Shanghai native 33EMYBW (Wu Shanmin) has been an active member in the Chinese music scene for over a decade. She has also performed at CTM and Sinotronics in Germany, China Drifting Festival in Switzerland, and SXSW. Her 2018 album Golem, released on SVBKVLT, was met with critical acclaim and voted one of the best electronic albums of 2018 by Bandcamp. In 2019 she released DONG2 EP under Merrie Records Beijing, and will premiere her sophomore album Arthropods (SVBKVLT) at Unsound 2019.
Aasma Tulika is an artist based in Delhi. Her practice locates technological infrastructures as sites to unpack how power embeds, affects, and moves narrative making processes. Her work engages with moments that disturb belief systems through assemblages of video, zines, interactive text, writings and sound. Aasma was a fellow at the Home Workspace Program 2019-20, Ashkal Alwan, her work has appeared in Restricted Fixations, Abr_circle, Khoj Art+Science program, HH Art Space. She is a member of the collective -out-of-line-, and collaboratively maintains a home server hosting an internet radio station. She is currently teaching at Ambedkar University Delhi.
A Hanley is an artist currently living on Wurundjeri Country in Melbourne, Australia. Their practice uses sound and media to explore relations among queer ecologies, attunement, situatedness, and speculative practices. Engaging forms of performance, installation, and collaboration, Hanley's work is interested in audition as an affective practice and the possibilities of sound and technology to support and alter the sonic expressions of humans and non-humans.
Aisyah Aaqil Sumito is an artist and writer living near Derbarl Yerrigan on Whadjuk Noongar Bibbulmun lands. Their work reflects mostly on personal intersections of disability, queerness and diasporic ancestry in so-called 'australia'. They have recently made text-based contributions to Runway Journal and HERE&NOW20: Perfectly Queer, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery.
Alessandro Bosetti is an Italian composer, performer and sound artist, currently based in Marseille. His work delves into the musicality of spoken language, utilising misunderstandings, translations and interviews as compositional tools. His works for voice and electronics blur the line between electro-acoustic composition, aural writing and performance.
Alexander Garsden is a Melbourne-based composer, guitarist and electroacoustic musician, working across multiple exploratory musical disciplines. Recent work includes commissions from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Speak Percussion, Michael Kieran Harvey and Eugene Ughetti; alongside performances with artists including Tetuzi Akiyama (Japan), Oren Ambarchi, Radu Malfatti (Austria), Julia Reidy, David Stackenäs (Sweden), and with Erkki Veltheim and Rohan Drape. From 2014 to 2019 Garsden was Co-Director of the INLAND Concert Series. He has taught through RMIT University and the University of Melbourne.
Alexander Powers is a choreographer, performer and DJ from Naarm. In 2019 they premiered their first full length choreographic work Time Loop at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, receiving the Temperance Hall Award at the Fringe Awards. Under the moniker Female Wizard, they are known internationally for their forward-thinking DJ sets. They’ve performed at Golden Plains, Dark Mofo, Boiler Room, Hybrid Festival and Soft Centre and held a four year residency at Le Fag.
Alexandra Spence is a sound artist and musician living on unceded Wangal land in Sydney, Australia. Through her practice Alex attempts to reimagine the intricate relationships between the listener, the object, and the surrounding environment as a kind of communion or conversation. Her aesthetic favours field recordings, analogue technologies and object interventions. Alex has presented her art and music in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America including BBC Radio; Ausland, Berlin; Café Oto, London; EMS, Stockholm; Punkt Festival, Kristiansand; Standards Studio, Milan; AB Salon, Brussels; Radiophrenia, Glasgow; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; Sound Forms Festival, Hong Kong; MONO, Brisbane; The Substation, Melbourne; Soft Centre, and Liveworks Festival, Sydney.
Allanah Stewart is an artist from Aotearoa/New Zealand, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. As well as her work in various experimental music projects, she is the presenter of a monthly podcast radio programme called Enquiring Minds, hosted by Noods radio, which explores old and new, lesser known and well known sounds that loosely fit under the banner of experimental music.
Allison Gibbs is an artist living and working on Djaara Country/Maldon, Victoria. She is currently a PhD candidate at Monash University Art, Design and Architecture (MADA).
Mouth Making an Orifice has been adapted for OOO/LA from a part of Allison’s doctoral research (Orificing as Method).
Amanda Stewart is a poet, author, and vocal artist. She has created a diverse range of publications, performances, film and radio productions in Australia, Europe, Japan, and the USA, working in literature, new music, broadcasting, theatre, dance, and new media environments. Amanda collaborated with Chris Mann for many years in the Australian ensemble, Machine For Making Sense (with Jim Denley, Rik Rue, and Stevie Wishart), as well as in other contexts. Her poem ‘ta’ was written in honour of Chris Mann’s extraordinary vision and work.
Amy Cimini is a musicologist, violist, and Associate Professor of Music at UC San Diego. She works on questions of power, community, and technology in twentieth & twenty-first century experimental music, sound art, and auditory culture. She is the author of Wild Sound: Maryanne Amacher and the Tenses of Audible Life (OUP 2022) and numerous articles. She embraces feminist historiographic methods and, as a musician, centers performance-based epistemologies to query how culture workers negotiate power and difference within local, regional, and transnational histories.
Anabelle Lacroix is a French-Australian curator, writer and radio contributor. Working independently in Paris, she is based at Fondation Fiminco for a year-long residency focused on the politics of sleeplessness (2020). She has a broad practice, and a current interest in experimental practice, working with performance, sound, discourse and publishing. She is a PhD candidate at UNSW Art & Design.
Ander Rennick is a graphic artist based in Melbourne interested in the fetishisation of editorial, pedagogical, pornographic and mimetic commodities.
Andrew Brooks is an artist, writer, and teacher who lives on unceded Wangal land. He is a lecturer in media cultures at UNSW, one half of the critical art collective Snack Syndicate, and a member of the Rosa Press Collective. Homework, a book of essays co-written with Astrid Lorange, was recently published by Discipline.
Andrew Fedorovitch is compos mentis. Andrew Fedorovitch embodies professionalism in every aspect of his life, including music.
André Dao is a writer, editor, researcher, and artist. His debut novel, Anam, won the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. He is also the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral history project documenting people’s experience of immigration detention and a producer of the Walkley-award winning podcast, The Messenger. He is a member of the Manus Recording Project Collective.
Angela Goh is a dancer and choreographer. Her work poses possibilities for disruption and transformation inside the aesthetics and conditions of technocapitalism, planetarity, and the post-anthropocene. She lives and works in Sydney, and has toured her work across Australia, Europe, the UK, the USA and Asia. She received the 2020 Keir Choreographic Award and the inaugural Sydney Dance Company Beyond the Studio Fellowship 2020-21.
Anna Annicchiarico has a bachelor's degree in Hindi language and literature and she specialised in anthropology at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. For her studies, she focused on the effects of orientalism in post-colonial imageries, especially on migrants in Italy, analysing religious places, and their meaning for different generations. In recent years, she has been increasingly involved in contemporary art and performance.
Anna Liebzeit composes for collaborations across installation, theatre, and film. Recent compositions include the feature film The Survival of Kindness (Rolf de Heer 2022), Sleeplessness Carriageworks (Karen Therese 2022), The Darkness of Enlightenment Samstag Museum of Art (James Tylor 2021), kipli pawuta lumi MONA FOMA (2020), and SHIT and LOVE by Dee and Cornelius (45 Downstairs, Venice Biennale 2019, and feature film SHIT 2021). Anna has made music for various NAIDOC events and has had work shown at various venues nationally.
Her solo practice investigates erasure and becoming inscribed, as a personal and broader (Australian) cultural phenomenon. Her research is linked to the lived experience of Stolen Generations and relationality by drawing on Susan Dion’s educative provocation to complicate empathy when engaging with First Nations peoples. Anna has been an educator in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and education for over twenty years and is an award-winning curriculum writer. In 2021 she received the Creative Victoria Creators Fund grant to research the intersections of her teaching and creative methodologies.
Anne Zeitz is associate professor at University Rennes 2. Her research focuses on aural attention, the inaudible, the unheard, and the polyphony in contemporary art. She directed the research project 'Sound Unheard' and she co-organised the eponymous exhibition at the Goethe-Institut Paris, Paris and exhibition 'Échos magnétiques” at the MBA Rennes, Rennes in 2019.
Annika Kristensen is Senior Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.
Arben Dzika is an artist whose practice involves working with various media including, but not limited to: sound, image, word, and performance. His work primarily seeks to reflect on, interrogate, and play with technologies, systems, and human senses. Within his practice, he works as a producer and DJ under the moniker, Dilae.
Archie Barry is an interdisciplinary visual artist working with a trans politics of quietude. Their practice is autobiographical, somatic, and process-led, and spans performance, video, music production, and writing. Cultivating a genealogy of personas, they produce self-portraiture that brings to question dominant notions of personhood and representation.
Arlie Alizzi is a Yugambeh writer living between Yawuru Country (Broome) and Wurundjeri Country (Melbourne). He is an editor, writer and researcher. He was an editor for Un Magazine with Neika Lehman in 2018, and co-edited a special issue of Archer Magazine in 2020. He was a writer-in-residence for MPavilion in 2019, and is interested in articulations of place in writing about urban areas.
Audrey Schmidt is a writer and editor based in Melbourne, Australia. She is a regular contributor to Memo Review, co-editor the third issue of Dissect Journal, and has written for various publications including Art Monthly, Art + Australia and un Magazine. She co-founded Minority Report with Adam Hammad in 2018 and released one online issue that was available until the domain expired in 2019. Audrey sits on the FYTA (GR) Board of Advisors.
