Hybrid Words 3

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Hybrid Words has been re-worked and re-writtern for ‘Germinal’, an exhibition at the New Media Gallery in Canada.

Beginning with a word, the form of ‘Hybrid Words’ is created thorough layers of complexity. Much like the universe of atoms to which it alludes, its simple, defined, individual parts are combined to create emergent behaviours and visuals, the precise outcome of which is unknowable.

Each word is broken into a series of points to which one or more particles are assigned. These points move, following a single aim per word and are, in turn, followed by their particles. The result is form that appears, superficially, like the word but, like a living creature, is only a result of its internal states and interactions.

This tenuous structure is then destabilised on collision with another word, the two merging by selecting parts of each word to combine and then, from this new term, re-assigning the previous points and particles, discarding any that are deemed extraneous or unnecessary. Each collision, therefore, produces a word further removed, both in language from the linguistic inputs, and in structure from the initial, relatively controlled selection of points and particles.

Hybrid Words is a project with Suhee Kim

The Wi(Fi)tching Hour

Another seance (or, rather 4 of them) at the RA, this time in the dead of night crossing the witching hour. The spirits are angry, there is noise, we attempt to calm them with a custom glockenspiel, there is more noise.

Spectral Resynthesis

A Drum Loop & Spectral Audio Resynthesis (via this lovely tool), added too many layers and the computer broke down. Which is appropriate.

A Shout From the Edge of Satellites


There are many (artificial) satellites orbiting the earth, some functional, some long dead and some that have broken free of their natural lifespan to come back to life and begin transmitting again. Many of these transmit their data, weather images for example, on the 136-138mhz band and can be listened to with a cheap USB Radio/TV receiver and Software Defined Radio application.

I’ve been using these tools, just to see what’s in the various parts of the radio spectrum (spoiler: noise, lots of noise) and was hovering just below 136mhz where I picked up a signal:

This is just one section of it (I recorded around 4) each of which begin with a small burst of white noise before playing through a regular square wave pattern (which, I assume, is used to set/show the data rate) and then the section of what sounds like data. The image at the top of this post shows an attempt to decode it as a weather satellite image with wxtoimg, but this doesn’t seem to follow through – you can see the sections split by the lighter bands (a noisy one, then a regular one).

There’s certainly data there, but working out how to decode it is tricky. I’m going to approach it as if it’s using Manchester encoding to begin with, working from the square wave as the data rate, and see where that takes it.

Network Seance

An audio-visual network seance, with Francesco and I channeling the Wi-Fi spirits through the Network Ensemble, possesing keyboards, amps, a glockenspiel and even visual software. You hear, to begin, the raw pulses the ensemble outputs, looping through the different categories of data. Then, leaving one in, we bring in the solenoids – playing the glockenspiel – and the MIDI keyboard, controlled by various ports.

Footage from the second live performance with the Network Ensemble, on 01/07/15 (part of An Evening With Gekiyasu and Friends).

More about the Network Ensemble

The Grid [part 1]

[The Grid is a series of writings about the effects of technocratic sampling, modelling and analysis on reality and our experience of it.]

Uncertainty, or The Problem with the Model

…but satisfactory comprehension was not forthcoming. No matter how fully actions were structured and planned, no matter how carefully intentions were modelled there was always an outlier, a missed variable, an unexpected consequence. Uncertainty was a relentless fact. The problem was not the models, they decided, not the data; that was perfect, precise, complete. No, the fault must be with reality’s model of itself.

Certainty, or The (Im)posed Solution

A grid was drawn over reality, dividing it in every dimension, in every category, each cell with an equal quality. Uniformity as understanding. A new state of existence was thus created with action, reaction and communication closely monitored and controlled, lest an imbalance or inaccuracy be introduced. Over time, actual reality and this administrative actuality came to be identical.


Network Ensemble

The Network Ensemble is a tool to sonically uncover and amplify the invisible territory of the networks that sit between our offline and online experiences. The networks that connect us also surround us, becoming a permanent layer in our everyday environment, a man-made natural force with its own nature and accompanying mystique. It is this […]

View Project

Propaganda / Danny Augustine


I’m part of a group providing sound for Danny Augustine’s performance tonight at Ace Hotel. I’ll be playing this synth from a Dirty Electronics workshop by charging it with a 9v battery and controlling how it discharges, as well as a selection of noisy objects & piezos in this Jacobs tin.

More info/tickets: https://billetto.co.uk/local-transport-propaganda


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Courtesy, the ISO

Network Sounds

This is a quick test, for the larger, ongoing, ‘Network Ensemble’ project with Francesco Tacchini. The local wireless network ‘space’ is monitored and different sounds are assigned to aspects of wireless network communications. For this, I’ve broken the communications into packets and placed these in two categories: Broadcast/Direct and Network/Data.

These are communications sent to a specific destination. They could, for example, be data sent from an access point to a laptop containing a web page that has been requested, or an email. They are the first block on screen, and sound in the right audio channel only as a short blip.

This refers to communications that are sent out to the whole network, without a particular target. They allow devices to ‘know’ about other devices available for communication or connection. For example, ‘Beacon Frames’, which are sent by access points to advertise their availability to devices which may wish to connect. These are the second block on screen, in the left audio channel only, and a high pictched, reverberant, ‘ping’ type sound.

These packets are used by the network infrastructure, or by devices to understand the network. They could, for example, be ‘Authentication Requests’, whereby a device requests to connect to a secure network, or, again, the beacon frames that are used to advertise the structure of the network. These are the third block on screen, play in the left channel only and are a short, low pitched sound.

This is the data requested by, and sent to devices on the network, any application level information, such as web page data or emails could be contained within this. The rightmost block on screen represents these, and they cause bursts of white noise to sound, panning between the left and right channels.

This was done at home, somewhere without too much network saturation, so as aresult there’s quite a range of communication levels. At ‘rest’ the network is fairly rhythmic, and the rapid runs of sound that can be heard are caused by loading pages or causing other devices to connect to the network.

Network Materiality

The network is made of cheap plastic, brief protection for young waves as they’re first emitted. Boxes whose only sign of life is a blinking LED, hiding the noise, the speed, the data they channel.

Limbs → Legs

Developed in the 60s by General Electric, this quadrapedal ‘truck’ had legs controlled individually by the operator’s 4 limbs. The range of amplification of the users movements could be strong enough to move a car out of the way, and gentle enough to step on a lightbulb without crushing it.

It has excellent little feet, and this prototype is wonderfully horse-like in its pose:


Unknown Territories

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My friend Caroline Claisse has been running workshops alongside The First Human, a show at the Pumphouse Gallery in Battersea, encouraging visitors to respond to various prompts through writing and by making ‘cave drawings’ from wire. The project has lead to some beautiful ideas and a fantastic array of forms on the themes ‘First Inhabitants’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Found Object’ and ‘In The River’.

We’ve put together an archive site to explore them at unknown-territories.com.