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artist review series
Immersivity, Art, Architecture, Sound and Ecology
the most recent event

Wed. 14 February 2007
Robert Davis Title: Evolving Sonic Environment: An Architectural Experiment to Build a People Sensitive Acoustic Environment
The aim of this project was to construct a society of communicative, adaptive sonic devices distributed in a room with the hope that the collective behaviours of the devices would be affected by the way the room was occupied (by people or other mobile objects) and, as such, the room would develop a "perception" of its occupancy so the society of devices might function collectively as a people sensor, though there were no specific people sensing functions built into the individual devices.
Professor Johnny Golding
Title: The Assassination of Time: towards a Zeta-Philosophy
Presented in complete darkness, a tour d' force of media arts philosophy (MAP) as murderer, culprit, jester, thief.
Helen Palmer
Title: Blindfold
'Somewhere in the middle, hovering in it - there's this hologram. You take a chance because you fabricate things, these architectures, these elements, and you try to make this thing live in the middle.' [Cliff McLucas]
Helen will be conducting an interactive performance which asks the audience to take a chance and a leap of faith in the making of a moment..
Dr Aura Satz Title: Mediated Presence, Transferred Agency and Contagious Phenomenological Experience
Aura will be talking through her recent project ‘I Am Anagram’ and demonstrating ‘Human Radio Chain’.
Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead Title: A Nostalgia of Nowness
Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead will present some of their recent instruction-based networked artworks, which focus on the accessing and manipulation of live virtual data sources gleaned from the world wide web.

the series programme

Wed. 20 September 2006
Bill Aitchison Title: 24/7/52
This presentation will be of an extract of the performance 24/7/52, a task-based, non-linear performance that consists of a series of tasks for a performer to enact within an aleatory musical structure. The performance sets up a number of continua that it negotiates its way along; order and chaos, representation and presentation, activity and inactivity, success and failure. Never settling in one position it remains in kaleidoscopic motion, combining and re-combining its constituent elements disrupting a hierarchy of meaning.
Tsai-Wei Chen
Title: On the Way Home: Taipei sojourners' sonic constellations in London
The proposed conference paper focuses on the emotional and cultural impacts of foreigners’ listening experiences in London. Taking Taipei sojourners in London as a case study, the research proposes the notion of sonic constellations in an attempt to investigate the sounds that Taipei sojourners listen, recollect and imagine when they are in London. The basis for this presentation will be interviews with ten Taipei sojourners that have participated in the study. The paper will report on the interviewing process in an attempt to highlight the insights that this way of investigation can offer for art practice.
Lauren Goode Title: The Live Art Garden Initiative and immersive arts practice
Introduction to the Initiative incorporating extracts from recent creative, philosophical writings: 'Dynamics conditioning a live art of movement fields' and 'Field foci'. Screened extracts from practice sessions and performance in park and woodland spaces, which reflect new exploration at a preliminary development stage. Presentation of issues and questions that are important for the Initiative and which it is intended this series will address from different perspectives and registers. Presentation notes
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho Title: Quantum Jazz
Have you ever wondered what being alive is like? ...What happens in our tissues, cells and molecules? Presentation article

Sat. 21 October 2006
Ayssar Arida Title: Quameleon: territorial pissings in the society-space-time continuum - A permanent architectural installation without construction
As a reaction to the notion of Architecture as Mimesis, this proposal directly addresses concepts of territoriality, admissibility, and connectedness, and obliquely concepts of archaeology and selective amnesia, of cultural and geographical appropriation and colonisation; by addressing the very essence of architecture's subject-matters, without erecting any building, it catalyses a rethink of the very definition of architecture.
Proposal made by Ayssar Arida and Q-DAR for the MEIAC Contemporary Art Museum of Badajoz and ARCO'06 Meta.morphoses exhibition.
Mark Fisher Title: The Unlife of Gardens
I will begin by considering Deleuze-Guattari's appropriation of Wilhelm Worringer's Gothic theory of art. I will then suggest that there are problems with Deleuze-Guattari's 'Gothic vitalism', and outline an alternative Gothic theory, based around 'unlife' (as opposed to D-G's 'nonorganic life'). Finally, I will look at how the concept of unlife is exemplified in three fictions which centrally concern gardens: Stephen King's The Shining, Resnais and Robbe-Grillet's Last Year in Marienbad, and John Foxx's Cathedral Oceans.
Brandon Labelle Title: Public Jukebox
Music and public space come to intersect in dynamic ways, marking public life with an additional sonics and musicality with a sense of social usage. Following this intersection, I'll present a number of projects as a way to explore and talk through in what way music, sound, and public life come to form an extended social geography.