Austin Benjamin, known for his stage name Utility, is a Sydney-based music producer, artist & founder of the label Trackwork. He’s released projects through Room 40, Sumac, HellosQuare, and produced music for releases on labels including Universal NZ, AVTV, Warner & 66 Records. In 2019 Utility & close collaborator T. Morimoto released Nexus Destiny featuring a collection of 60 arpeggios made entirely with software synthesisers, released on Melbourne-based label Sumac.
Earlier this year Utility performed alongside T Breezy, Walkerboy, Sevy & Bayang at Sydney Opera House’s Barrbuwari event. Austin has previously composed and performed new works for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and University of Queensland Art Museum with T. Morimoto, and MONA FOMA Tasmania with turntablist Martin Ng and has exhibited audio-visual gallery works including ‘Strategic Innovation’ with Coen Young at Kronenberg Wright, Sydney.
Autumn Royal is a poet, researcher, and educator based in Narrm/Melbourne. Autumn’s current research examines elegiac expression in contemporary poetry. Autumn is the interviews editor for Cordite Poetry Review, and author of the poetry collections She Woke & Rose (Cordite Books, 2016) and Liquidation (Incendium Radical Library, 2019).
Beau Lai (formerly Lilly) is an artist and writer currently based in Paris, France. Beau spent their formative years working intensively within the contemporary arts industry on Darug and Gadigal land in so-called 'Australia'. They are most well known for self-publishing their essay and work of institutional critique, 'Working at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. It does not exist in a vacuum', in 2020.
Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate and filmmaker. He was writer for the Kurdish language magazine Werya. He writes regularly for The Guardian and several other publications. Boochani is also co-director (with Arash Kamali Sarvestani) of the 2017 feature-length film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time, and author of No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison. He was held on Manus Island from 2013 until 2019.
Ben Raynor is an artist, living in Melbourne.
Bianca Winataputri is a Melbourne-based independent curator and writer researching contemporary practice in Southeast Asia, and relationships between individuals and collectives in relation to history, globalisation, identity and community building. Currently working at Regional Arts Victoria, Bianca was previously Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the NGA. She holds a BA (University of Melbourne), and BA Honours from the ANU where she received the Janet Wilkie Prize for Art. In 2018 Bianca was selected for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s Curators’ Intensive.
Brad Darkson is a South Australian visual artist currently working across various media including carving, sound, sculpture, multimedia installation, and painting. Darkson's practice is regularly focused on site specific works, and connections between contemporary and traditional cultural practice, language and lore. His current research interests include traditional land management practices, bureaucracy, seaweed, and the neo-capitalist hellhole we're all forced to exist within. Conceptually, Darkson's work is often informed by his First Nations and Anglo Australian heritage. Brad's mob on his dad's side is the Chester family, with lineages to Narungga and many other Nations in South Australia from Ngarrindjeri to Far West Coast. On his mum's side he is from the Colley and Ball convict and settler migrant families, both arriving in 1839, aboard the Duchess of Northumberland.
Brandon LaBelle is an artist, writer and theorist working with sound culture, voice, and questions of agency. Guided by situated and collaborative methodologies, he develops and presents artistic projects and performances within a range of international contexts, mostly working in public and with others. This leads to performative installations, poetic theater, storytelling, and research actions aimed at forms of experimental community making, as well as extra-institutional initiatives, including The Listening Biennial and Academy (2021-ongoing). From gestures of intimacy and listening to critical festivity and experimental pedagogy, his practice aligns itself with a politics and poetics of radical hospitality.
Brian Hioe was one of the founding editors of New Bloom, an online magazine covering activism and youth politics in Taiwan and the Asia Pacific, founded in 2014 in the wake of the Sunflower Movement. Hioe is a freelance writer on social movements and politics, as well as an occasional translator.
Bridget Chappell works across dance and classical music, speculative technology, ungovernable space, and literature. She DJs and produces music as Hextape and tries to leave a trail of rave breadcrumbs wherever she goes.
Bryan Phillips A.K.A. Galambo is a Chilean/Australian artist working in community arts, music and performance, using sound as a means to facilitate engagement with others. His practice has mainly been developed in Chile, but after completing his Masters in Community Cultural Development (VCA-2013) he has become involved in projects with artists from Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Australia.
Camila Marambio is a private investigator, amateur dancer, permaculture enthusiast, and sporadic writer, but first and foremost, she is a curator and the founder/director of Ensayos, a nomadic interdisciplinary research program in Tierra del Fuego.
Candice Hopkins is a curator, writer and researcher interested in history, art and indigeneity, and their intersections. Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Hopkins is a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation. She was senior curator for the 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art, and worked on the curatorial teams for the Canadian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, and documenta 14.
Casey (Nicholls-Bull) Jones is the assistant editor for Liquid Architecture's Disclaimer.
She is also an artist who utilises embodied knowledge, plant and herbal study, research, and deep listening as the backbones of her practice. Through unhurried and repetitive processes such as pyrographic wood burning techniques, oil painting, and the observation of and connection to natural cycles and materials, Jones uses these methods to rearrange, layer, peel back, and continually connect to knowledges, memories and histories that are personally felt, encountered, and observed around her. Jones uses the moon cycle as a continual framework to maintain the rhythm and logic of her practise, and is continually in the midst of deconstructing the complexity of working as a settler on unceded Wurundjeri land through her processes of both making and understanding. Her hope is that through circling, living through, and re-curringly interrogating these things she studies and tends to, something fruitful may gradually become embodied, communicated and understood in new ways by herself and those who encounter her work.
Sound Mastering: Casey Rice is an audio doula living and practicing on Djaara Country/Castlemaine, Victoria.
Catherine Ryan is an artist who works with performance, sound, text, video and installation. She often uses humour and references to philosophical and pop figures to interrogate the neoliberal disciplining the body. She has exhibited at galleries and festivals in Australia and Europe, including Gertrude Contemporary, MUMA (Melbourne), the Royal College of Art (London), the Vienna Biennale and the Melbourne Art Fair. She is currently a PhD candidate at RMIT University, researching how ideas from experimental composition, cybernetics and performance can help us wrestle with the existential threat of extinction that climate change and other catastrophes pose to life on our planet.
Cecilia Vicuña's work dwells in the not yet, the future potential of the unformed, where sound, weaving, and language interact to create new meanings.
'In January 1966, I began creating precarios (precarious) installations and basuritas, objects composed of debris, structures that disappear, along with quipus and other weaving metaphors. I called these works 'Arte Precario', creating a new independent category, a non-colonized name for them. The precarios soon evolved into collective rituals and oral performances based on dissonant sound and the shamanic voice. The fluid, multi-dimensional quality of these works allowed them to exist in many media and languages at once. Created in and for the moment, they reflect ancient spiritual technologies—a knowledge of the power of individual and communal intention to heal us and the earth.'
Cher Tan is an essayist and critic living and working on unceded Wurundjeri Country. Her work has appeared in the Sydney Review of Books, Hyperallergic, Runway Journal, Art Guide Australia, Catapult and Overland, amongst others. She is an editor at LIMINAL and the books editor at Meanjin. Her debut essay collection, Peripathetic: Notes on (Un)belonging, is forthcoming with NewSouth Publishing in 2024.
Chi Tran is a writer, editor, and an artist who makes poems that may be text, video, object, sound, or drawing. Chi is primarily interested in working with language as a means of coming-to-terms. Their work has been published by Incendium Radical Library Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Poetry and Liminal Magazine and exhibited at galleries including Firstdraft, Sydney; Punk Café, Melbourne; and ACCA, Melbourne. In 2019, as a recipient of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust Fund, Chi spent three months in New York developing their practice with renowned poets including Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Fred Moten, and Jackie Wang.
Christopher L G Hill is an artist, poet, anarchist, collaborator, facilitator, lover, friend, DJ, performer, sound pervader, publisher of Endless Lonely Planet, co-label boss; Bunyip trax, traveller, homebody, dancer, considerate participator, dishwasher, writer, bencher, eater, exhibitor: Sydney, Physics Room, Westspace, TCB, BUS, Punk Cafe,100 Grand street, Lismore Regional Gallery, Good Press, Gambia Castle, Conical, GCAS, NGV, VCA, Mission Comics, Slopes, Art Beat, Papakura Gallery, Neon Parc, UQ Gallery, Tate Modern, Connors Connors, Glasgow International, Sandy Brown, OFLUXO, New Scenarios, Margaret Lawrence, Flake, Utopian Slumps, World Food Books, Sutton, Rearview, Joint Hassles, a basement, a tree, Innen publications, SAM, Chateau 2F, etc, and tweeter, twitcher, sleeper, Biennale director (‘Melbourne Artist initiated’ 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018-20), DJ, retired gallerist Y3K, conversationalist who represents them self and others, born Melbourne/Narrm 1980c.e, lives World.
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan is a Hong Kong–Australian artist, living in Sydney. Working across music, performance and installation, Rainbow is interested in the copy and how the ways in which it can disrupt Western notions of ownership. Central to Rainbow's work is the circulation of knock-off objects, sounds and images in global media. Her work positions the counterfeit as a complex sign that shapes new myths, values and contemporary commodity production.
Claire G Coleman is a Noongar writer, born in Western Australia, and now based in Naarm. Her family have been from the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun on the south coast of WA since before time started being recorded. Claire wrote her black&write! Fellowship-winning book Terra Nullius while travelling around Australia in a caravan. The Old Lie (2019) was her second novel and in 2021 her acclaimed non-fiction book, Lies, Damned Lies was published by Ultimo Press. Enclave is her third novel. Since mid 2020 Claire has also been a member of the cultural advisory committee for Agency, a Not-for-profit Indigenous arts Consultancy.
Clare M. Cooper has brought together thousands of people to work together on community festivals, skill-share spaces, pleasure activism, speculative design, and critical listening through co-founding the NOW now (2001), Splinter Orchestra (2000), Berlin Splitter Orchester (2009), Frontyard Projects (2016), and Climate Strike Workshop (2019).
