London – A Sonic Fragment: A survey of contemporary British sound art exhibition opening

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6:00 pm

The Auricle

“National Grid” by Disinformation is a pioneering and highly influential sonic arts concept, first realised live and published on LP in 1996, first shown as a gallery installation in 1997, since exhibited at Kettle’s Yard, Fabrica, Le Bon Accueil and GV Art galleries, and performed at ZKM in Germany and London’s Hayward Gallery, etc. The legislation through which (Tory) Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin created Britain’s “National Gridiron” in 1926 was (ironically) described as “the most Socialist piece of legislation ever known”, and Lenin is said to have defined Communism as “Socialism plus Electrification”. The lowest G on a piano keyboard resonates at a fundamental frequency of 49Hz, while in the UK the sine-wave produced by Alternating Current resonates at 50Hz. “National Grid” manipulates direct outputs from live mains electricity, using a version of the microtonal tuning technique pioneered by the composer Guiseppe Tartini, to create a pulsing low-frequency sound mass, which is presented as a hypnotic and monolithic soundtrack to contemporary urban life, and as a sound-tribute to the creative genius of electrification.

“Pulsing sub-bass audio suggests associations with the most primal anthropomorphic element in music — the rhythms of the human heart, with foetal and infant hypnagogic sense memories, with seismic activity, the rumble of thunder (Jimi Hendrix claimed that his earliest childhood memory was of a thunderstorm) and even with war. Disinformation’s National Grid is a sub-bass installation sourced either from the ambient VLF field radiated by electricity pylons and mains circuits, or, more recently, directly from the output cables of mains transformers. National Grid offers live physical evidence of environmental electromagnetic pollution, a demonstration of the intrinsic musical properties of alternating current, beat-frequency effects, the architectural acoustics of its own exhibition space, a formula for the realisation and suppression of Futurist sound art, a cathartic response to the pressures of urban life, a monolithic soundtrack for the genius of electrification and for the bitter conflicts between government and organised labour for control over the nation’s electrical infrastructure.” – Disinformation “National Grid” Ash International 1996

“Disinformation’s National Grid is one of the most important and impressive sound art works of recent times” Trebuchet Magazine

“London – A Sonic Fragment” features work by Shelley Parker, Disinformation, Graham Dunning, Greta Pistaceci, GPUD, Brown Sierra & Helen Frossi. The exhibition is curated by sonic artist Justyna Burzynska.