A Public Hearing – Technologies of Belonging

Calling all residents, workers and communities of Cromer Street and Kings Cross, come and share your stories at the first event in the A Public Hearing series

Saturday 28 May is the first in a series of events to explore the technologies of hearing and the point of mediation between the hearing and listening. It will be used as a foundation to lead into the events on the Saturday 11 June and Saturday 25 June that will continue to develop and explore these concepts and materials in more depth and alternative ones.

Technologies of Belonging investigates how hearing and vocalising are rehearsed. Presenting hearing as narration and storytelling rather than confession. Non-oral bodily sensing and an exploration of the non-human on variety of scales presented in an evolving exhibition as multi-speaker installation, with a collaged sequence of the recent interviews collected by the group with live elements fluctuating between different temporalities, histories and sounds.

Personal hearings

Through a series of informal conversations and discussions the group are inviting you between 1pm–3pm to come and contribute to a developing archive of material.

This event forms part of the first phase of Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process, where postgraduate students from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London will be in residence at Arts Catalyst’s Cromer Street Centre throughout May and June. During this time, they will use the form and function of the public hearing as an aid for investigating a number of contemporary conditions.

Public hearings originated from the process of the enclosure of public lands in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were held in order to create a petition to parliament to enclose the land, and then later to hear objections to the act created by Parliament. Today, public hearings are still used when dealing with both public lands and private properties. Adopting the device of the public hearing, the Goldsmiths group will consider how diverse experiences and events are communicated through speech, vocalising, hearing and listening. Whose stories are heard and whose not? What other forms of nonhuman expression - animals, plants, industrial, atmospheric - are heard, and what new modes of sensing are needed? In short, who speaks and who listens, and with what technologies?

Arts Catalyst's Centre will be open to the public for A Public Hearing as part of Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process
Thursday 2 June – Friday 24 June 2016
Thursdays & Fridays, 12noon – 6pm
With events on Saturday 11 June and Saturday 25 June 2016
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Sound of Sand

Sound of Sand is an Arts Catalyst Nuclear Culture Commission by Susan Schuppli

Susan Schuppli is interested in how the objects, technologies, and practices of science are narrated in ways that makes them ‘consequential’ for culture and society. Her audio work for the exhibition is based on the 20 hertz frequency of sand.

Following a site visit to HMS Courageous she wrote:
“Our tour was conducted by a retired Officer Alan Jones who had worked for decades on various nuclear submarines overseeing their engineering and navigation systems. The Valiant-class of submarines were primarily used for surveillance, especially during the Cold War, and were tasked with trolling the waters of the North Atlantic and monitoring underwater activity that might be indicative of covert operations. Alan recounted one such sortie in which a strange new frequency was picked up by the submarine’s passive sonar technology. This is essentially a mode of sonar directed towards attentive listening as opposed to active sonar, which emits pulses that bounce echoes back to the sub where they are logged and classified according to the kinds of objects that produce such sonic-signatures. However, unable to identify this particular frequency and thus its source of emission, the submarine began to chase the sound as it moved in ever-changing configurations, sometimes disappearing altogether and then re-appearing with more intensity somewhere else. When the submarine finally surfaced and returned to its base at Faslane, Scotland it was discovered that what they had been doggedly following for weeks was the sound of granular particles of sand being rubbed by the undulating motion of the waves.”
Susan Schuppli, 2014.

Sound of Sand will be exhibited at KARST in Plymouth, as part of the exhibition Material Nuclear Culture curated by Ele Carpenter.


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Jon Adams, Konfirm

Konfirm is a sound work prompted by systematic processes which will be presented in audio and visual metaphor.

Jon Adams's artwork explores sense and sensitivity through the 'hidden' and plays with perceptions of normal and the inaccessible. A geologist by training, Adams’ seeking of the concealed in his art often reveals his naturally systematic thinking: his inclination and ability to uncover systems within everyday interactions and landscapes.