She wrote her PhD thesis on the intersections of context-responsive improvised music practice and collaborative design, and is a Lecturer at the University of Sydney School of Design Architecture and Planning. Disclaimer journal's profile on Cooper, written by Jim Denley can be found here.
Clare Milledge is an artist and academic, she lives and works between the lands of the Arakwal people in Bundjalung country (Broken Head, Northern NSW) and the lands of the Bidjigal and Gadigal people (Paddington, Sydney). She is a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Art & Design and is represented by STATION gallery.
Coco Klockner is an artist and writer living in New York City. Recent exhibitions include venues such as The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred, NY; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn; Guadalajara90210, CDMX; The Luminary, St. Louis; Bass & Reiner, San Francisco; Lubov, New York; ONE Archives, Los Angeles; and Egret Egress, Toronto. They are the author of the book K-Y (Genderfail, 2019) and have published writing with Montez Press, Real Life Magazine, Spike Art Magazine, and Burnaway.
Dale Gorfinkel is a musician-artist whose stylefree improvisational approach informs his performances, instrument-building, and kinetic sound installations. Aiming to reflect an awareness of the dynamic nature of culture and the value of listening as a mode of knowing people and places, Dale is interested in bringing creative communities together and shifting perceived boundaries. Current projects include Prophets, Sounds Like Movement, and Music Yared as well as facilitating Art Day South, an inclusive arts studio with Arts Access Victoria.
Damiano Bertoli was an artist and writer who worked across drawing, theatre, video, prints, installation and sculpture. With works of great humour and intelligence, Bertoli was best known for his ongoing series Continuous Moment, which sprawled a range of mediums across multiple works, ultimately circulating on time itself. His practice gravitated toward aesthetic and cultural moments, particularly related to his birth year of 1969.
Daniel Green is an artist and performer. His practice explores the objects and media we use to occupy our time, and how they are used to give our lives meaning. Daniel’s work has been exhibited within Campbelltown Arts Centre, Pelt, Artspace and BUS Projects, and has performed at Electrofringe, The Now Now Festival, Liquid Architecture, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and Cafe OTO in London. He lives and works in London.
Daniel Jenatsch makes interdisciplinary works that explore the interstices between affect and information. His work combines hyper-detailed soundscapes, music and video to create multimedia documentaries, installations, radio pieces, and performances. He is the winner of the 2020 John Fries award. His works have been presented in exhibitions and programs at ACCA, UNSW, Arts House, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, the Athens Biennale, NextWave Festival, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Liquid Architecture Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and the MousonTurm, Frankfurt.
Danni Zuvela is a curator and writer based in Melbourne and the Gold Coast. Her research is informed by interests in feminism, activism, ecology, language and performance. With Joel Stern, Danni has led Liquid Architecture as Artistic Director, and continues to develop curatorial projects for the organisation.
Debris Facility Pty Ltd is a para-corporate entity who engages im/material contexts with the view to highlight and disrupt administrative forms and their embedded power relations. Deploying print, design, installation, and wearables as the most visible parts of operations, they also work in experimental pedagogy and perforated performance of labour. They are a white-settler parasite with theft and dispossession as the implicated ground from which they work. They currently hold contracts with Liquid Architecture, Victorian College of the Arts, Monash University and Debris Facility Pty Ltd.
Diego Ramirez makes art, writes about culture, and labours in the arts. In 2018, he showed his video work in a solo screening by ACCA x ACMI and he performed in Lifenessless at West Space x Gertrude Contemporary in 2019. His work has been shown locally and internationally at MARS Gallery, ACMI, Westspace, Torrance Art Museum, Hong-Gah Museum, Careof Milan, Buxton Cotntemporary, WRO Media Art Biennale, Human Resources LA, Art Central HK, Sydney Contemporary, and Deslave. His words feature in Art and Australia, NECSUS, un Projects, Runway Journal, Art Collector, and Australian Book Review. He is represented by MARS Gallery, Editor-at-large at Running Dog and Gallery Manager at SEVENTH.
Dimitri Troaditis works in the Greek-Australian media. As a poet he has been extensively published in Greece and in Australia in numerous literary journals, websites, blogs and anthologies. He has published six poetry collections and two social history books so far. He has organised poetry readings in Melbourne for years and translates others’ poetry. He runs poetry website To Koskino and was a resident of Coburg for 19 years.
Douglas Kahn is an historian and theorist of energies in the arts, sound in the arts and sound studies, and media arts, from the late-nineteenth century to the present. He lives on unceded Dharug and Gundungurra land. His books include Energies in the Arts (MIT Press, 2019); Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts (University of California Press, 2013); Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999); Mainframe Experimentalism: Early Computing and the Foundations of Digital Arts, edited with Hannah Higgins (University of California Press, 2012); and Source: Music of the Avant-garde, edited with Larry Austin (University of California Press, 2011).
Dr. Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Internationally Known Private Ear
Serving Industries of Culture Since 2007
Licensed & Bonded: Goldsmiths College, University of London
Civil | Criminal | Human | Marital | Theological | Supernatural
Bureaus: Beirut, Berlin, Dubai, London
Dylan Martorell is an artist and musician based in Narrm/Melbourne Victoria. He is a founding member of Slow Art Collective, Snawklor, Hi God People, and Forum of Sensory Motion. He has performed and exhibited internationally, including projects with; Art Dubai, Asian Art Biennale, Tarrawarra Biennale, Jakarta Biennale and Kochi Muzirus Biennale. His work often combines site-specific materiality and music to create temporary sites for improvised community engagement.
Dylan Robinson is a xwélméxw (Stó:lō) writer, artist, scholar and curator, He is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, and associate professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is author of Hungry Listening, Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies, published by University of Minnesota Press.
Elena Biserna is a scholar and independent curator based in Marseille (France), working at the intersection of social, political and public spheres.
Eloise Sweetman loves art, misses her home in Western Australia, all the time loving Rotterdam where she became friends with Pris Roos whose artwork Sweetman speaks of. Sweetman is a curator, artist, writer and teacher working in intimacy, not knowing and material relation. She started Shimmer with Dutch-Australian artist Jason Hendrik Hansma in 2017.
Author of Hearing the Cloud (Zero Books), Emile Frankel is a writer and composer researching the changing conditions of online listening. In his spare time he runs the science fiction and critical fantasy publisher Formling.
Curious about the tender intersections between art, life and friendships, Emma Nixon is an emerging curator and writer. In 2018 she completed a Bachelor of Art History and Curating at Monash University and co-founded Cathedral Cabinet ARI in the Nicholas Building. In Melbourne she has curated and written about exhibitions that investigate subjects such as abstraction, the domestic, care and collage within contemporary art.
Emma Ramsay is active across experimental dance and DIY music; sound performance; and other text collaborations. She works in community media and archives.
Emma Russell is a critical carceral studies scholar and senior lecturer in crime, justice and legal studies at La Trobe University, Australia. She researches and writes on policing and criminalisation, prisons, detention, and activism. Emma is the author of Queer Histories and the Politics of Policing (2020) and co-author of Resisting Carceral Violence: Women’s Imprisonment and the Politics of Abolition (2018).
Eric Avery is a Ngiyampaa, Yuin, Bandjalang and Gumbangirr artist. As part of his practice Eric plays the violin, dances and composes music. Working with his family’s custodial songs he seeks to revive and continue on an age old legacy – continuing the tradition of singing in his tribe – utilising his talents to combine and create an experience of his peoples culture.
Ernie Althoff has been making experimental music since the late 1970s, and is well-known for his work. Throughout this period he has always remained true to his exploratory ideals.
Fayen d’Evie is an artist and writer, based in Muckleford, Australia. Her projects are often conversational and collaborative, and resist spectatorship by inviting audiences into sensorial readings of artworks. Fayen advocates the radical potential for blindness, arguing that blindness offers critical positions and methods attuned to sensory translations, ephemerality, the tangible and the intangible, concealment, uncertainty, the precarious, and the invisible. With artist Katie West, Fayen co-founded the Museum Incognita, which revisits neglected or obscured histories through scores that activate embodied readings. Fayen is also the founder of 3-ply, which investigates artist-led publishing as an experimental site for the creation, dispersal, translation, and archiving of texts.
Fjorn Bastos is an artist, researcher, and event organiser. As an artist, she works primarily in sound and performance under the name Papaphilia. As a researcher, she interrogates how biological discourses are used in neoliberal/colonial governance structures to shape the political. Fjorn's research informs her writing on sound-poetics and the challenges this framework poses to anglophone notions of property. She is also co-director of Future Tense and co-curator of Writing and Concepts.
Frances Barrett is an artist who lives and works on Kaurna land in Tarntanya/Adelaide. Frances is currently Lecturer in Contemporary Art at University of South Australia.
Francis Carmody’s artistic practice serves as a useful alibi to reach out to people he admires across disciplines and technical capabilities to share stories and complete projects. Through tracing networks and natural structures, he would like to get to the bottom of what the hell is going on.
This process of enquiry draws on meticulous research, cold calling, persistence and frequent rejection. Creating an ever-expanding list of Project Partners.
Francis Plagne is a musician and writer. He has written about contemporary art for several major Australian publications and institutions. His musical work integrates idiosyncratic forms of songwriting with a variety of other approaches, including group improvisation, instrumental miniatures, and domestic musique concrète. He has been performing live regularly since 2005 and has released recordings on labels such as Black Truffle, Horn of Plenty, Kye Records, Penultimate Press and his own Mould Museum micro-label.
Freya Schack-Arnott is an Australian/Danish cellist who enjoys a multi-faceted career as a soloist and ensemble performer of classical and contemporary repertoire, curator and improviser within experimental music, electronics, popular and cross-disciplinary art forms. Schack-Arnott regularly performs with Australia's leading new music ensembles, including ELISION Ensemble (as core member) and Ensemble Offspring. Her curatorial roles include co-curator/founder of the regular 'Opus Now' music series and previous curator of the NOW Now festival and Rosenberg Museum.