John Lely Title: Tone Field
One sine-tone from each loudspeaker.
Variable number of loudspeakers.
Static, no composed changes.
Made afresh in each space.
Just initial calibration - nothing else.
Carla Vendramin Info: 'Living Organism was part of Carla Vendramin’s project when she was awarded the Vitae Sponsorship for Dance in 2003 in Brazil. It included a number of street performances and the production of a dance documentary, shot by Daniel Dode and presented at Rumos Itaú Cultural, one of the most important art festivals in Latin America, in March 2004, Sao Paulo, Brazil (http://www.itaucultural.org.br).
Conception: Living Organism proposes a return to the basic state of “being alive”. It is about the urgency, the latency, the fragility and the resilience that characterise humans. It is about the organic condition of the human body and its basic vital functions of breathing, pulsing, digesting. By dealing with the basic necessities of the body, this work also questions which things really are necessary for remaining alive, apart from breathing, pulsing and digesting.'

Sat. 18 November 2006
Professor John Gruzelier Title: Sound-induced hypnogogia and performance enhancement
Hypnogogia, the border between waking and sleeping, and hypnopompia, the border between sleeping and waking, have long been associated with creative insights in science, arts and the humanities. These states are associated with a slowing of brain rhythms with a predominance of theta activity (3-7hz), which promotes long distance connectivity in the brain allowing unusual associations in memory to be made. Theta is also associated with meditation, hypnosis, absorption and flow states which arise without conscious effort. Controlled scientific studies of the presenter and colleagues will be outlined in which sounds are presented to participants contingent on the appearance of theta in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Participants are thereby trained to induce and enhance the theta state along with associations of empowerment through operant conditioning. This has been effective in producing professionally significant improvements in artistry in music performance in conservatoire students and in novice singers, and also in competitive dancing, which aside from improvements in dance performance overall, produced improvements in timing and technique. Current applications include collaborations with Trinity/Laban and with Computing Sciences, Goldsmiths. The music studies are currently featured in an exhibition, Neurobotics, at the Science Museum.
Christina Kubisch Title: Electrical Walks: Electromagnetic Investigations in the City
Christina Kubisch works with the system of electromagnetic induction, which she has developed, from the given basic technique to an individual artistic tool, since the end of the 1970s. In 2003 she started a new series of these works in public space, called ‘Electrical Walks’, where the public traces the electromagnetic fields of urban environments through the form of city walks. Electrical Walks is a work in progress. It is a public walk with special, sensitive wireless headphones by which the acoustic perceptibility of aboveground and underground electromagnetic fields is not suppressed, but amplified.
The transmission of sound is made by built-in coils, which respond to the electromagnetic waves in our environment. The palette of these noises, their timbre and volume vary from site to site and from country to country. They have one thing in common: they are ubiquitous, even where one would not expect them. Light systems, wireless communication systems, radar systems, anti-theft security devices, surveillance cameras, cell phones, computers, streetcar cables, antennae, navigation systems, automated teller machines, wireless internet, neon advertising, public transportation networks, etc. create electrical fields that are as if hidden under cloaks of invisibility, but of incredible presence.
The sounds are much more musical than one might expect. There are complex layers of high and low frequencies, loops of rhythmic sequences, groups of tiny signals, long drones and many things which change constantly and are hard to describe. Some sounds are global players, they sound much alike all over the world. Others are specific for a city or country and cannot be found anywhere else.
Electrical walks is an an invitation to a special kind of investigation of city centres (or elsewhere). With the magnetic headphone and a map of the environs, upon which the possible routes and especially interesting electrical fields are marked, the visitor can set off on his own or in a group. The perception of everyday reality changes when one listens to the electromagnetic fields; what one is accustomed to appears in a different context. Nothing looks the way it sounds. And nothing sounds the way it looks.
Electrical Walks have been realized so far in Cologne, Berlin, Oxford, Karlsruhe/ZKM, Bremen, London, Haarlem, Birmingham, Riga and New York. Further walks are scheduled in Rome, Chicago, Stavanger, Krakow and in Korea.
This presentation will commence with samples from early work with electromagnetic induction and lead on to recent Electrical Walks, including compositions and visual work from this work in progress. The era of new digital and electronic communication systems and how they influence our daily life is a basic topic of the talk.