In this residency and research project, Jon Adams set out on a personal, artistic and scientific investigation of his own Asperger's Syndrome, through a series of conversations, observations and experiments, working in collaboration with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, where Adams will have a residency.

Rather than a specific pathology, Baron-Cohen sees autism as being on a continuum in the general population. He proposes that certain features of autistic people - ‘obsessions’ and repetitive behaviour - previously regarded as purposeless, are conversely highly purposive, intelligent (hyper-systemising), and a sign of a different way of thinking. He argues that high-functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome need not just lead to disability, but can also lead to talent.
This collaborative research project has emerged from an initial meeting between Jon Adams and Simon Baron-Cohen at an Arts Catalyst/Shape project Alternative Ways of Thinking at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2011.

Jon presented his sound work as a performance with accompanying talk at the Arts Catalyst's event space in Clerkenwell.

This collaborative research project has emerged from an initial meeting between Jon Adams and Simon Baron-Cohen at an Arts Catalyst/Shape project Alternative Ways of Thinking: Exploring the Autistic Mind at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2011 and supported by Wellcome Trust Arts Award



Jon Adams works in a variety of mediums, is a trained geologist and considers himself to to be an ‘Outsider Artist’. Adams has Asperger Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder) and experiences synaesthesia, a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic, involuntary responses in a second sense, for example, ‘seeing sounds’. The artist’s work explores sense and sensitivity through the ‘hidden’ and plays with perceptions of normal and the inaccessible.
Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at University of Cambridge and Director of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge. He has degrees in Human Sciences from New College, Oxford, a PhD in Psychology from UCL, and an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry in London.

Read Jon's research blog

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The Language of Cetaceans

In this special event, artist Ariel Guzik, who represented Mexico in the 2013 Venice Biennale, presented his long-term project communicating with whales and dolphins (cetaceans).

Environmental scientist and campaigner Mark Simmonds discussed the role of sound in cetacean society and the impact of sonar and noise pollution.

Ariel Guzik is an artist, musician and inventor. He designs and makes resonance instruments, which are used to enable interaction between human beings and nature through sensation and emotion, and creates installations and performances. For the last ten years, Guzik has concentrated his efforts in searching for a way of communicating with cetaceans. With a group of collaborators, he has undertaken several expeditions to contact grey whales and bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Baja California. In 2007, Guzik completed the construction of the first prototype of an underwater capsule, Nereida, a musical instrument to interact with cetaceans. Guzik presented his work with cetaceans, immediately following his visit to the North of Scotland to meet bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth, the research phase of a project with The Arts Catalyst.

Mark Peter Simmonds is an environmental scientist and marine biologist, specialising in the problems facing marine mammals in the 21st century. He is currently the Senior Marine Associate Scientist with the Humane Society International (HSI) and was previously the International Director of Science at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. Simmonds spoke about cetacean communication and the threats to these creatures caused by the increasing emissions of loud noise both deliberately and incidentally into our seas and oceans.


Ariel Guzik

Musician, researcher, artist, iridologist, herbalist and inventor, Guzik designs and produces mechanisms and instruments to enquire into the various languages of nature. He is the director of the Nature Expression and Resonance Research Laboratory in Mexico, which for over 25 years has freely explored the phenomena of resonance, mechanics, electricity, and magnetism as foundations for the invention of mechanisms that give voice to nature through music. His research work is the reflection of an intimate need to generate an atmosphere favorable to the enchantment of the world. He intends to preserve mysteries, rather than decipher them, favoring the perception of natural phenomena through the senses, fascination and fantasy. Installations and individual exhibitions of his work have been presented in national and international institutions. Guzik’s new work Cordiox will be shown in the Mexican Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Mark Peter Simmonds OBE

