Ontologies of Displacement: Improvisation, Feedback, and Archival Associationism in The Sorting Box
This talk will draw on critical analyses of the history of computing in relation to governmentality, Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, and Karen Barad’s discussion of the role of apparatuses in the production of phenomena to reframe how artists can work with archives and technologies in improvised performance settings. An account of the making of The Sorting Box, an improvised film and music performance to be premiered the following day, will follow giving detail to the technologies developed for the piece alongside the critical aesthetic issues it explores. This will include some novel approaches for working creatively with acoustic feedback and corpus-based analysis for musical features. It is hoped that the talk will be of interest to anyone with an interest in expanded approaches to music, film and performance, and how artistic strategies can be informed by critical work in the humanities and social sciences.
John Bowers (UK) is an artist-researcher with an academic background in the social and computing sciences, design, music and critical theory. As an improvising musician, he works with modular synthesisers, home-brew electronics, reconstructions of antique image and sound-making devices, self-made software, field recordings, esoteric sensor systems, and spoken text. He often combines performance with walking and the investigation of selected sites to research an imagined discipline he calls ‘mythogeosonics’. He has performed at festivals including the collateral programme of the Venice Biennale, Experimental Intermedia New York, Transmediale/CTM Vorspiel Berlin, Sonorities Belfast, Piksel Bergen, Electropixel Nantes, BEAM London, Aldeburgh Festival and Spill Ipswich, and toured with the Rambert Dance Company performing David Tudor’s music to Merce Cunningham’s Rainforest. He contributed to the design of The Prayer Companion - a piece exhibited twice at the Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, and acquired for their permanent collection. Amongst many musical collaborations, he works with Sten-Olof Hellström, Tim Shaw, Kerry Hagan, with Terry Burrows and Steve Elsey in the noise drone band Tonesucker, and with Adam Pultz Melbye and Paul Stapleton in the improvising trio 3BP. He is a Director of Allenheads Contemporary Arts and a Trustee of Monkfish Productions. He helps coordinate the label Onoma Research and is a Visiting Scholar at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University, Belfast.