Jockel Liess
Title: nothing
The fundamental structure of my work is the notion of a constant audio/visual environment, with a minimal approach. At the centre of ‘nothing’ is the interplay of visual and acoustic information, and its conscious and subliminal effect on the human mind. The synaesthetic connection of the two prevailing senses, seeing and hearing is hereby of most importance. The ‘colour of sound’ and the ‘sound of colour’, form the basis of any image-sound relation. Texture and movement in the video, together with elements of structural composition, just intonation and chance operations, are then used to create melodic elements and rhythmic qualities.
Fabrizio Manco
Title: The hyperacute/ringing ear and an ecology of ‘place’
A presentation about issues relating to Fabrizio’s practice and recent work, including ‘Ringing Forest’, a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project on tinnitus, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Fabrizio's work-in-progress involves visual, performative and theoretical research, informed by cognitive science, neuroscience, the physiology of hearing, acoustics, space and ecological relations.
The presentation is intended to provoke and facilitate shared discussion about a way of finding, and de-stabilizing, a physical and philosophical ‘place’ in site-specific and meditational movement process when explored through ‘locational’ hearing and the experience of hyperacusis and tinnitus. Fabrizio identifies this process as a possible way of questioning the virtually impossible ‘unmediated’ experience of external/environmental sound. He asks: ' how can space and the world, experienced through an ailment, be represented and conveyed beyond re-presentation; and, thus, could this process be a chance to transcend the personal experience of a medical condition and its artistic investigation, in order to share it with a broader social network?'.
Lawrence Upton Title: An insect on a leaf
Tentative abstract as note and poem - Abstract
'An insect on a leaf' - Presentation text, notes and images copyright © Lawrence Upton 2006

Sat. 9 December 2006
Jem Finer Title: Landscape Fiction: Time Before Clocks and the Interstellar Imagination
The landscape is alive with nodal points in the highways and byways of the universe; stone circles, ziggurats, pyramids, all constructions of centers about which the heavenly bodies appear to revolve.
I'm interested in these locations as time keepers, calendars and observatories, dating from a time when natures cycles were the only clocks and a direct relationship with the sun, moon, stars and planets was necessary not only to make sense of their mysterious paths across the sky, but to keep time, to establish rhythms of nature and change.
Leaving the 2D world of the computer screen to work in the physical world, in the landscape, I've been seeking to connect with time on geological scales, cut loose from its accelerating resolution into ever more minute particles of a second, both through the building of sculptural observatories and through 'non clocks', mediating slow time through music.
I will be talking about these ideas with particular reference to 'The Centre of the Universe', a sculptural observatory, and to a new work, 'Score for a Hole in the Ground', which uses water and gravity as energy sources to play a composition of indeterminate score and duration. Taking the form of a hole in the ground and an acoustic amplification system modeled on the horn of an old gramophone this sculptural instrument is located in Kings Wood, a forest in Kent.
Ruairi Glynn
Title: tba
Architecture draws upon the larger artistic, scientific and cultural community to define itself in the context of our environment and society, but today Architecture seems increasingly to be failing to keep up with the pace of technological and societal change. Interactive installations, responsive furniture, mobile devices, new choreography and performance techniques, theater technologies, open source software and hardware development and wider technological advancement are all contributing to our understanding of the digitally mediated society we live within. What we are now seeing and what will be the subject of my talk is how some of the most advanced architectural thinking, is being produced outside of traditional architectural research and how in a new format, the speculative architecture of Cedric Price's Fun Palace (1961) is finally becoming a reality.
Mick Grierson
Title: Articles in Space
Articles in Space is a generative audiovisual work consisting entirely of material gathered in real-time from a particular environment. The work is produced by a near-silent box, connected to a speaker system, a video projector, a camera and a microphone. The machine self-propagates a continuous and developing audiovisual landscape that both reflects and treats the surrounding audiovisual scene. As such, it functions to represent the space, it's atmosphere, and the people within it. Furthermore, activity modulates the behaviour of the machine, creating a subtle reflection of the way in which we impact on our environments. The machine is loaded with an artificially intelligent creative model which controls and responds to the events which unfold around it.
Honor Harger
Title:Nature's Radio: Sounding out the Spectrum
The work of 19th century scientists James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, André-Marie Ampère and others on developing the theory of electromagnetism not only ushered in the electrical age, but also revealed a natural resource that could be used for far more applications than energy. The electromagnetic spectrum charts the range of electromagnetic waves and includes X-rays, visible light, infrared radiation, and radio waves. Some of the most catalytic changes in society have been brought about from studying and utilising the part of the electromagnetic spectrum where radio waves propagate.
