The Grid [Project Anywhere]


Image: “Chongqing London #1”, 2017. Photography, Digital Media, Morrad+McArthur

We are Morrad+McArthur. We are Annie Morrad and Ian McArthur. We live at opposite ends of the planet – Annie in London and Ian in Sydney. We compose and play collaborative sound work and live performances through the use of digital software Mixlr and Skype.  We began working together in 2014 exploring our shared interest in sound art, rhythm in the urban environment, improvisation, jazz, crowds and the city. During live events Ian broadcasts electronic sounds, field recordings, processed guitar, and live mixing. Annie plays live improvised alto and tenor saxophone against these. For our recorded sound work the starting points vary from being concept driven to ‘I’ve got this idea…’. This blog is one site where we will document and explore aspects of our work on the Project Anywhere study “The Grid”.

The cities in “The Grid” are chosen for their specific experiential, personal, and professional links to the participating practitioners.


Image: “London Sydney #2”, 2017. Photography, Digital Media, Morrad+McArthur

The Grid is a preliminary study exploring sound and cities to forge a triangulated performative and intermittently participatory digital space linking London, Sydney, Chongqing, and New York through experimental composition and telematic improvisation using live and recorded saxophones, coding, field recordings, found sounds, electronics, processed guitars, and piano. The project’s construction of “city-ness” (Sassen, 2005) through the building of structured assemblages of experimental sound and music involving the artists Morrad+McArthur, collaborators and participants underpins the ongoing testing of telematic ecologies of improvisation and collaborative composition as a means to generate newness and new sonic spaces. The cities in “The Grid” are chosen for their specific experiential, personal, and professional links to the participating practitioners. The project addresses the lack of comprehensive understanding about the potential of telematic digital spaces as performative and generative.


Image: “London Sydney #1”, 2017. Photography, Digital Media, Morrad+McArthur

Within the project we aim to:

  1. describe these cities through a juxtaposition of sonic interpretations of the grid.
  2. interpose experimental and interpreted grid structures on the selected cities (chosen for their connection to the artists).
  3. generate composed and improvised sonic structures that offer potential for new performative and participatory forms of urban sound and musicality drawing on philosophical and theoretical ideas of rhythm through polyrhythms and view of society, rhythm (Lefebvre, 2004) and social space (Lefebvre, 1991) together with the understanding of ‘time’ as instantaneous moments (Bachelard, 2000).
  4. weave interpretive and intersectional structures that break these structures using music theory influenced by Prevost’s notion of the “search for sound” to challenge accepted notions of latency held by performance artists working in distributed and networked contexts (Pévost, 1995).
  5. produce collaborative improvised and site-specific performances, experimental radio broadcasts, an interactive/responsive installation, comprised of sound, video, photographic and drawn material.
  6. develop and apply site-specific strategies to each city (1) London via ordinance survey maps and staves) (2) Sydney via structured sound and drones, (3) Chongqing via participatory urban media design and New York via our monthly live improvisation and experimental radio broadcasts (Wave Farm Radio: Morrad+McArthur).

Bachelard, G., (2000). The Instant.  (Edited: Durie, R. Time and the Instant)  Clinamen Press, Manchester.
Lefebvre, H., (2004). Rhythmanalysis: Space, time and everyday life. A&C Black.
Lefebvre, H., (1991), The production of Space, Blackwell, Oxford.
Pévost, E., (1995).  No Sound is Innocent. Copula, Harlow
Sassen, S., (2005). City-ness in the Urban Age. In Urban Age, Bulletin 2, 2005.

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