A series of curated online broadcasts of audio material
from a selection of artists, curators and friends of the gallery
Langham Research Centre
Muffled Ciphers is an audio-visual performance composed by members of the Langham Research Centre and is based on the writings of J. G. Ballard, particularly his novel The Atrocity Exhibition, written in 1970, and the short stories that preceded it.
The piece is divided into seven movements some of which contain several ‘moments’. The idea of ‘moments’ refers to a concise section within a larger structure that is self-contained and could be presented alone as a complete miniature. Ballard’s novel The Atrocity Exhibition is also structured in this way, with what might be described as very short stories, each with its own title. The assemblage of moments involved several timelines all running independently, yet simultaneously, to produce a multilayered temporal structure similar to that found in many of Ballard’s writings.
Sonic and visual images within Ballard’s texts inspired each of these moments. Exact descriptions of sounds, locations and actions, as well as ideas, feelings and dialogue became the starting point for the composition. Mood and atmosphere were also very important. Ballard’s narrative is often non-linear and the way time passes in his work can be pliable and elastic: sometimes expanded, sometimes compressed, sometimes infinite. So, rather than being aware of direct and clear facts, the reader is often conscious only of vague possibilities, poignant spaces and curious uncertainties. Muffled Ciphers does not attempt to illustrate or represent these features of Ballard’s work but rather to set up a kind of creative resonance that chimes with his dislocated sense of time and place and his extraordinary imagination.
Iain Chambers – tapes, sine-wave oscillator, amplified objects
Philip Tagney – tapes, sine-wave oscillator, amplified objects
Robert Worby – tapes, radio, amplified objects
“My work enters in a dialogue with the space in which it is installed, with the architecture and with the persons that are passing, moving through the space, but it doesn’t look to exhibit the space.” - Peter Downsbrough
Peter Downsbrough’s OCCUPY (2011) offers a reflection on the importance of the position taken: that of sculpture within its context, that of the viewer vis-à-vis the work, and that of the artist within the world that surrounds. Within these complex structures, the position of each element plays a decisive role upon the whole – as also found within language or architecture. This work was originally heard along with Downbrough’s film OCCUPIED (2000).
Downsbrough’s works are often embodied in three-dimensional space, on a two-dimensional surface, or in the form of books, films and sound recordings. Relationships are drawn to architecture, linguistics and philosophy. Unbounded by their medium, site or the techniques used, his works often invite audiences to inhabit and appropriate them.
Piano, voice: Stephane Ginsburgh
Voice: Zula Ayriç
Recorded and mixed by Daniel Leon at Igloo Studio, Brussels, 11.2011
Commissioned by Jeunesse et Arts Plastiques - Congrès for the exhibition Peter Downsbrough at the Bruxelles Congress railway station from 17.11.2011 - 25.01.2012
Road Signs Variations
The internationally acclaimed Italian composer, conductor and pianist Ezio Bosso passed away at his home in Bologna on Friday 15th May 2020. He was 48 years old and had been suffering from a neurodegenerative disease since 2011, forcing him to give up playing the piano last year.
His last piano concert was held in La Morra, Piedmont, on 22nd September 2019 and celebrated his long-running friendship with artist David Tremlett as well as the 20th anniversary of the neighbouring Capella del Barolo painted by Sol LeWitt and Tremlett in 1999, as part of the project Keeping Time.
Tremlett writes for Bosso's Guardian obituary: "Ezio was first an idealist and second a creator, for the majority of our friendship he had a constant battle with his health, but an optimism that pushed his disabilities under the table, always laughing, full of imagination, backed up by intellect and knowledge that left the listener spellbound. Ezio somehow knew something about everything and in his later days in a wheelchair would pirouette himself in the joy of having answered a question."
Bosso's 2017 album Road Signs Variations was conceived for a performance on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral as part of the City of London Festival in 2009, with choreography by Rafael Bonachela.