Geoff Robinson is a Melbourne-based artist working on Wurundjeri country. Robinson creates event-based artworks that utilise the temporal qualities of sound and performance and the spatial conditions of physical sites to unravel the durational layers of place. Robinson has presented projects with Titanik, Turku; Bus Projects, Melbourne; Liquid Architecture, Melbourne; and MoKS, Mooste, Estonia. He was awarded the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2014 and completed the PhD project Durational Situation at MADA, Monash University, Melbourne, 2018.
Georgia Hutchison is a cultural development practitioner and arts executive in Naarm/Melbourne, and Executive Director/CEO of Liquid Architecture. Her practice as an artist, educator, organiser and strategist crosses contemporary art, music, design and social justice.
Gooooose (Han Han) is an electronic music producer, visual artist and software developer based in Shanghai, China. His current releases include They (D Force, 2017), Dong 1 (D Force, 2018), Pro Rata (ANTE-RASA, 2019). Gooooose's 2019 SVBKVLT–released RUSTED SILICON received positive reviews from media including boomkat, Resident Advisor, Dusted Magazine, and The Wire. Gooooose has performed live at CTM (Berlin, 2018), Nyege Nyege (Kampala, 2019), Soft Centre (Sydney, 2019), Unsound (Kraków, 2019) and Recombinant (San Francisco, 2019).
Harmony Holiday is a writer, dancer, archivist, director, and the author of four collections of poetry, Negro League Baseball, Go Find Your Father/A Famous Blues, Hollywood Forever, and A Jazz Funeral for Uncle Tom. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.
Haroon Mirza is an artist who intertwines his practice with the role of composer. Mirza considers electricity his main medium and creates atmospheric environments through the linking together of light, sound, music, videos and elements of architecture. Regularly showing internationally in group and solo exhibitions, Mirza’s work has also been included in the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, China (2012) and the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011), where he was awarded the Silver Lion.
Holly Childs is an artist and writer. Her research involves filtering stories of computation through frames of ecology, earth, memory, poetry, and light. She is the author of two books: No Limit (Hologram, Melbourne) and Danklands (Arcadia Missa, London), and she collaborates with Gediminas Žygus on ‘Hydrangea’. She is currently writing her third book, What Causes Flowers Not to Bloom?.
Holly Herndon experiments at the outer reaches of dance music and pop. Born in Tennessee, Herndon spent her formative years in Berlin’s techno scene and repatriated to San Francisco, where she completed her PhD at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Her albums include Platform (2015) and Proto (2019).
Iliass Saoud was born in Halba, Lebanon in 1960 as the sixth of eight children of Wakim and Nadima Saoud. Escaping the Lebanese Civil War in 1977, Iliass migrated to Canada pursued a BA in Mathematics from Dalhouse University in 1982. In 1987 he married Janice Joseph (Fakhry) before settling in Australia to raise his family in 1997, owning a variety of small businesses including the Gaffney Street post office across from the Lincoln Mill’s Centre in Coburg from 2005-2011. Currently, Iliass works part time at a local newsagency and is an avid Bridge player and a dedicated grandfather of one.
The Convoy conjure illustrious soundscapes from the abyss of chaos, revealing hidden worlds of the imagination as the performance takes form and infuses with subjective experience. Using instruments of sound, light and smell, The Convoy enchant space with themes of tension, evolution, entropy and regeneration. Sensorial immersion transports audiences through highly dynamic environments that shift and blend into one single, breathing moment. As entity, rather than singular, Immy Chuah is a guest within The Convoy on unceded land.
Isabella Trimboli is a critic, essayist, editor, and publisher based in Melbourne, Australia. Her essays and criticism have been published widely, for publications including Metrograph Journal, The Saturday Paper, The Monthly, The Guardian, and The Sydney Reviews of Books. She is a 2023 recipient of a Seventh Gallery residency and is the co-founding editor of feminist music journal Gusher.
Isha Ram Das is a composer and sound artist primarily concerned with ecologies of environment and culture. He works with experimental sound techniques to produce performances, installations and recordings. He was the 2019 recipient of the Lionel Gell Award for Composition, and has scored feature-length films and nationally-touring theatre installations. He has performed at institutions such as the Sydney Opera House; Black Dot Gallery, Melbourne; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Metro Arts, Brisbane; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and Boxcopy, Brisbane.
Ivan Cheng's recent works are context specific situations, dealing with language and driven by relations with collaborators and hosts. His background as a performer and musician form the basis for using performance as a critical medium. Invested in questions around publics and accessibility, he produces videos, objects, paintings and publications as anchors for the staging of complex and precarious spectacles. His work is presented internationally, and he has initiated project space bologna.cc in Amsterdam since 2017.
Ivy Alvarez’s poetry collections include The Everyday English Dictionary, Disturbance, and Mortal. Her latest is Diaspora: Volume L (Paloma Press, 2019). A Fellow of MacDowell Colony (US), and Hawthornden (UK), her work is widely published and anthologised (twice in Best Australian Poems), with poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. Born in the Philippines and raised in Australia, she lived in Wales for almost a decade, before arriving in New Zealand in 2014.
Jacqui Shelton is an artist and writer born on Barada Barna land, central QLD, and based in Narrm, Melbourne. Her work uses text, performance, film-making and photography to explore the complications of performance and presence, and how voice, language, and image can collaborate or undermine one another. She is especially interested in how emotion and embodied experience can be made public and activated to reveal a complex politics of living-together, and the tensions this makes visible. She has produced exhibitions and performance works in association with institutions including Gertrude Contemporary, the Institute of Modern Art, West Space, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Tarrawarra Museum, and with Channels Festival and Liquid Architecture. Shelton has shown work internationally in Milan at Care-Of, and at NARS Inc in New York City. She teaches photography at Monash University and in the Masters of Media program at RMIT, and holds a PhD from Monash University.
James Hazel is a composer/artist/researcher based on the unceded Gadigal land of the Eora Nation. As someone who lived in an underclass (social-housing) community for fourteen years, James employs extended score practices across sound, music, utterance, and (re)performance to interrogate what it means to live, love, and listen under precarity – stemming from both lived/researched experiences of poverty. As an advocate in this area, James has commissioned several artists from low-SES backgrounds through ADSR Zine.
In recent years, James has 'worked' for the dole; various call centres; and, more recently, as a casual academic in musicology at USYD. In 2021, James was selected as one of the ABC Top 5 Researchers (Arts).
James Parker is an academic at Melbourne Law School and long-time associate curator with Liquid Architecture. His work explores the many relations between law, sound and listening. He is currently working on machine listening with Joel Stern and Sean Dockray.
James Rushford is an Australian composer-performer who holds a doctorate from the California Institute of the Arts, and was a 2018 fellow at Academy Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. His work is drawn from a familiarity with specific concrète, improvised, avant-garde and collagist languages. Currently, his work deals with the aesthetic concept of musical shadow. James has been commissioned as a composer by ensembles including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Glasgow), and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs in Australia and internationally.
Jannah Quill’s deconstructive exploration of electronic instruments and technologies manifests in electronic music production and experimental audio-visual performance and installation. Jannah modifies existing technologies (such as solar panels) into innovative light-to-audio systems, used with software/hardware experimentation and modular synthesis to carve a distinct voice in electronic music and art.
Jared Davis is a writer and curator based in London with an interest in independent music, sound culture, and its politics. He is Associate Editor of AQNB and co-host of the editorial platform’s Artist Statement podcast.
Jasmine Guffond is an artist and composer working at the interface of social, political, and technical infrastructures. Focused on electronic composition across music and art contexts her practice spans live performance, recording, installation and custom made browser add-ons. Through the sonification of data she addresses the potential of sound to engage with contemporary political questions and engages listening as a situated-knowledge practice.
Jason De Santolo (Garrwa and Barunggam) is a researcher & creative producer based in the School of Design, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. He has worked with his own communities as an activist and advocate using film and performance, protest and education to bring attention to injustices and design solutions using Indigenous knowledge.
Jen Callaway is a Melbourne musician, sound and performance artist, photographer, and community services worker raised in various parts of Tasmania. Current projects include bands Is There a Hotline?, Propolis, Snacks and Hi God People; and upcoming film Here at the End, by Campbell Walker, as actor/co-writer.
Jessica Aszodi is an Australian-born, London-based vocalist who has premiered many new pieces, performed work that has lain dormant for centuries, and sung roles ranging from standard operatic repertoire to artistic collaborations. She has been a soloist with ensembles including ICE; the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras; and San Diego and Chicago Symphony Orchestras’ chamber series. Aszodi can be heard on numerous recordings and has sung in festivals around the world. She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Queensland Conservatorium, an MFA from the University of California, and is co-director of the Resonant Bodies Festival (Australia), and artistic associate of BIFEM.
Jessie Scott is a practising video artist, writer, programmer and producer who works across the spectrum of screen culture in Melbourne. She is a founding member of audiovisual art collective Tape Projects, and co-directed and founded the inaugural Channels Video Art Festival in 2013.
Jim Denley is one of Australia's foremost improvisers. Over a career spanning four decades his work has emphasised the use of recording technologies, collaboration, and a concern with site-specificity.
Joee Mejias is a musician and video artist from Manila. She is co-producer of WSK, the first and only international festival of digital arts and new media in the Philippines and co-founder of HERESY, a new platform for women in sound and multimedia. She performs as Joee & I: her avant-pop electronica solo project.
Joel Sherwood Spring is a Wiradjuri man raised between Redfern and Alice Springs who works across research, activism, architecture, installation and speculative projects. At present, his work focuses on the contested narratives of Sydney’s and Australia’s urban culture and indigenous history in the face of ongoing colonisation.
Joel Stern is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the School of Media and Communication at RMIT, and an Associate Editor at Disclaimer. With a background in experimental music, Stern’s work — spanning research, curation, and art — focuses on practices of sound and listening and how these shape our contemporary worlds. From 2013-2022 he was the Artistic Director of Liquid Architecture.
