Bergen Invocation: A Sonic Reworking | John Bowers, Tim Shaw

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Bergen Invocation: A Sonic Reworking

Drawing on traditions of psychogeography, improvised noise performance, soundscape research, DIY technologies and public making practices, we will create a performable installation that offers an imaginative remapping of Bergen. We will work in collaboration with workshop attendees making recordings and conducting rituals in sites selected for their geological and historical salience, or in how they reveal the actuality of contemporary patterns of production, consumption, dominance and spectacle, or anticipate utopian or dystopian potentialities.

Inexpensive self-made technologies for environmental sensing and sonification and parodies of fitness tracking devices, amongst other simple ‘makes’, will accompany our walks to sites and our rituals there. Microcontroller-based algorithmic sound file playback and amplification devices will be created as part of a sculptural mapping of the body of materials collected, alongside the use of open source media programming languages for ‘alchemical’ sonic manipulations and recombinations.

A series of performance actions both in the city and in Piksel venues, in which all workshop contributors are invited to participate, will take place making use of the materials collected and the technologies built.

Overall, in the course of three days, we intend to research in, experiment with, and sonically rework the city: quod est in sono est sicut quod est in posse.



John Bowers

John Bowers works with modular synthesizers, home-brew electronics, and reconstructions of antique image and sound-making devices, alongside contemporary digital technology. He makes performance environments which combine sound, image and gesture at a fundamental material level. He has performed at festivals including Electropixel Nantes, Piksel Bergen, BEAM Uxbridge and Spill Ipswich, and toured with the Rambert Dance Company performing David Tudor’s music to Merce Cunningham’s Rainforest. Amongst many collaborations, he works with Sten-Olof Hellström and in the noise drone band Tonesucker.
Most recently, in collaboration with Tim Shaw, John has been formulating strategies for ‘Pubic Making’ – making work in public, with the public – at specially selected sites of psychogeographic salience or in relation to notable historical events. This has included Interglacial/Erratics (with the Pacitti Company, Ipswich, UK), SoundLines (with FACT, Liverpool, UK), Salient/Re-Entrant (as part of the Fort Process festival, Newhaven Fort, UK) and War Workings (as part of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museum’s WW1 commemoration programme, Decoded, Newcastle, UK). John Bowers works in Culture Lab and Fine Art, Newcastle University, where he directs research on Digital Cultures.


Tim Shaw

Tim Shaw has worked internationally as a professional composer, performer, sound designer and researcher. His practice incorporates diverse approaches to sound capture and processing, and includes creating immersive and site responsive sonic installations. His compositional methods include field recordings, synthesized sounds and live electronics, providing a wide scope for creative diversity. At the heart of his work lies a concern with the auditory reflection and mirroring of real world environments through sound and technology. He is currently studying a PhD in Digital Media at Culture Lab alongside managing Newcastle based record label Triptik. Tim has created commissions for Warp Records, The British Council, The British Science Association, Pacitti Company, Tender Buttons and Transform Festival. Collaboration is increasingly important to Tim’s work, he is lucky enough to have made collaborative work with Chris Watson, John Bowers and Sébastien Piquemal. Tim has presented work in various international venues including Café OTO, NIME, CHI, NK Projekt, ZDB and CTM.

‘As an artist-researcher, making is central to my practice which is situated in the context of sound and media art. My work draws inspiration from acoustic ecology and electroacoustic composition as well as areas of anthropology and philosophy. I aim to open up alternative listening experiences through the construction of (or heightened awareness of) new sonic environments. Through this process of making I construct experimental instruments, installations, performances and assemblages using self-built and DIY (open source) technologies. This approach, whereby making is the primary activity, allows for my practical endeavours to embody and articulate (rather than represent) various forms of knowledge. In my practice I am interested in a variety of materials across a number of mediums, I have actively engaged with archives, technologies, people and places as sources of creative material.’

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