Michael Rakowitz's Radio Silence: A Podcast Series Featuring Iraqi Refugees and Warrior Writers

By Kevin Basl

Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz spent several years interviewing Iraqi refugees and Iraq War veterans (participants from Warrior Writers) living in Philadelphia, in hopes of turning those interviews into both a live stage performance and a radio series. Rakowitz's project came to fruition in July 2017, when Radio Silence was performed in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Now the entire seven-episode podcast series can be streamed or downloaded here.

From the Radio Silence website:

"Radio Silence is a large-scale project produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia, with artist Michael Rakowitz and curator Elizabeth Thomas. On April 15, 2018, Rakowitz and Mural Arts launched a seven-episode radio broadcast, the follow-up to a large-scale performance on Independence Mall in Historic Philadelphia that was simulcast on PhillyCAM TV. Radio Silence, conceived specifically for Philadelphia as the birthplace of American democracy, was inspired by famed Iraqi broadcaster Bahjat Abdulwahed, who lived in the city as a refugee until his death in 2016. The project interweaves dreams and memories from Iraq, America, and in-between into a soundscape of the contemporary refugee experience, the Iraqi diaspora, and the culture of an Iraq, that due to war and political unrest, no longer exists."

Images from Radio Silence and Warrior Writers