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MQ2 Talent Nick van der Kolk and Giant DIY Organisms

Nick van der Kolk Every now and then Nick van der Kolk will mention some crazy idea and then “suddenly the next month, bam—he’s started a band that uses Wii controls as instruments, and they’re performing at a nearby club on Friday.” This is what Nick’s MQ2 nominator said about him. And he has “an amazing ability to bring people together and create the opportunity for them to share the experience of making something new and unexpected.”

It’s not surprising, then, that a brainchild of Nick’s is the Megapolis Festival, a “celebration of the craft of DIY audio creation” coming up in April in the Boston area. It’s about bringing makers and fans together to “share secrets on producing and presenting challenging audio works online, on air, and on the stage.”

Megapolis is also the name for the “giant urban organism” that is the Boston-Washington corridor, where, as Nick sees it, giant infrastructural integration means giant potential for collaboration and exploration. Sounds like the Internet. And that’s what’s so interesting about the festival, the way it marries the art of the digital and the art of the geographical. It’s about exploring the sonic landscape of the Megapolis, and its events will be held in unconventional venues, including living rooms, which will, as Nick says it, “add context to what’s coming into your ears.”

What would it mean for public radio to function as a giant DIY organism? An organism in an ecosystem. An ecosystem itself. More deeply embedded in our physical, geographic reality.

The Megapolis Festival sounds like it will help breed a culture of experimentation and innovation, and MQ2 likes that. Maybe the next big thing in public media will be born there!

Find more about the festival here. And you might want to check out Nick’s projects The New Factographers (artists re-interpreting the particularity of place) and Love and Radio (an alt.NPR show) too.