completely different.