Berlin-based composer-performer Johnny Chang engages in extended explorations surrounding the relationships of sound/listening and the in-between areas of improvisation, composition and performance. Johnny is part of the Wandelweiser composers collective and currently collaborates with: Catherine Lamb (Viola Torros project), Mike Majkowski (illogical harmonies), Phill Niblock, Samuel Dunscombe, Derek Shirley and others.
Jolyon Jones is a Berlin-based student of fine arts at the University of Arts Berlin. He works primarily between sculpture, drawing, print media and sound. With an interest in practices of labour, Jolyon draws upon his background in anthropology exploring embedded concepts through research and architecture and the latent possibilities of everyday materials such as concrete, graphite, and silicone to access speculative narratives and the construction of mementos.
Jon Watts is a Melbourne/Naarm based musician, designer, 3D artist and animator. His music has been released through cult labels SUMAC and Butter Sessions, and he is currently Senior Multimedia Installer at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Josten Myburgh is a musician based on Whadjuk Noongar boodja country who plays with techniques from the worlds of electro-acoustic music, radio art, free improvisation, field recording and experimental composition. He co-directs exploratory music label Tone List and the Audible Edge festival. He has performed in South Africa, the United States, and throughout South East Asia, Europe and Australia. He is a Schenberg Fellow and a student of Antoine Beuger and Michael Pisaro.
Joy Zhou is a China born emerging artist and design practitioner based in Naarm/Melbourne. Informed by their background in Interior Design, Joy’s practice entails gestures of queering which unfold encounters and events that draw relationships between people, places, and spaces.
Julius Killerby is an artist living and working in London. His work focuses on the psychological ripple effects of certain cultural and societal transformations. Part of Julius’ practice also includes portraiture, and in 2017 he was nominated as a finalist in the Archibald Prize for his portrait of Paul Little. His work has been exhibited at VCA Art Space, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, and Geelong Gallery.
Katie West is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives on Noongar Ballardong boodja and belongs to the Yindjibarndi people of the Pilbara tablelands in Western Australia. The process and notion of naturally dyeing fabric underpin her practice – the rhythm of walking, gathering, bundling, boiling up water and infusing materials with plant matter. The objects, installations and happenings that Katie creates invite attention to the ways we weave our stories, places, histories, and futures.
Kaz Therese (they/them) grew up on Darug land in Mt Druitt, Western Sydney. They are an interdisciplinary artist and cultural leader with a practice grounded in performance, activism and community building. Their work is inspired by place and narrative from working class & underclass settings. From 2013- 2020 they were the Artistic Director of PYT Fairfield. Kaz directed the Helpmann nominated PLAYLIST (premiered 2018), UnWrapped, Sydney Opera House (2019) Other works include TRIBUNAL presented at Griffin Theatre, ArtsHouse Melbourne, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Festival; WOMEN OF FAIRFIELD with MCA C3West and STARTTS, winning the Sydney Myer Arts & Cultural Award for Best Arts Program (2016).Kaz is founder of FUNPARK ,Mt Druitt (Sydney Festival 2014) and a graduate of the 2019 Australia Council Cultural Leadership program.
Kengné Téguia is a Black Deaf HIV+ cyborg artist, who works from sound deafinitely. #TheBLACKRevolutionwillbeDEAFinitelyLoud
Kt Spit (Katie Collins) is an artist and musician based in Narrm (Melbourne). Lyrically and visually her work explores subcultural narratives and challenges dominant representations of loss, grief, and true love. In 2015 Kt independently released her debut album, Combluotion, and in 2019 will release a visual album entitled Kill the King.
Kynan Tan is an artist interested in the relations and conditions of computational systems, with a focus on data, algorithm, networks, materiality, control, and affect. These areas are explored using computer-generated artworks that take the form of simulations, video, sound, 3d prints, text, code, and generative algorithms.
Las Chinas is the cosmic coincidences led to the meeting of Chileans Sarita Gálvez and Camila Marambio in Melbourne. Their shared reverence for the ancestral flautón chino from the Andes Mountains lead to playful explorations of its unique dissonant sounds and thereafter to experimenting with atonal signing and other technologies of the spirit.
Influenced by Chilean feminist poet Cecilia Vicuña, the now deceased poet Fidel Sepúlveda, the musical ensemble La Chimuchina and the chino bands from the townships of La Canela and Andacollo, Las Chinas honours the ancestral tradition by enacting the principle of tearing each other apart.
Laura McLean is a curator, writer, and researcher based in Naarm Melbourne. She is an Associate Curator at Liquid Architecture, member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S), and is currently undertaking a PhD in Curatorial Practice at MADA, Monash University. Past curatorial projects include CIVICS, Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery, Melbourne (2020); Startup States, Sarai-CSDS, Delhi (2019); and Contingent Movements Archive, Maldives Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale (2013). Her writing is included in edited books published by Arena, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the MIT Press, among others, and has been published by journals including Eyeline, Realtime, HKW Technosphere Magazine, and ArtAsiaPacific.
Originally from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Laurie May has made home here in the desert in Mparntwe. With Aboriginal ancestry from Central Queensland from her father and New Zealand heritage from her ma they have the saltwater, the red dirt and long white cloud in their veins. Embracing trauma and a troubled youth to bring you anti-capitalist poetry that makes you think. Laurie is also the Festival Director for the Red Dirt Poetry Festival and an award winning event producer.
Leighton Craig is an artist living in Meanjin/Brisbane. He has been in a number of bands (The Lost Domain, G55, The Deadnotes et al) and is currently a member of the duo Primitive Motion with Sandra Selig.
Liang Luscombe is a Naarm/Melbourne-based visual artist whose practice encompasses painting, sculpture and moving image that engage in a process of generative questioning of how media and film affect audiences.
Lin Chi-Wei is a legend of Taiwanese sonic art, whose practice incorporates folklore culture, noise, ritual, and audience participation.
Lisa Lerkenfeldt is a multi-disciplinary artist working in sound, gesture and performance. Central to her practice is languages of improvisation and intimacy with technology. Traces of a personal discipline and form of graphic notation are introduced in the online exhibition 14 Gestures. The associated recorded work Collagen (Shelter Press, 2020) disrupts the role of the common hair comb through gesture and sound.
Lucreccia Quintanilla is an artist, writer, DJ and recently completed her PhD at Monash University. Her writing and art have been published and exhibited both within Australia and internationally. Quintanilla’s practice is a collaborative one that manifests into outcomes within galleries and also as events and performances outside of that context. She regularly speaks at panels and symposiums on themes within her research, has received grants for her projects and residencies.
Luisa Lana was born in Australia in 1953. Her mother Nannina had arrived in Australia in 1950 with a 3 month old son, and worked for many years on the sewing room floors and her father Angelo worked on the docks where he helped unionise the Italian workforce. Luisa and her brother were latchkey kids, as they looked after themselves in the morning and ran the ‘Continental’ deli in the evenings. Luisa attained a teaching degree, then a postgrad in Social Sciences, and twice studied Italian at The University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy. Luisa married Luigino Lana, a Venetian migrant who operated a mechanic business in Brunswick for over 30 years. She devoted her life to being an educator and a mother, teaching Italian to English speakers and English to generations of migrants from around the world. Currently Luisa is translating her father's memoirs from Italian to English, and enjoying being a Nonna.
Luke Conroy is a Tasmanian multidisciplinary artist currently based in The Netherlands. With a background in sociology and arts education, Luke’s artistic practice engages with socio-cultural topics in meaningful yet playful ways, utilising humour and irony as essential tools for critical reflection and expression. The outcome of his work utilises an ever-evolving multimedia and audio-visual practice which includes photography, digital-art, video, sound, VR, textile, text, and installation.
Lu Yang (b. Shanghai, China) is a multimedia artist based in Shanghai. Mortality, androgyny, hysteria, existentialism and spiritual neurology feed Lu’s jarring and at times morbid fantasies. Also taking inspiration and resources from Anime, gaming and Sci-fi subcultures, Lu explores his fantasies through mediums including 3D animation, immersive video game installation, holographic, live performances, virtual reality, and computer programming. Lu has collaborated with scientists, psychologists, performers, designers, experimental composers, Pop Music producers, robotics labs, and celebrities throughout his practice.
Lu Yang has held exhibitions at UCCA (Beijing), MWoods (Beijing), Cc Foundation (Shanghai), Spiral (Tokyo), Fukuoka Museum of Asian Art (Fukuoka, Japan), Société (Berlin), MOCA Cleveland (Cleveland, Ohio). He has participated in several international biennials and triennials such as 2021 Asia Society Triennial (New York), 2012 & 2018 Shanghai Biennial, 2018 Athens Biennale, 2016 Liverpool Biennial, 2016 International Digital Art Biennale (Montreal), Chinese Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale, and 2014 Fukuoka Triennial. In 2020, Lu Yang was included in Centre Pompidou’s exhibition Neurons, simulated intelligence in Paris. In 2019, Lu was the winner of the 8th BMW Art Journey and started the Yang Digital Incarnation project.
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Mandy Nicholson is a Wurundjeri-willam (Wurundjeri-baluk patriline) artist and Traditional Custodian of Melbourne and surrounds. Mandy also has connections to the Dja Dja wurrung and Ngurai illam wurrung language groups of the Central/Eastern Kulin Nation. Mandy gained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Aboriginal Archaeology in 2011, worked for the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages for six years and is now a PhD candidate studying how Aboriginal people connect to Country, Off Country.
Mara Schwerdtfeger is a composer / curator / audio producer based in Eora / Sydney. She plays the viola and collaborates with her laptop to create live performances and recorded pieces for film, dance, and gallery spaces.
Maria Moles is an Australian drummer, composer and producer based in Narrm/Melbourne.
Martina Becherucci graduated in Cultural Heritage at the University of Milan and is currently completing her studies with a Master degree in Economics and Management of Arts and Cultural Activities at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice. Martina loves being in contact with visitors in museums and galleries, during temporary exhibitions and cultural events.