Road Signs Variations: Entrance, 05:09
Road Signs Variations: Help, The cathedral is the desert, 03:59
Road Signs Variations: One Way, 05:09
Road Signs Variations: Diversion, Street Kisses, 06:00
Road Signs Variations: Speed Limit, 04:33
Road Signs Variations: All Directions, 03:56
Road Signs Variations: Merge, One Harm hugs, 04:48
Road Signs Variations: Split, Postcards from Far Away, 08:54
Road Signs Variations: Cross, An Hallelujah, 06:06
Road Signs Variations: Stop, You Can't Stop the resitance, 05:36
Road Signs Variations: Round About, Trees of life, 09:27
Road Signs Variations: Exit Run 44, 03:47
When Lyrics Carry Weight
"There's a lot that carries weight these days: money, fame, power, looks et al., but art perhaps carries the most, especially in its written form. For me, the lyric has always carried one of the most immediate impacts. Here is a selection of tracks brought together as a small homage to the late John Prine who died of COVID 19 in April 2020, and who’s lyrics had a special twist on the simple life, along with the other tracks that add a little more weight to the thought of the ordinary man."
1. Souvenirs - John Prine
2. We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds - John Prine & Melba Montgomery
3. Rag Bag - David Lindley
4. Paradise - John Prine
5. Bambo Siyaya (Chewa, Malawi) - Wilson Makawa
6. I Forgot to Remember to Forget - John Prine
7. The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor) - Ry Cooder
8. Ain't Hurtin' Nobody - John Prine
9. Linda Goes To Mars - John Prine
10. Wachona Thayelo (Chewa, Malawi) - Thayelo Kapiye Nyanja Trio
11. Tu Nja Tengene Elie - Mbongue Diboue et son ensemble
12. Suro Onipa - The K&S Band
13. Waltz of The Young Hearts (Seychelles) - Seychelles United Band
14. Dia Veloma I Said Omar - Marguerite and Razanatsoa
If only something else had happened
Audio, cast fibreglass stone, headphones
In an audio work embedded in cast stone, the artist interviews Ruth Byrne, a Psychologist and Professor of Cognitive Science, about her theory of reasoning. Testing the hypothesis that imaginative thoughts are guided by the same principles that underlie rational thoughts, they discuss the idea of fault lines in reality, the aspects of reality that are more readily changed in imaginative thinking when we contemplate ‘if only something else had happened’. An explanation of these processes, Byrne argues, rests on the idea that imaginative thought and rational thought have much in common.
The Donkey's Tail
I'm Your Flower
Formed in 2007 by artist John Nixon, The Donkey's Tail is an experimental art-music ensemble featuring a diverse array of artists, musicians and amateur collaborators who perform Nixon's unconventional musical compositions. The group has been prolific in the experimental music scene, releasing over a hundred recordings and playing regularly in Melbourne galleries and music venues. Known for their use of homemade instruments in unorthodox ways, The Donkey's Tale's recorded material traverses noise instrumentals to song written by Nixon in folk, spoken word and operatic idioms.
Not Yet a Russian Spring, 02:17
As The Crow Flies, 01:43
A Better Life II, 01:20
Are You Free Today, 01:58
Bring it to the Table, 01:21
Cut The Ribbon II, 02:08
One Apple : Four Apples, 01:05
On My Birthday, 01:34
I'm Your Flower, 01:22
As You Wish, 01:56
22 November 2002
This is a recording of the first hour of David Cunningham's performance for the opening of On Kawara's 2002 exhibition Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the Hills. at the Ikon Gallery.
David Cunningham plays electric guitar through two long delay systems - each note is held in one of the delays and reappears throughout the evening on very long cycles. This process forces the performer to think of time as a chronological sequence rather than the rhythmic ordering of music.
A rehearsal for this performance is the default 'on hold' music on the Ikon Gallery switchboard and also on the Ikon online archive.
Thanks to Jonathan Watkins, On Kawara, Hiroko Kawara, Matthew Hogan and Ikon for making this happen.