With the invention of telecommunication technology at the end of the 19th century, radio waves became a tool for rethinking the world we live in. Radio collapsed geographical distance, crossed borders and cultures and became a powerful catalyst for commerce. From the 1930s onward, radio enabled scientists to study the cosmos in entirely new ways. Radio has, in effect, created an electromagnetic ‘portrait’ of our world. We can not only look at this portrayal, but by employing the very technology which Marconi and Tesla brought into being, we can also listen.
This lecture will trace the twin histories of radio telecommunications and radio astronomy from Hertz’s work on the radio wave, to Penzias & Wilson's "accidental" discovery of radiation from the Big Bang, demonstrating how radio has been used to deepen scientists' understanding of our universe. It will continue by illustrating how radio has been used to reveal the hidden aural attributes of the electromagnetic spectrum, citing artistic works by r a d i o q u a l i a and other artists. Drawing on the taxonomies of sonification developed by Gregory Kramer, the paper will suggest that as well as being a Brechtian "apparatus of communication", radio is also "an agent of audification". Weaving together these discussions, the paper will outline how artists can utilise the science of the electromagnetic wave to make astronomical space audible. Referring to the r a d i o q u a l i a project, "Radio Astronomy" (2004 – present), the paper will show how radio can reveal the sonic character of objects in our Universe, and in the process make these phenomena more tangible and comprehensible.
Thor McIntyre-Burnie
Title: 'Orchitecture' - the art of sound in space
I am an artist who uses sound a great deal, but I hesitate to call myself a sound artist. In fact it annoys me that people do this, as if in order for sound to be considered in 'high art', it needs to be considered in isolation. Sound is one of the most site-specific mediums going - it exists in time and space. Spaces and the scenarios that inhabit or flux though them are what interest me. Sound offers a great way of both spending time with a space - or listening to it - and subtly tweaking the way the space functions, is used and perceived. Using documentation of a selection of past and current projects I will discuss the use of sound as a spatial tool.

Sat. 20 January 2007
Ajaykumar Title: Dependent Origination: speculation on relational being, non-anthropocentric being and the being of a space
The themes of this paper underpin some of Ajaykumar' approaches to art, architecture, design. Ajaykumar will present the paper, together with a film: tate modern, and other images of his and others work in relation to the theme.
Abstract: The paper discusses particular symbiotic, non-anthropocentric, approaches to art, architecture, and design practice; the manifestation of these disciplines as ontological practice; and a perception of architecture existing only in a dynamic inter-relation of built edifice, humans who frequent it, and a wider landscape.
Could one not also look at it conversely of a body that comes into being through interaction with built edifice and external space? In this context does the notion of architecture become synonymous with the notion of 'mind' and of 'being'? Such a hypothesis of non-anthropocentric being emerged in South Asian art architecture, science and philosophy over two thousand years ago – primarily through the vehicle of Tantric practice and thinking.
The paper focuses on the rock cut edifices of Ellora, in Maharashtra, India, which were realised between 600 and 1000 C.E.. The construction of these edifices was influenced by Tantra as an integrated practice of science, philosophy, art, and technology. The paper discusses the importance of human kinaesthetics and performativity in the non-anthropocentric dynamics of Ellora’s ontology.
Mookerjee and Khanna highlight Tantra’s confluence of artistic, philosophic and scientific practice, through an essentially practical, intuitive, and phenomenological approach1. Rawson emphasises the importance of ‘life style’ in such synergy2. Ellora’s realisation may be considered to embody the philosophic outlook of a civilisation that aspired to a relational entity of architecture-art-body-health-nature-ontology-science-space-time-technology.
This resonates with a central tenet of Mahayana Buddhism is the notion of ‘dependent origination’. The tenet of 'dependent origination' expresses the idea that no thing or person exists in isolation and is continuously existing in relation with all other sentient and insentient beings in the universe. The presentation evokes possibilities for re-conceiving such dynamics of ecology and ontology in contemporary spaces. Ultimately such processes have at their foci an active, apperceptive spectator. Further info
Charlotte Bernstein Title: The Lab Within
Presenting the initial stages of a fusion live art movement practice that explores interconnectedness between micro/macro worlds. Research interests include the theta brainwave state, moving meditation techniques, Kathak dance, vibrational medicine. Incorporating extracts of video recorded on a recent visit to India and from UK practice sessions with Live Art Garden Initiative.
Sebastian Lexer & Emmanuelle Waeckerle* Title: VINST 3 The word made flesh again
*(Emmanuelle Waeckerle's presentation will be virtual).
This presentation will introduce a project conceived and produced by Emmanuelle Waeckerle, programed in Max MSP and Jitter by Sebastian Lexer; with financial support from Arts Council London and UCCA research Fund.