Martyn Reyes is a Filipino-Australian writer and artist based in Madrid. His work can be found in the Sydney Review of Books, Kill Your Darlings, SBS Voices, LIMINAL Magazine and more. He is currently working on a book-length project.
Mat Dryhurst is an artist who releases music and artworks solo and in conjunction with Holly Herndon and the record label PAN. Dryhurst developed the decentralised publishing framework Saga, which enables creators to claim ownership of each space in which their work appears online, and a number of audio plays that derive their narrative from the personal information of listeners. He lectures on issues of music, technology, and ideology at NYU, and advises the blockchain-based platform co-operative Resonate.is.
Mat Spisbah is a New Media curator with a unique portfolio of programming that seeks to integrate non-traditional artistic methods and emerging technologies. Having lived in Hong Kong for 14 years, he is connected to the region’s art and culture, and has created professional networks with artists, curators, galleries, promoters and industry professionals across Australasia. Portfolio highlights include the debut Australian performances of north Asian artists including: Howie Lee, Rui Ho, Meuko Meuko, Pan Daijing, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Tzusing, and Gabber Modus Operandi.
Mattin is a cross disciplinary artist working with noise, improvisation and dissonance. His work Social Dissonance was presented at documenta 14 in 2017 in Kassel and Athens.
Megan Alice Clune shifts between musician, composer and artist. Primarily, her work explores both the concept and aesthetics of ambient music through sound installation, collaboration and performance. Megan is the founding member of the Alaska Orchestra, and has presented work and undertaken residencies across Australia, Asia, Europe and North America, including the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival (MA), Next Wave Festival, Underbelly Arts Festival, Performa 15 (NYC) and VividLIVE at the Sydney Opera House.
Megan Cope is a Quandamooka woman (North Stradbroke Island) in South East Queensland. Her site-specific sculptural installations, video work and paintings investigate issues relating to identity, the environment and mapping practices. Cope’s work often resists prescribed notions of Aboriginality and becomes psychogeographies across various material outcomes that challenge the grand narrative of ‘Australia’ as well as our sense of time and ownership in a settler colonial state.
Mehak Sawhney is a scholar, curator, and activist with research interests in sound and media cultures of South Asia. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University. Funded by the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, her doctoral project explores audio and targeted state surveillance in postcolonial India. She has also been associated with Sarai-CSDS in Delhi since 2017. Previously, her ethnographic work has studied urban sound and listening cultures as well as the politics of machine listening and voice interfaces in contemporary India. Her academic and public writing has been published in Media, Culture & Society, Amodern, and The Wire, among others.
Melissa Johnson is Associate Professor of Art History & Visual Culture at Illinois State University (Normal, IL). Her scholarly research focuses on the histories of craft and its intersections with modern and contemporary art. She is currently working on a project that explores artists making work in response to the writings of Virginia Woolf. She’s deeply interested in situating her academic writing and her textile-based work as parallel practices, and is working on two writing and textile projects, “Woolf Words” and “Haptic Investigations,” and a project on mending and repair.
Michael Terren is a musician and educator from Boorloo/Perth. Grounded in experimental studio-based practice, his work explores the social construction of the technologies of music’s creation and distribution. He is a sessional academic teaching music at two Boorloo universities, and in 2019 finished a PhD thesis entitled 'The grain of the digital audio workstation'.
Michiko Ogawa is a performer-composer specialising in the clarinet, born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She performs not only classical repertoire but also contemporary and experimental music, including free improvisation and film soundtrack work. In 2019 she was awarded a doctorate (DMA) from the University of California San Diego, with a dissertation focusing on the film music of Teiji Ito. She is in the beginning stages of writing a biography of Ito’s life.
Mitch L Ryan is a writer whose work explores histories of countercultures, music, media, and politics.
MP Hopkins is an artist working on Gadigal and Wangal land in Sydney, Australia that makes audio, performance, radiophonic, and textual works. He uses voice, feedback, recording/playback devices, and verbal notation within different acoustic environments, which are deconstructed and presented to the listener in delicate and degraded ways. Hopkins has released recordings with Penultimate Press, Canti Magnetici, Tahalamos, Mappa Editions and Regional Bears. He has presented projects for the NOW now, Liquid Architecture, Avantwhatever, and The Make It Up Club. International appearances include Café Oto, UK; LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore; Les Ateliers Claus, Belgium; TUSK Festival, UK; Colour Out of Space Festival, UK; and he has produced radiophonic works for Radiophrenia, Kunstradio, and the Radia network.
MSHR is an art collective that builds and explores sculptural electronic systems. Their practice is a self-transforming entity with its outputs patched into its inputs, expressing its form through interactive installations, virtual environments and live improvisations. MSHR was established in 2011 in Portland, Oregon by Brenna Murphy and Birch Cooper. Their name is a modular acronym, designed to hold varied ideas over time.
Myriad Sun are an experimental audio/visual/rap trio from Walyalup (Fremantle), Australia, composed of electronic producer Ben Aguero, Mc POW! Negro, and Limit Bashr. Additional performers: Mali Jose, Billy Jack Narkle and Polly-Pearl Greenhalgh.
Natasha Tontey is an artist and graphic designer based in Yogyakarta. She is interested in exploring the concept of fiction as a method of speculative thinking. Through her artistic practice she investigates the idea of how fear, horror, and terror could be manifested in order to control the public and how fictional accounts of the history and myth surrounding ‘manufactured fear’ might operate as a method of speculative fiction that determines expectations for the future.
Nathan Gray is an artist whose recent works use voice as their medium, taking form as lecture-performances, radio-plays and documentaries, DJ sets, narrative and rumour.
Neil Morris is a Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung man. He is well known in Narrm/Birraranga for his musical project DRMNGNOW, a project built on subject matter tackling the colonial nature of the Australian construct and how that affects contemporary society upon this land. The work is unapologetic, clear, and deeply poetic. It hints toward Morris's extensive experience as a spoken word artist in Narrm since 2015. Morris's work is triumphant in the face of severe adversity often imbued in a quite fortified melancholy, a powerful marker of the survival of First Nations peoples in the now.
Nick Ashwood is a guitarist, composer, improviser and performer from Nipaluna/Tasmania now residing in Sydney. His focuses have been exploring deep listening, harmonic space and the possibilities of the steel-string acoustic guitar by means of preparations, just intonation, objects and bowing.
Nico Niquo, a.k.a Nico Callaghan, works and lives in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia. Since 2015, he has produced and released music under a variety of monikers with the North American label Orange Milk Records and Australian label Daisart. He has performed across Australia, East Asia, and Europe.
Noah Simblist works as a curator, writer, and artist with a focus on art and politics, specifically the ways in which contemporary artists address history. He has contributed to Art in America, Terremoto, Art Journal and other publications.
He is also an Associate Professor of Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Noemie Cecilia Huttner-Koros is a queer Jewish performance-maker, writer, dramaturg, poet, teaching artist and community organiser living and working on Whadjuk Noongar country in Boorloo (Perth). Her practice is driven by a deep belief in the social, political and communal role of art and performance and in engaging with sites and histories where queer culture, composting and ecological crisis occur.
Oren Ambarchi is an Australian multi-instrumentalist whose practice focuses on the exploration of the guitar. He is a prolific solo artist and consummate collaborator who has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists over the last three decades including; Fennesz, Charlemagne Palestine, Sunn 0)), crys cole, Thomas Brinkmann, Keiji Haino, Alvin Lucier, John Zorn, Annea Lockwood, Alvin Curran, Loren Connors, Manuel Gottsching/Ash Ra, Merzbow, Jim O'Rourke, Keith Rowe, David Rosenboom, Akio Suzuki, Phill Niblock, John Tilbury, Richard Pinhas, Evan Parker, Fire! and many more. He has released numerous recordings over the years for labels such as Touch, Editions Mego, Drag City, PAN, Kranky, Staubgold and Tzadik. Since 2009, Ambarchi has run the Black Truffle record label.
Ambarchi's latest album Shebang is released via US label Drag City.
Pan-Pan Kolektiva was established in March 2020, as a research group on listening. Pan-Pan is a standard emergency call based on the acronym Pan which stands for Pay Attention Now.
Patrick Hase is a digital media artist and researcher, focusing on work that often involves digital interfaces, experimental web design, and collaborative a/v. The entwined practical and theoretical aspects of his work are interested in exploring the embedded cultural and emotional impacts of how people are extended into the virtual via digital processes and designs.
Penelope Cain is interested in landscape in its widest definition, from the extracted, transformed and occupied landscapes of the Anthropocene, to the emergent Post-Carbon.
Her art practice is located interstitially between scientific knowledge and unearthing connected and untold narratives in the world. She works across media and knowledge streams, with scientists, datasets, people, stories, and land, to connect yet to be heard storytellings from the present and near future. She was awarded the Fauvette Loureiro Travelling Scholarship, Glenfiddich Contemporary Art Residency and is currently undertaking a one year S+T+ARTS residency in the Hague, for Rewild, Maxxi, Rome.
Philip Brophy writes on music, among other things.
Poppy de Souza is a Meanjin (Brisbane) based researcher affiliated with Griffith University and UNSW. Her work focuses on the politics of voice and listening—broadly defined—in conditions of inequality and injustice, including the relationship between sound, race, and conditions of (not) being heard. Poppy has previously worked in community arts and cultural development (CACD), and with the national Film and Sound Archive as a curator on australianscreen.
Pris Roos grew up in Rhenen, the Netherlands. Her family migrated from Bogor, Indonesia, to start their own toko in the Netherlands. Toko is the Indonesian word for shop, and they sell non-Western food (products). Roos grew up in the toko, a space of being together, and full of colours, smells, food, stories and images of immigrants. The toko is a source of inspiration for her artistic practices. Stories that are normally not heard find their way in her works. Roos makes portraits of immigrants that she meets in the toko, on the streets or in her surroundings of the South of Rotterdam. She visits them at home or invites them to her atelier. The stories are translated into painted portraits, videos, installations and spoken word performances.
