Share This Article
October 25–November 29, 2022
“It was a shape around something else, like everything…”
The CBS radio drama Dingus, which consists of six episodes, was recorded amid the height of the 1943 Hollywood flu pandemic. This inventive and formally-reflexive oddity vanished almost completely without a trace due to a lack of a star-studded ensemble and a strange fascination with the object that drives its narrative. With 2010, artist Mike Cooter began an 11-year adventure to locate and restore this rare artifact. This journey culminated in the re-emergence of Dingus, which will be broadcast in full by Resonance FM and archived at radiodingus.com.
As an artist, Mike Cooter continuously explores the structural agency of objects and the reciprocal interaction between items and context in his installations, writing, and lectures, among other forms of expression. This is his first significant radio piece.
Dingus, an ostensibly detective drama, emerges over the course of six episodes and a supplemental documentary as a reflection on objecthood itself: how we claim to understand something, and the effects that it might have. The name of the show comes from an American colloquialism for an object without name or of indistinct identity (from the German “ding” / “thing”). Dingus may be heard using the MacGuffin as a plot device while also dissecting it, reversing the logic of an item that propels a story and acting instead as an armature for the enigmatic thing at its core: the MacGuffin as sculpture.
The extended documentary episode focuses on John Everett Haynes, the serial’s apparent author, and possible parallels between his only known script (written at some point in the 1930s), his role in the Tacna-Arica Compromise—the contentious conclusion in 1929 of years-long American arbitration of a territorial dispute between Peru, Chile, and Bolivia—and the potential role of a fictional character. The drama is structured around the discovery and pursuit of such an artifact, which leads to an abundance of formal material and sculpture references, many of which are connected to the disputed mineral deposits, the sculptural legacies of the location, and the trafficking in Pre-Columbian artifacts. The project of rehabilitating this sculpture has been generously supported by Jerwood Arts, Henry Moore Foundation, and The Elephant Trust.
Mike Cooter is a London-based author, educator, and artist. His PhD’s narrative-driven subjects, MacGuffins, are the subject of a book he is now writing (2018, Goldsmiths, University of London).
A radio station devoted to living culture, Resonance FM supports arts radio and radio art. With its expansive, shockingly diversified programming, uniquely independent ethos, and wholly original production, the broadcast platform, now in its twentieth year, has maintained a pioneering spirit while establishing itself as a worldwide acclaimed broadcast platform.
Broadcast: Tuesdays beginning October 25, 6:30pm GMT, repeated on Sundays at 10am GMT on Resonance FM / resonancefm.com
Podcast: on major platforms search “Dingus / Mike Cooter”
Website: all episodes archived / trailer / more information on radiodingus.com