This ongoing research project aims to explore digital-human relationships and the edges of Language. VINST is a unique vocal instrument, part human part virtual, an extraordinary fusion of human body and digital technology - a body without organs - responding to touch but also to mood and sensibility. The viewer/player is encouraged to construct a non verbal dialogue with my virtual self.
This presentation will introduce the conceptual and technical background of VINST 3 the latest prototype, as well as current and future developments. It will also address some issues raised by collaborative and interdisciplinary practices. This will be followed by a short demonstration of the instrument in action. Some of you will have a chance to play VINST. Further info
Maria Llanderas Title: A Screening - Documentation from a performance event in Greenwich Park
This presentation will briefly introduce performance research undertaken in Greenwich Park with Lauren Goode and will comprise a screening that documents one of five durational performance events in the park in June 2005. Further info
Lawrence Upton & Dr John Levack Drever Title: Verbal Iterations: by Lawrence Upton & John Drever and John Drever & Lawrence Upton
Duration: 30 minutes. Multi-channel recording + projections, with live voice. 2007.
''Verbal iterations will be a live performance of a written text. It will be heard in an aural environment created by an electronically-treated recording of a studio performance of the same text. That text is itself a representative selection from a larger set of related written texts.
That set is a set only: it is not a sequence, although many orderings of the texts would appear to display various structural developments, because they each arise from a much smaller set of internally-structured source texts, also written for the purpose, which have now been discarded.
It has been suggested that language originated, in part, from imitation: and some words (e.g., in English, moo and bang and cuckoo) are perhaps still identifiable as having been originally onomatopoeic.
In the beginning of our language, therefore, was an ear listening. It heard good and imitated; and its imitation was musical. Language proceeding from aesthetic rather than mechanically-functional principles remains musical now - our colloquial speech tends towards song, not least because we say the same things over and over again in pleasing patterns; and our ears are still listening!
The ur-text was written long after the big onomatopoeic bang that gave words like moo and cuckoo; and it was expanded by repetition, iteration, and synonym change, using electronic and paper thesauri, choice being determined by arithmetical progressions; and, where the choice of output was ambiguous, by personal aesthetic preference.
All operating data were held in the head of the writer and errors were largely accepted and absorbed, as they are with the spoken language, a smoothing not for ease of processing but for the pleasure of the resulting potential sound. (A few errors i.e. misreadings occurred during recording and they too have been absorbed.)
Later, the resulting texts were edited in their entirety on aesthetic grounds. In this editing, words were deleted or, very occasionally, changed; and the whole was scored for performance. Around 10% of the texts, where considerable changes would be needed, were discarded.
The electronic treatment in this piece is lightly applied, aimed at bringing out sonic qualities in the spoken language, heard here not so much as a semantic construct as a phonemic patterning, a series of cultivated specimen chants.''. [JD / LU January 2007]
Further and tangential reading, suggested by JD / LU:
Composition as explanation by Gertrude Stein (written in 1926) - LInk
Jem the sf novel by Frederik Pohl (in this context, for the reference to the balloonists’ language) from the 70s, we believe

Wed. 14 February 2007
Robert Davis Title: Evolving Sonic Environment: An Architectural Experiment to Build a People Sensitive Acoustic Environment
The aim of this project was to construct a society of communicative, adaptive sonic devices distributed in a room with the hope that the collective behaviours of the devices would be affected by the way the room was occupied (by people or other mobile objects) and, as such, the room would develop a "perception" of its occupancy so the society of devices might function collectively as a people sensor, though there were no specific people sensing functions built into the individual devices.
Professor Johnny Golding
Title: The Assassination of Time
Presented in complete darkness, a tour d' force of media arts philosophy (MAP) as murderer, culprit, jester, thief.
Helen Palmer
Title: Upstaging Nature – an exploration of the use of the senses in negotiating visual frictions encountered in immersive performance
Drawing on examples from ‘The Art of Permanence and Change’, and ‘Eco Vandalism’, two site-specific exhibitions held within Sydenham Hill Woods. Discussion to include a short participatory audio performance.
Human interventions in a natural environment inevitably create frictions. Visually, even the most primal of acts is still an act(ion) read as ‘other’ to the surrounding habitat. Nature as a backdrop is often unsuccessful since the very grandeur of the setting overshadows the work. How then should a work be immersive?
Taking examples from two site-specific exhibitions held within the visually stunning  Sydenham Hill Woods, this talk will examine the ways in which select artists have considered senses and setting within their performance strategy.
Dr Aura Satz Title: Mediated Presence, Transferred Agency, and Contagious Phenomenological Experience
Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead Title/info forthcoming