Mark Peter Simmonds has worked in the marine conservation and animal welfare field since the 1980s. For several years, was on the staff of Greenpeace International, then employed as a university lecturer. However, for the better part of the last two decades, Mark worked full time for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, where he was their International Director of Science. He has been involved in investigations into the impacts of human activities on marine wildlife, including studies into the effects of chemical and noise pollution and marine debris on marine mammals and the development of marine conservation policy, especially as it affects cetaceans. This includes nineteen years as part of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. Mark is also involved in field research on cetaceans in UK waters; mainly on the trail of the illusive Risso’s dolphin. He has also been the Chair of the UK’s Marine Animal Rescue Coalition (which helps to coordinate the work of the UK’s voluntary animal rescue organisations) since 1989. Mark has produced over 200 original papers and other contributions for scientific and popular periodicals and books. He recently jointly edited (with Philippa Brakes) and part authored Whales and Dolphins – Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions which was published in April 2011 by Earthscan.

Supported by The Wellcome Trust.

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KOSMICA Sound Night

A social event for artists, scientists and the cosmically curious exploring sound and sonification of space.

KOSMICA bridges Earth and space through art and other cultural experiments out of this world. Our next informal gathering for the cosmically curious will bring together artists who explore the sounds and sonification of space and our planet: Yuri Suzuki, Honor Harger and Kaffe Matthews.

The Acts

Yuri Suzuki - a sound artist, designer and electronic musician who produces work that explores the realms of sound through exquisitely designed pieces.  Yuri will present The Sound of the Earth, a spherical record project, the grooves representing the outlines of the geographic land mass. Each country on the disc is engraved with a different sound, as the needle passes over it plays field recordings collected by Yuri Suzuki from around the world over the course of four years; traditional folk music, national anthems, popular music and spoken word broadcasts.

Honor Harger - a curator and artist from New Zealand. Harger has a particular interest in artistic uses of new technologies. She's the director of Lighthouse, an arts agency in Brighton, UK. Her artistic practice is produced under the name r a d i o q u a l i a together with collaborator Adam Hyde. One of their main projects is Radio Astronomy, a radio station broadcasting sounds from space.

Kaffe Matthews - Since 1990 Kaffe has been making and performing new electro-acoustic music worldwide with a variety of things and places such as violin, theremin, Scottish weather, desert stretched wires, NASA scientists, melting ice in Quebec and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Currently she is completing three Star Gazer chairs and album for ‘Yird, Muin, Starn,’ a vital spark collaboration with Mandy McIntosh, in the Galloway Forest, Scotland.


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Astro Black Morphologies, Flow Motion

Immersive sound and image installation using transformed x-ray data from a black hole

Astro Black Morphologies is an immersive dub, techno, and avant garde electronic sound and image installation and sound performance, created using transformed x-ray data from the black hole Cygnus-XI

In 2002, scientist Phil Uttley at the University of Southampton announced that data readings of X-ray detritus from black hole Cygnus X-1 showed variations which were implicitly musical in structure.

Working with Uttley and astronomer Tim O’Brien from Jodrell Bank Observatory, artists and musicians Flow Motion (Anna Piva and Eddie George) used X-ray data gathered by NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer satellite and, using technologies and techniques for subtracting, reshaping, and resounding sound sources particular to granular synthesis, Dub and electronica, Flow Motion have made audible the music of black hole Cygnus X-1. With generative design by Adrian Ward, the resulting installations transform Cygnus X-1’s data into a multi-sensory experience of colour, light and sound.

A sound performance by Flow Motion took place at the Dana Centre on 8 June 2005

The discussion event Deep Space Poetics was held at the Dana Centre on 16 June 2005 with Eddie George and Anna Piva (Flow Motion), astronomer Tim O'Brien and Doug Vakosh from SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), chaired by Nicola Triscott.

Astro Black Morphologies was funded by Arts Council England and organised by The Arts Catalyst in association with John Hansard Gallery - with thanks to SCAN.