Raven Chacon is a composer, performer and artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. His work ranges from chamber music to experimental noise, to large scale installations, produced solo and with the Indigenous art collective Postcommodity. At California Institute of the Arts, Chacon studied with James Tenney, Morton Subotnick, Michael Pisaro and Wadada Leo Smith developing a compositional language steeped in both the modernist avant-garde and Indigenous cosmologies and subjectivities. He has written for ensembles, musicians and non-musicians, and for social and educational situations, and toured the world as a noise artist.
Robin Fox is an Australian audio-visual artist. His AV laser works, which synchronise sound and visual electricity in hyper-amplified 3D space have been performed in over sixty cities worldwide to critical acclaim. He produces large public artworks and has scored over twenty contemporary dance works. Fox holds a PhD in composition from Monash University and has written a history of experimental music in Melbourne that focuses on 1975-1979. He is a founding director of MESS (Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio).
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Sam Peterson is interested in what can be done with one’s identity and the space around it.
'Both my body and mind, touching everyday feelings between the rational, the playful and the political. Of course, this is often to do with my disability and my sexuality. My work has been focused on access, and the lack of it — to places, people’s minds and opportunities. I find plasticine is a great subverter of space and potentially of people’s minds. And the continued flexibility of it is something I am really enjoying — covering or filling up gaps and playing with crevices. But I’m finding that my work is drawing more and more to spoken word as a powerful format.'
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Australian musician Sean Baxter died on 15 March 2020. Part of Melbourne's improv scene, he is described by musician Anthony Pateras as possessing “a unique aesthetic vision and intellectual depth, mixing highbrow philosophical concepts with punk sensibilities in how he lived, spoke and played. He was pure energy.”
Drumkit and percussionist, Sean was an Australian improviser who forged an international reputation as a bold explorer of percussive possibilities both as a soloist and through his work with the acclaimed avant-garde trio, Pateras/Baxter/Brown. Focusing on the use of extended techniques applied to the conventional drum kit, he utilised an arsenal of metallic junk and other percussive detritus to expand the sonic palette of the percussion tradition. In addition to Pateras/Baxter/Brown, he was involved in many collaborations and was drummer for groups The Throwaways, Bucketrider, Lazy, SxSxSx and Terminal Hz.
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In late 2017 Michiko Ogawa and Sam Dunscombe proposed a Liquid Architecture program dedicated to the work of maverick Japanese composer and musician Teiji Ito, best known for his legendary collaborations with filmmaker Maya Deren. Ogawa was close to completing her doctorate on Ito at University of California San Diego conducting important research in his archives at The New York Public Library, New York Filmmakers Coop, and the Maya Deren Estate. Ogawa’s proposal was to stage a live performance of Ito’s music for film using transcriptions and notations that she had produced over the course of her research. Together, we approached Brisbane International Film Festival, and in October 2018 Teiji Ito : Music for Film took place in the cinema at Gallery of Modern Art with an ensemble including Ogawa and Dunscombe with Nat Grant, Kaylie Melville, Sam Pankhurst, James Rushford and Kim Tan performing to 16mm film prints borrowed from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. The piece below is a first hand account of Ogawa’s research journey into the remarkable and under-appreciated world of Teiji Ito, presented alongside the recordings of his music performed in 2018.
Teiji Ito: Music For Film. Performed live by Michiko Ogawa, Samuel Dunscombe,
Nat Grant, Kaylie Melville, Sam Pankhurst, James Rushford and Kim Tan
as part of Brisbane International Film Festival (2018, QAGOMA).
I first heard Teiji Ito’s music playing through the imperfect speakers of a beat-up 1995 Honda Accord, while driving through the Mojave desert in Southern California. It was his soundtrack to the Maya Deren film The Very Eye of Night, shot in the early 1950s but only released in 1959 after Teiji (whom Deren would marry in 1960) completed the score. Through the windshield I saw a landscape that felt alien to me: an expanse of near-bald, sun-bleached earth, flecked with shards of rock and sparse, hardy desert vegetation. So different from my home country of Japan, yet paired together with Ito’s sparse yet lyrical music, it somehow all made perfect sense to me. I had come to the USA to pursue doctoral studies at the University of California (San Diego), with a proposed research agenda focusing on the relationship between Japanese musical expression and form, and 20th–21st century western “classical” music. After auditioning for the program, meeting faculty members, and playing clarinet in a large ensemble work by Schoenberg, I had left five days free to explore Southern California — the highlight of which was a long road trip from San Diego, past the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain, through the Coachella valley and up into Joshua Tree National Park. I did not know it at the time, but this trip would go on to shape the next five years of my life: my application was accepted, and within a year of starting the program Ito’s music had become the central focus of my research.
What struck me that day was the sheer variety of influences present in Ito’s musical language. I heard the colours and characteristics of traditional Japanese music resting easily alongside elements of Caribbean, flamenco, Brazilian fado, African and Haitian drums, western classicism, American rock and jazz, and many other kinds of music. Each successive piece seemed so completely different from the last, with a new set of instruments and influences, and yet every Ito work shared something in common that I struggled to put my finger on. It had something to do with how these influences sat together so comfortably, yet distinctly. I couldn’t say just how any of this was happening. I had to know more. Yet there was precious little published information available, beyond the liner notes to a series of CDs released through John Zorn’s label Tzadik.
As I began my studies, I set about collecting as much information as I could on Ito. I interviewed musicians he had collaborated with, in person when possible, but more often via phone or email; and I traveled to New York, where a large collection of personal documentation had been preserved. The Teiji Ito Archives are a set of perhaps a dozen cardboard boxes crammed full of draft scores, half finished works, scraps of newspaper articles, flyers and programs from his performances, transcriptions of unpublished interviews, and handwritten notes, all loosely catalogued in a somewhat chaotic way. I was permitted to photograph what I wanted, and I digitised as much as I could. My own personal archive now covers about 75–80% of the materials contained in those boxes.
A project had begun to crystallise in my mind: I wanted to put on a live performance of Ito’s music, together with a projection of the films on which he worked, in their original 16mm format. I knew that prints of all the films were preserved at Film Makers Cooperative in New York and other collections, but I had no idea as to whether scores for the soundtracks were available, or indeed if there had ever been scores in the first place. The works I knew were almost all multi-tracked, with Ito playing every instrument himself (with the exception of a few stand-outs, for example the theatre work The Coach with the Six Insides). I wondered if he had recorded these using a fully written-out notation, handwritten instructions, or if, rather, they had been completely improvised.
In the New York Public Library I found the beginnings of an answer, although it was mixed: an almost complete score to The Very Eye of Night (with only 1–2 very minor differences to the recording), and partial scores to several other works. Particularly exciting was a fully finished notation for solo clarinet called Passage to Nirvana, bearing the label “(film)” (although if the film ever existed, it remains unknown). The notation to Ito’s most famous work, the soundtrack to Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, was also there in half-finished draft form. This featured stills from the film hand-drawn by Ito himself, showing the key relationships between sound and image.
With these materials I felt clear that it was going to be possible to stage a live performance of Teiji’s work with Deren, although I would need to do a lot of transcription to fill in the gaps in the Meshes score. To extend the performance program, I added two further Ito soundtracks for films by Marie Menken: Bagatelle for Willard Maas and Dwightiana. For these I would need to transcribe the pieces fully from scratch, as there were no scores to be found.
Like the desert landscape, Teiji’ Ito’s music has a rawness, a bareness, both in the way the sounds are recorded (close-mic’d and direct to tape, with concomitant distortion), and in the performances themselves. The works are marked by a rough-hewn texture that is deeply human. I had imagined that improvisation might feature heavily in his working process, but my research has shown this to largely have not been the case. Interviewing New York–based accordion player Guy Klucevsek, he had the following to say about Ito’s relationship to composition and improvisation:
I think that there’s some confusion about terms: as you know, and have pointed out, Teiji’s music did not fall easily into a category of “notated” versus “structured improv.” … Teiji’s notation, in my experience, came after the fact, not before. That doesn’t mean he developed it in rehearsal, but rather, let’s say for one of the tunes in The Coach…, he first composed the tune on penny whistle or clarinet or other melody instrument; he then sketched (or, in some cases, fully wrote out) the tune, brought it into rehearsal, and taught it to us; we learned it from a combination of reading the music and listening to the way he played it … he wouldn’t notate all the ornaments, we’d learn those by listening to him playing the tune.
With the hichiricki tune, ‘Crone Dance’, he played it the same way for every performance … the written material did not contain all the nuance of what he did, so the recording is a much more accurate representation of that tune than the notation, and anyone learning it should use that as the reference.
With other pieces for Coach…, he would time a scene which needed underscoring, and he’d compose a tune to fit exactly (to the second) that theatrical space, by, say, knowing how many measures he needed at a given tempo; in that regard, he was very much influenced by his vast experience scoring for films by that point.
Email interview with Guy Klucevsek (September 22nd, 2018)
Ito was a genius at bringing together seemingly opposing ideas: freedom and playfulness were planned to the split second, the relationship between image and sound (and the resulting affect created by the fusion of the two) were always paramount. Ito never made background music for films: his pieces work together with images to create something more than the sum of its parts. He played often with the idea of synchresis, the (apparent) causal relationship between sound and image; a blend of synchronous and synthesis. A set of examples used to dreamlike effect can be observed in Meshes of the Afternoon: a Japanese drum linked to the disappearance of a hand that holds a flower, reappearing later playing a traditional hyoushimaku (clapping sounds with a wooden clapper at the opening and closing of a kabuki stage curtain), a rhythmic motif matched to a key bouncing downstairs. The drum shifts uncannily in its role: both the sound of a key hitting the ground and a musical element at the same time (both inside and outside the image on screen, neither diegetic nor non-diegetic). This slippage is apparent in all elements of the soundtrack (although crucially, not all elements performing the same function at the same time).
