Signal to Noise is a new AV performance in development since the end of 2022.  I made the first version for the Live Visuals launch event at the BFI and Iklectik in November, taking full advantage of the 24-channel Amoenus Ambisonic system at Iklectik. This has taken the work in an immersive direction which I intend to develop further, perhaps into multi-channel video also.

The work is a return to some long-running themes in my work, chiefly the idea of ‘audiovisual noise’, which I have developed in previous works such as Zoetrope and Vanishing Point, and in theoretical writings. I’m interested in material which confuses or eludes perception, and how that changes the ways in which we engage with sound and image. Following the direction of Vanishing Point I’m further exploring natural phenomena in this regard – I’ve spent a lot of time recently trying to capture the beauty of starling murmurations on the Somerset Levels, near where I live. But I’m also returning to TV ‘snow’ and radio noise, material that I still find endlessly fascinating. 

I’m finding new ways of working with these materials in an immersive context. In particular I’m experimenting with rapid spinning motion, and how that can confuse the eye and ear (there’s plenty of precedent for this of course, going back to Gysin’s Dream Machine). I’ve been exploring this both sonically and visually – using rapid spinning motions in an ambisonic setting (using in particular the Envelop environment for Ableton Live), and in a quite literal way for my visual material, using various kinds of spinning camera setups, which are a bit precarious!

This video is a series of excerpts from documentation of the Iklectik performance. I’ve performed it a few times since, including at the Visible Bits, Audible Bytes and Sound/Image festivals