Flow Motion Anna Piva and Edward George’s interest in the cosmos has its autobiographical roots in the cold war space race of the 1960’s and the landing of the first man on the moon; in black music and its traditions of the exploration of space in sound; in metaphysical and scientific writing on the nature of our universe.
These concerns with the cosmos have surfaced in a number of ways and in a variety of permutations, though their art as Flow Motion, and their music as Hallucinator. Running through their work is a constant weaving of different senses of space, which oscillate around and sometimes blur the line between sonic space and the space of the cosmos.


The Arts Catalyst

Arts Council England


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Brilliant Noise - Glorious Soviet Cosmos (Space Soon)

SPACE SOON Space Film Night

The astonishing Russian documentary First on the Moon by Alexei Fedorchenko shakes our understanding of the history of human spaceflight. 

Dream Time by Jane and Louise Wilson shows the lingering power of the Russian space programme in the cash-strapped post-Soviet era.

In Semiconductor’s Brilliant Noise, untouched images of our sun, captured by the SoHo satellite, present an alternative aesthetic of space.

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Artists Airshow

A day of art and flying in and around Europe's largest wind tunnel.

Airshow used the then deserted research facility where supersonic flight was developed and the ghosts of sixties rocket projects linger. Artists’ installations and transmissions were sited in the abandoned wind tunnels, test tanks and life-size helicopter flight simulators. There was a programme of flying events presented by artists and guided tours of the wind tunnels organised by the Farnborough Air Sciences and led by the engineers who formerly worked in the facility.

A highlight of day was Simon Faithfull’s Escape Vehicle no.6, a full-scale chair suspended beneath a weather balloon with a camera and transmitter. This apparatus was released from a launch pad - on an extremely windy day - and rapidly rose above the earth ultimately into the blackness of the stratosphere on the edge of space. With the naked eye, the audience on earth at Farnborough watched the balloon and chair recede and disappear into the sky, but they were then immediately able to follow the rest of the journey on a giant screen via a live video downlink from the escape vehicle.

Zina Kaye demonstrated the use of the Observatine UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), a petrol-powered unmanned surveillance airplane created with onboard camera and computer, controlled via an internet browser. The airplane took off from the Farnborough airfield runway, and the audience were able to follow the airplane’s flight by sight in the skies as well as on monitors. 
Miles Chalcraft’s Tear-Rain was a two-stage, 6-foot rocket aimed to deliver a year’s worth of tears over the assembled audience (as a small burst of rain at the end of another bad summer). The momentary cloudburst was to be observed with a rocket's eye view by an onboard wireless camera and simultaneously relayed to a large TV monitor. 

Luke Jerram’s Ghost Plane was a site-specific new commission: an apparition in the wind tunnel. A ghostly spitfire summoned up by eddying air currents shimmering across a reflective bed of mercury, Ghost Plane echoed the aircraft tested at Farnborough and the engineers who once used mercury to measure the shifting air pressure in the wind tunnels. Stefan Gec’s Celestial Vault, commissioned for MIR: Art in Variable Gravity, is a video installation recorded in the giant centrifuge at Moscow’s Star City cosmonaut training centre. It was sited in the return chamber of the large wind tunnel.

Tim Knowles was commissioned to create a site-specific balloon drawing machine, which produced randomised wind drawings by wind-blown balloons. Installed in the sonic wind tunnel, Flow Motion’s Dissolve. a digital audio installation, takes as its starting point Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. Louise K Wilson created Loop, a site-specific video and sound installation using footage shot from the cockpit of a Slingsby Firefly of a repeated aerobatic manoeuvre performed in the skies above Northumbria in August 2004

Marko Peljhan gave a talk about his ongoing collaboration with the Aerosonde corporation, which manufactures long-distance UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) for use in environmental surveys in oceans and inhospitable terrain such as Antarctica.

To conclude the day, Anne Bean literally created a spectacular drawing for the sky, using balloons, parachute flares and small rockets, in collaboration with pyrotechnicians Mark Anderson and Nick Sales.

