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“The Analysis of Beauty” & “Gap in the Air” – interview on Culture Laser

"The Analysis of Beauty" by Disinformation at Talbot Rice Gallery

Martin Parker and Joe Banks – interviewed by Ryan Van Winkle and produced by Colin Fraser for Culture Laser (see earlier posts)

Chinese Communism & the Politics of Listening

Artwork – Contradiction (矛盾), Disinformation (造谣), Disillusion (幻滅)…

Also see the “Rorschach Audio” feature in Shoppinghour magazine

Three copies of “Rorschach Audio” retailing for £15!

After that the prices go up to hundreds of pounds (information correct at the time of going to press).

Video documentation of “The Analysis of Beauty” by Disinformation at Talbot Rice Gallery

"The Analysis of Beauty" by Disinformation at Talbot Rice

Art in Scotland and Summerhall TV made this video about the “The Analysis of Beauty” sound and video installation (see earlier post) which ran for 2 weeks, up to 29 Nov 2014, in the Georgian Gallery at Talbot Rice in Edinburgh. The actual sound featured in “The Analysis of Beauty” exhibit focussed on sine-waves with a core frequency of 40Hz, with the effect that (inevitably) the in-situ audio proved almost impossible to record for this video. For the most accurate representation of the gallery sound, please play the MP3 file below, listening through good quality external hi-fi loudspeakers or headphones (not laptop speakers).

As for the influence of William Hogarth’s ideas about “The Analysis of Beauty” and “Serpentine Line” etc, the evolution of this exhibit, which premiered at Kettle’s Yard gallery in 2000, is described in the Summerhall TV video. The installation also uses audio techniques employed in the Disinformation sound work “National Grid”, which was first performed and published in 1996 and first exhibited in 1997 (with further versions being performed, recorded and exhibited ever since). The precise audio specification for the installation at Talbot Rice is based on another Disinformation piece which employs the same technique – namely “Absolute Zero” – which was commissioned for the CD of the same name, by Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigawara, and published by Charrm Records, also in 2000 (the audio clip embedded below is a short extract from that track, which was used as the sound demo for the installation at Talbot Rice; and if the audio skips, view this webpage using a different browser). For details of the illusions created by “The Analysis of Beauty” oscilloscope exhibit, see the “Rorschach Audio” book pages 161 to 175.

Special thanks to Martin Parker, James Clegg, Tommy Stuart, Pat Fisher, Stuart Fallon, Lucy Brown, Claire Hills, Zata Kitowski, Chris Orr, Richard Taylor, Ryan Van Winkle & Luci Wallace. Thanks to everyone who came to the symposium at Talbot Rice on 17 Nov. Thanks also to Nick Thurston for organising the (very well attended) “Rorschach Audio” talk in Leeds (see below), and to everyone who came along in Leeds as well.

Talbot Rice Gallery presents “The Analysis of Beauty” by Disinformation

Disinformation - The Analysis of Beauty

“The Analysis of Beauty” by Disinformation

Talbot Rice Gallery
The University of Edinburgh
Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh EH8 9YL
0131 650 2210

Reception + preview – 12.30 (lunch-time) 15 Nov 2014
Sound installation – 15 to 29 Nov 2014

“The eye hath this sort of enjoyment in winding walks, and serpentine rivers, and all sorts of objects, whose forms, as we shall see hereafter, are composed principally of what I call the waving and serpentine lines. Intricacy in form, therefore, I shall define to be that peculiarity in the lines, which compose it, that leads the eye a wanton kind of chace, and from the pleasure that gives the mind, intitles it to the name of beautiful…” William Hogarth “The Analysis of Beauty” 1753

In 1753 the Georgian artist William Hogarth self-published his magnum-opus, “The Analysis of Beauty” – the book in which Hogarth expounded an aesthetic system based on analysing the virtues of the Serpentine, S-shaped, waving and snake-like lines. The Serpentine Line that William Hogarth discussed is identical to what modern nomenclature refers to as the sine-wave – the mathematical function whose geometry finds physical expression in oscillatory motion of musical strings, in pure musical notes, and in many phenomena of engineering, physics and communications science, signal processing and information technology.

In context of the architect William Playfair’s design for the Georgian Gallery at Talbot Rice, sonic and visual arts project Disinformation presents a minutely-tuned assemblage of pure musical sine-waves, which extend and extrapolate the visual aesthetics of Hogarth’s analyses, manifesting throughout the Georgian Gallery as a gently-hypnotic, immersive and dream-like sound-world. The installation is created using signals from laboratory oscillators, which manifest in-situ as standing-waves (the audio equivalent of stationary pond-ripples), through which visitors move as they explore and interact with the architectural acoustics of the exhibition space.

“The Analysis of Beauty” sound installation is accompanied at Talbot Rice by the video of the same name, in which musical sine-waves are fed into and displayed on the screen of a laboratory oscilloscope. These signals visually manifest as a slowly rotating rope-like pattern of phosphorescent green lines, strongly reminiscent of the geometry of DNA. This earliest version of “The Analysis of Beauty” installation was exhibited at Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge, in 2000, where the Disinformation exhibit was set-up alongside works by Umberto Eco, Marc Quinn and the artist project Art & Language, and directly alongside one of Francis Crick & James Watson’s earliest working-models of DNA.

“The Analysis of Beauty” forms part of the “Gap in the Air” installation series at Talbot Rice, programmed by Dr. Martin Parker of The Edinburgh College of Art, in conjunction with Talbot Rice Gallery. “The Analysis of Beauty” runs at Talbot Rice simultaneous to “The Beguiled Eye” exhibition by the painter Christopher Orr. If you visit Talbot Rice, for the best sound, be sure to fully explore the upstairs (balcony) level of the Georgian Gallery. [scroll down]

See “Rorschach Audio” book pages 161 to 175

Monty Python’s Argument Sketch Performed With Two Vintage Speech Synthesizers

Michael Palin is played by the Dectalk Express, John Cleese is played by the Intex Talker (Votrax SC-01A)

Disinformation + Joshua Bonnetta “Babylone Electrifiée”

Babylone Electrifiée

“Babylone Electrifiée” by Joshua Bonnetta and Disinformation
Video + Sound Installations
Curated by Damien Simon
Exhibition continues until 22 Nov 2014

Le Bon Accueil – Lieu d’Art Contemporain
74 Canal Saint-Martin
35700 Rennes

The “Babylone Electrifiée” exhibition features “The Analysis of Beauty”, “National Grid” and “Blackout” (Sound Mirrors) by Disinformation, and “Strange Lines & Distances” by Joshua Bonnetta.

Sound Mirrors 1997 –
Sound Mirrors 1997 –


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