A Lack of Chairs

A Lack of Chairs
Documents, Alternatives
BSAD, 2018

This video is based on a chance encounter of three sonic assemblages; each of these entities seeks continuity but originates from a disparate place. Originally, the sonic linked themselves together through time, meeting each other through random actions, some of which only will only occur once. These entities have been sourced and gathered from various situations located from London to Sydney, and in this incarnation, are meeting together in a middle ground; the situated context of the video. This ‘meeting’ is a reflection on the working methods of both practitioners.

This video is part of the Documents, Alternatives #3 exhibition curated by Ang Bartram at B-Side Gallery (Bath Spa University): 20 April-11 May 2018.

For more information about this work and the exhibition and symposium check out our previous post on this event.


Itinerant Mind: Grid 2 [Project Anywhere]


Image: Annie Morrad at Verge Gallery, University of Sydney, February 2018

“Grid 2” is the second composition to come out of our project “Grid”. Grid 2 is a single one hour durational piece constructed for code, samples, field recording, and improvised saxophones, piano, and guitars. It was broadcast on Aug 19, 2017 via out Itinerant Mind show on Wave Farm. On August 3 2017 we performed a live improv around this composition at Aphantasia (Eight Hour Shift), an art performance by Annie Morrad, Andrew Bracey and Steve Dutton in London at AND Event Space. An recorded edit of that performance was played on SoundArt Radio (UK) during their recent DroneWeek.

The Grid project utilizes concepts of the grid, sound, music, improvisation and cities.

The cities are chosen for their personal links to the participating practitioners. This interposes grid structures on London (via ordinance survey maps and staves) on Sydney via structured coded sound drones, and on NY via live improvisation and broadcast. The aim is to create sonic and ultimately visual structures that offer pretention for new and efferent forms of sound and audio visual outputs. This references philosophical and theoretical ideas on rhythm (through polyrhythms and Bachelard’s society and rhythm) structures and when to break these (using music theory and Prevost’s writing). These notions have been further developed in different cities, including Shanghai and Chongqing, China in 2017 and this will continue through 2018.

Documents, Alternatives: a symposium of artistic process and practice

documents graf

Annie Morrad will be performing a live improvisation at the upcoming Documents, Alternatives Symposium at Bath School of Art and Design on Fri, April 20, 2018. Annie will be accompanied by a video by Ian McArthur. This is a prelude to our work “A Lack of Chairs” which is featured in the Documents, Alternatives exhibition at B-Side Gallery (Bath Spa University): 20 April-11 May 2018.

‘Documents, Alternatives (#3)’ is an exhibition that includes time-based works that rely on performative process and created experience, which aims to resolve this issue by making the document and artwork reflexive.

Documents, Alternatives is curated by Angela Bartram and develops the curatorial concerns initiated within The Alternative Document, 2016, an exhibition and symposium staged at ProjectSpacePlus, Lincoln, 2015. Documents, Alternatives has been unfolding over a series of exhibitions and symposia at Airspace Gallery (Stoke on Trent): 17 November – 16 December 2017; Verge Gallery, Sydney, 18 January – 24 February); B-Side Gallery (Bath Spa University): 20 April – 11 May 2018; ONCA Gallery (Brighton) as part of Brighton Digital Festival: 21 September – 8 October 2018.

Symposium Description

The documentation of ephemeral artwork, works made to be transient, changeable and un-fixed, is often problematic for the intent and premise of creation as it aligns itself with a particular moment, place and viewpoint in time. Lens-based methods are mostly relied upon to communicate actuality and happening and to fix the un-fixed memory of the artwork, and this is part of that problem. Effectively, this type of documentary device works in opposition to the concept of the artwork, cementing into a fragmentary history when all it wants is to be fleeting in its temporality. The lens-made recording tends to generalise vision and, by extension, it does not fully communicate the experience of ‘being there’ and present. This is problematic for artwork whose very premise is to be transient and time-based, and for which direct experience is a priority.

‘Documents, Alternatives (#3)’ is an exhibition that includes time-based works that rely on performative process and created experience, which aims to resolve this issue by making the document and artwork reflexive. In doing this it acknowledges their need for change so that they remain continuous and in process through staging a practical and thought provoking visual discussion. The symposium accompanies this exhibition at BSAD, and acts in response to process with artistic practice and the experience of the artwork. It situates a series of opportunities for the experience of process through a structure of colloquialism adjacent to the exhibition, to open the nature of artistic process to critical debate. To enable a dialogue about process (as that exhibited and that discussed) informed by both academic and creative domains, symposium speakers are the artists with work in the accompanying exhibition.

The opening of the exhibition follows the symposium, to which delegates are warmly invited.


We have been working on the concept for The Grid since the middle of 2017. Comprised of 6 ten minute drones, 6×10 is the first of the research outputs we published related to the project.

The significance of this research is its’ contribution to knowledge about distributed, networked, and participative performance practice and the positive deployment of interruptive processes that examine and exploit its virtues to expose productive insights that go beyond abstract theorisation (Campbell, 2016).

The applied practice-led nature of this research reveals the relevance of the networked sonic realm to a wider interdisciplinary context where our respective and different creative practices reveal trajectories that link public art, experimental radio, architecture, urban mapping, digital design, and visual art.

Reference:  Campbell, L. (2016). Lee Campbell’s Tactics of Interruption

6×10 was released August 3, 2017 on Bandcamp.

Annie Morrad (London): saxophones and field recordings
Ian McArthur (Sydney): electronics, guitars, piano, and field recordings

Sy_Drones [Project Anywhere]

Live and recorded outputs documenting our program of research outputs for the study The Grid are now being regularly broadcast on ‘Itinerant Mind’ our long-standing monthly experimental radio broadcast on Wave Farm 90.7 FM New York.

In addition, our original proposal identified how the outputs will be published through blogs and social media. In the past we have made extensive use of platforms such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp as well as the usual ubiquitous twitter and facebook feeds.

We’ve established a dedicated Soundcloud feed for Project Anywhere content. The first post is largely material generated in Sydney. There are stems from a recent malfunctioning telematic improvisation (does anyone love the new Microsoft version of Skype?). Several of these pieces were played in our recent March Wave Farm broadcast “Refuser”. Sy_drones is characteristic of the content that I will be producing at the Sydney ‘node’ of The Grid.

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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