External links:

YouTube 1st International Artists Airshow, 2nd International Artists Airshow

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Sounds of Space, Kate Tierney residency

Kate Tierney's investigation of sounds of deep space at the Centre for Astrophysics & Planetary Science, University of Kent

Kate Tierney is a multimedia artist specialising in sound and its perception. Her artwork responds to and interprets environments and encourages interaction, experimenting with the physical nature of sound. With a background in electronics, engineering, computing and sound design, Kate’s projects often include the design/build of crucial hardware and software.

The research of the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CAPS) focuses on the origin and evolution of galaxies; the birth of stars; astrochemistry; asteroid and cometary impacts on planets; spacecraft damage; and detector development. CAPS is heavily involved in several major astronomical missions, and the recent Huygens probe to Titan was built at Kent.

Kate's residency involved a practical, aesthetic and intellectual exploration of the following questions:

1. As scientists have extended the normal range of perception to show visual images of deep space, how can sound in space (which exists, but is too tenuous to be heard with ears) be similarly represented?

2. How can the dynamism & violence of the universe be revealed, including that of the immediate environment of Earth? How can sound be used to do this?

3. How do we filter out background noise, both in real life & in astronomy? 

Her residency included a trip to attend an observing run at Subaru telescope, Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

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Bipolar: Anne Brodie, Weather Permitting

New works by Anne Brodie and Weather Permitting shown at the Society of Antiquaries, London, alongside the launch of a new book, Bipolar

Two new commissioned works were shown at the Society of Antiquaries to coincide with the launch of the new book Bipolar, as the culmination of the Polar programme.

Artist Anne Brodie took one of the lumps of ice that she had brought back from Antarctica out of its lodgings inside the British Antarctic Surveys freezer in Cambridge and let it not so gently melt over the course of the evening. It was acoustically wired up by sound engineers Lee Patterson and Mark Hornsby, and produced uncomfortably loud interruptions as the ancient air kept locked under pressure by the ice belched into the London air. The cabinet was recycled from an exhibition held in the British museum

Weather Permitting (Kathryn Yusoff and Jennifer Gabrys) presented a series of large snow globes containing contemporary or near-future polar landscapes. Forecast Factory: Snow Globes and Climate Change are part of a project that investigates the phenomena of weather, from tornadoes in trailer parks to drifting ice shelves in the Antarctic. 


Bipolar is a interdisciplinary polar archive created for International Polar Year 2007-08. It is published to mark the 'Polar Archives' symposium and series of talks, held at the British Library in Autumn 2007, which brought together leading artists, scholars, scientists and thinkers to explore how our knowledge of the Polar regions is constructed and how it can be enriched.

The book features essays from the renowned geographer Denis Cosgrove and cultural critic Kathryn Yusoff, and over 30 'archives' contributed by the symposium participants that investigate various records — visual, personal, historical, chemical, biological — that can enrich and extend our engagement with the Polar regions and their effect on global environments. The collection investigates how archives place demands on us to think about what is vital in that knowledge—vital to our present work and to the work to come—the basis on which we remake worlds. With the Polar regions under increasing pressure due to climate change, both environmentally and geopolitically, these archives assume their most potent role as the basis on which we imagine and shape the futures of both polar and global spaces.

Authors include Denis Cosgrove, Kathryn Yusoff, Nicola Triscott, Eric Wolff, Heather Frazar, Rachel Weiss, London Fieldworks, Stephan Harrison, Marko Peljhan, Katrina Dean, Anne Brodie, Sverker Sörlin, Simon Faithfull, Aqqaluk Lynge.

Price £12.95
ISBN 9780953454662
Edited by Kathryn Yusoff
Published by The Arts Catalyst, 2008
Designed by PKMB/Paul Khera
Full colour, 128 pages, softback.
Dimensions 220 x 170mm.

Buy online from Cornerhouse

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Anne Brodie and Weather Permitting


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