For me, this meant that in the process of transcription I had to find a clear way to communicate the Ito’s key conceptual relationships to the performers, which I did using a combination of hand-drawn still frames (whenever possible copied directly from Teiji’s own score fragments), and simple text instructions. In order to keep the amount of information on the page manageable, this also meant stripping back the musical notation to bare essentials. Interestingly, the result bore a close resemblance to Teiji’s own scores, although this was less of a priority for me, as I saw the score primarily as a document that would allow the most faithful recreation of the soundtracks in live performance.
Another reason to avoid the notation of finer sonic details: much of the ornamentation and colour/textural nuance does not map easily onto the Western system of notation. Ito’s work was highly syncretic in its mix of styles and instruments. The Very Eye of Night fuses Balinese gamelan with Western ballet; Meshes of the Afternoon combines gagaku, nagauta, kabuki, and shōmyō influences with 20th century avant-garde aesthetics; flamenco and English folk music are given an almost Broadway-like treatment in Bagatelle for Willard Maas, and so on. Most of these are aural musical traditions, where if notation is used, stylistic markers such as ornamentation are always omitted. Familiarity with a wide range of musical traditions is required to achieve the right atmosphere, and a lot of the work must be done in person during rehearsals.
Transcriptions finished, I began to rehearse these works with an ensemble of UCSD graduate students. We used digital files of the film in a custom-built Max/Jitter application to allow us to rehearse the audio-visual relationships over and over, seeking to reproduce the state of seeming effortlessness Ito had achieved more than fifty years earlier. Two days before the show however, the films had not arrived as expected. The next day I received an email informing me that one of the films, Bagatelle for Willard Maas, which I could not get a digital copy of in advance, had been mistakenly delivered to the visual arts department. This left me little time to figure out the timing differences between the film and soundtrack, with old prints like these often losing frames as they are broken and repaired over and over again. The prints to some of the films were in bad condition, missing dozens of seconds of material.
Though stressful at the time, this was nothing compared to was to come a few years later, performing for Liquid Architecture as part of the Brisbane International Film Festival. The print for Meshes of the Afternoon, sourced from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, was apparently the single most lent-out print in their catalogue. It broke three times during rehearsal, and despite Joel Stern’s very calm explanation of the situation to the audience, we spent the performance on the edge of our seats willing the film not to break. It held out: no high-pressure splicing required from the projectionist.
Teiji Ito’s film soundtracks were almost always multi-tracked tape recordings of himself. He was a genius multi-instrumentalist: playing clarinet, flute, drums, guitar, Shakuhachi, voice among others. For Ito, possessing so many skills, this overdubbing technique allowed him to ensure all aspects of the performance were exactly as he wished. He did not create works on paper: any notation was rather a way to record ideas he’d reached through playing, a memory aid. The tape recorder allowed Ito to quickly (and cheaply) create soundtracks that felt light and free, whilst being locked to the image at a split-second level.
In his work, Ito integrated different musical cultures in a highly original manner, a beautiful collage of various musical traditions and sounds brought together to form one big picture. However, he never ignored the cultural traditions of instruments and musical style. Rather he treated these elements with curiosity and respect on a personal level, never using them as shallow markers of countries or cultures. Flamenco guitar or Japanese gagaku were present because he had a personal connection with them (involving years of study), and the instruments that he used all held a strong personal significance for him. Most of his instruments came to him through his close network of family and friends, and in my interview with former collaborator Fumiko Wellington, she stressed that he treated his friends as his family. Even if the cultural origin of each instrument perhaps was something “foreign” for Ito, the process by which each of them came to him imbued these instruments with a strong personal significance.
In an interview with Maya Deren:
Maya: So I’ve always wanted to ask you what is it you like about doing music?
Teiji: Well, the relationship that the music has with the film is something that is congenital to me, being brought up with oriental tradition.
Maya: How do you mean that?
Teiji: The music is the orient, actually it is a part or a dance or play or something like that. It’s within a theatre.
Maya: Then you feel that the music is part of something: contributing its part to the total. Is that what you mean by the oriental tradition. And not this business of writing music to be heard all by itself?
Teiji: Yes. It’s mostly linked to the theatre or the court dances. The object of working together all these arts is trying to express a large principle which is bigger than any personal thing you might have. In order for different arts to function together it’s necessary to have something outside of yourself to govern the situation. Since the oriental music and tradition are built on this, and since I was raised in this tradition, I find working with film is the best way I can function.
Maya: Wouldn’t theatre and dance also be very sympathetic to you?
Teiji: Yes it is. Music can be written alone to be listened to. But I think that what would be required would be a circumstance or situation that the music would be part of.
Teiji Ito, “Music and Film”, interview by Maya Deren, Teiji Ito Collections, (New York, NYPL: 1953).
Teiji Ito was born in 1935 in Tokyo to a family that was both artistic and cosmopolitan. His grandfather studied abroad in the 19th century, and his uncle Michio Ito was a significant choreographer in the development of modern dance. There were many actors, dancers, and musicians amongst his relatives. Ito first trained on traditional Japanese instruments including the shakuhachi, and gave his earliest performances on Japanese percussion, accompanying his mother’s dance works in the USA when he was 6 or 7 years old. The family immigrated to the USA just six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and escaped internment by changing their name to “Ko” and pretending to be Korean. Ito attended Catholic school and then an art high school, both in New York, before running away from home at fifteen. It was at this time that he met Maya Deren (one version of the story describes her finding him sleeping in a movie theatre; another that he was living in Washington Square Park). They soon moved in together and shared everything in life, including a strong interest in voodoo, for which they traveled together to Haiti several times. Ito’s interest in voodoo was possibly inspired by the way it so harmoniously draws together ideas from seemingly opposing cultures, something reflected in Teiji’s own relationship to Eastern and Western cultures. Haiti, like Japan, is an island culture, and New York was, at that time perhaps, the most multicultural city on earth.
Another aspect of voodoo appealing to Deren and Ito was the significance of ritual, ceremony, and trance. Several associates, including Barbara Pollitt, have noted that Ito seemed to be in a trance-like state when making music. Working at the dawn of the New Age movement through the 1960s and 1970s, Ito’s interest in a wide variety of religious and mystical practices, together with a belief that music must play a “healing” role in society, was very much consonant with the spirit of his time. He saw himself as something of a shaman, and in my interviews with his collaborators Ito’s insistence that his music be understood as part of something larger, deeper, cosmic, in harmony with the whole universe, was clear:
Maya: I remember running into you later when you were working on the film about the works of Matisse, and you were having a lot of trouble because it seemed that you couldn’t get a hold of the basic feeling there.
Teiji: The trouble there was in finding any cosmic principal in Matisse. Since I function in this way, I had a hard time with that score.
Maya: Yet the last score which you did abloom, which dealt with Biblical characters and principles, you didn’t have any difficulties there.
Teiji: No. Because the principles are cosmic and therefore, I was able to understand.
Deren: Well, the problem is to get a cosmic principle if you want to compose your score. Otherwise you are going to have a tough time getting the music out. Is there any way that you would say there is a difference between musics that are devoted to the personal principal?
Teiji: I think that the basis of these musics is that the music comes from a principle. It usually comes right through from the tradition. For instance, a flamenco singer, just a child of 16, the sounds that were coming out of her and the phrasing or the music, were as if she were about 700 years old. It was inconceivable.”
Teiji Ito, “Music and Film”, interview by Maya Deren, Teiii Ito Collections, (New York, NYPL: 1953).
I was born and raised in Tokyo, and from the 1980s to 2000s was trained in Western classical music. I knew very little about classical Japanese music, and one of the questions I had proposed to research in the US was why Japanese musicians and composers showed so little interest in learning about or engaging with our own classical heritage (with forms such as gagaku, considered to be the oldest orchestral music on the planet). Listening to Meshes of the Afternoon that day in the desert, I heard the musical hierarchies and divisions I’d been brought up with flattening. The elements of Western classicism present were neither emphasised, nor tokenistically thrown in — they were put in service of a larger musical narrative that Ito was communicating, something personal and original. Over the course of my studies I began to see Ito as a bricoleur, taking cultural materials he had on hand and recombining them to create new forms. Compared with modernist European avant-gardists, his music seems radically ahead of its time, and Ito himself a strikingly post-modern figure.
I also began to see Ito’s work as gesturing to an alternate form of globalism, one that is open and syncretic, with few hierarchies of cultural domination. Ito engaged with the world around him open-heartedly, and eagerly learned all he could about a wide range of musical cultures in his search for music concerned with “cosmic principles”. He created this music by using the many instruments collected through his family and friends, to be performed either by Ito himself or with a close-knit group of collaborators, and never by people with whom he had not had extensive contact and communication. This way of working was exactly the process of bricolage described by Levi-Strauss, and I believe the secret to the vitality and originality of Ito’s music lies in this philosophy.
We continued driving. The music ended, and soon we arrived at our next stop: Salvation Mountain, a bricolage monument, the expression of one man’s relationship to the divine, a mountain constructed of straw, mud, and paint. Chunks of history embedded in an artwork: fragments of old buildings, cars, furniture, magazines, and even CDs. After some time, we got back in the car and continued driving north.
Michiko Ogawa is a performer-composer specialising in the clarinet, born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She performs not only classical repertoire but also contemporary and experimental music, including free improvisation and film soundtrack work. In 2019 she was awarded a doctorate (DMA) from the University of California San Diego, with a dissertation focusing on the film music of Teiji Ito. She is in the beginning stages of writing a biography of Ito’s life.
Michiko would like to thank Sam Dunscombe for support on this essay.
Liquid Architecture acknowledges the support of Brisbane International Film Festival, especially Robert Hughes and Amanda Slack-Smith.