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Electromagnetic Sound Art – Disinformation and “National Grid” – 1996 to 2022

Disinformation, National Grid, live at Cargo nightclub 17 February 2005

Transmission Ecologies Ep. 13, featuring “National Grid” by Disinformation. Podcast produced for Transmission Ecologies, broadcast by Movement Radio, Athens.

• Disinformation – National Grid – remixed by Bruce Gilbert – 1997
• Disinformation – National Grid (VLF radio recording, original LP version) – 1996
• Pathé News / British Pathé – Pylon Men (documentary) – 1956
• Disinformation – National Grid – remixed by Bruce Gilbert – 1997
• Pathé News / British Pathé – Pylon Men (documentary) – 1966
• Disinformation – Radiate + National Grid + Loran-C – 1999 *
• Moscow Popular Science Film Studio – Plus Electrification (documentary) – c.1960
• Disinformation – Live in Moscow – featuring Mike Walter + Andy Knight – 2000
• Moscow Popular Science Film Studio – Plus Electrification (documentary) – c.1960
• Disinformation – National Grid – featuring Ilia Rogatchevski – 2018 *
• Disinformation – London Underground (VLF field recording) – 2002 *
• Disinformation – Bexleyheath to Dartford (VLF field recording) – 2002 *

* NB: tracks remixed January 2022. Total running time: 57:30.

Click here (scroll down for description) –

Also available on Mixcloud –

Original broadcast 18 January 2022, special thanks to Afroditi Psarra.

“The Internet Does Not Exist”

“Inspired by the e-flux volume The Internet Does Not Exist and including a reading of the introductory chapter by editors Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood and Anton Vidokle, Ep. 3 of The Reader’s Catalogue serves you nostalgia over this thing we used to call the internet…”

• Disinformation – Language [as] Meta-Technology
• Daphne X – Echo to Herself
• Stine Janvin – Fake Synthetic Music
• Holly Herndon – Home
• Lyra Pramuk – Xeno
• Kuedo – Story of the Wolf
• Meuko! Meuko! – About Time
• Arca – Mother
• Sega Bodega – 3310
• Empty Set – Bloom
• Patrick Belaga – Impiety
• Dustbreeding – Nils Frahm Says (Distorted)
• L-Vis 1990 FT Girl Unit & ADR – Love Focused Like A Laser (Theme)
• J.S. Bach – Das Alte Jahr Vergangen Ist / BWV 614
• Daphne X – Eva’s Monologue
• Eterna – Industry Night

Also on Mixcloud –

Programme produced by Dust Breeding for Movement Radio

“Language [as] Meta-Technology” ****

“Language [as] Meta-Technology” ****

“Language [as] Meta-Technology” [#2] by Disinformation

Accessible every day – 10am to 6pm
Fri 23 July to Sun 1 Aug 2021

White Box Gallery
5 Hare & Billet Road
London SE3 0RB

The book “Rorschach Audio – Art & Illusion for Sound” argues that “the earliest form of sound recording technology was not a machine but was written language”. “Language [as] Meta-Technology” is an installation, exhibited by the artist project Disinformation, which, extrapolating that concept, uses a commercially available high-end speech synthesiser to articulate (among other statements) the assertions that “the ultimate form of communications technology is language itself”, and that “all literature and poetry are forms of sonic art”. “Language [as] Meta-Technology” is a fully automated, medically sterile and autonomous kinetic audio installation, which will be fully accessible online and from outside White Box gallery.

Artwork: “Language [as] Meta-Technology” montage © Joe Banks 2021

Also –

Disinformation in “Sounds & Shapes” ****

Matchett & Page’s summer exhibition, Sounds & Shapes, is installed across the site of Shatwell Farm. The exhibition includes two site specific works: a sound installation by Disinformation in one of the disused grain silos, and a geometric patio-courtyard designed by Denman + Gould. The geometric theme continues into the Haybarn gallery with silkscreen prints that explore colour and shape by Lucy or Robert.

Open weekends, 11am to 5pm
17 July to 1 August 2021
… and by appointment

Matchett & Page
Shatwell Farm
Shatwell Lane
Yarlington BA9 8DL

Exhibition guide –

Poster design: Denman & Gould

Disinformation “Closed Circuit” – kinetic audio installation at Shatwell, Somerset ****

Disinformation – “Closed Circuit” – architectural + immersive sound installation in “Sounds & Shapes” exhibition, curated by Matchett & Page, July 2021

“If we sit and talk in a dark room, words suddenly acquire new meanings and different textures. They become richer, even, than architecture, which Le Corbusier rightly says can best be felt at night.” – Marshall McLuhan “Understanding Media” 1964

“Architecture is the simplest means of articulating time and space, of modulating reality and [of] engendering dreams” [1], and, perhaps paradoxically, in the silo at Shatwell, a familiar architectural form is re-purposed to create a kind of strange laboratory, within which, through the manipulation of architectural acoustics, of auditory and haptic sensations, the formal aesthetics and symbolism of pure geometry, interact with (equally primal) tactile resonances and symbolism, to evoke long-forgotten reflexes, sense memories, and (arguably, to some extent) even dreams. Extrapolating the assertion that “architecture in general is frozen music” [2], the installation at Shatwell is created not only within the building, but by the building, with the building itself functioning as a massive loudspeaker, as a kinetic artwork, and as a musical instrument, generating “sound” which is heard through the fingertips, drawing visitors into an amniotic sound world of gently pulsing vibration and breath-like rhythms.

In geometric terms, the curvilinear surface of a cylinder is effectively infinite, while in projective geometry, a cylinder can be defined as a cone whose apex rests at infinity [3] – a grain silo is in effect a giant tin of beans, and every child who’s built a tin-can-telephone is familiar with at least some of the acoustic properties of plate steel. “In every art it is the most elementary and primitive means that achieve the most profound and beautiful effects” [4], and “Closed Circuit” – the sound installation by artist project Disinformation – uses simple microtonal tuning techniques to create a rhythmically active and dynamic sound mass, which oscillates around a core frequency of 40Hz. This is, in neurological terms, the exact frequency of so-called Gamma waves which is most strongly associated with the integration of visual consciousness and dreams [5][6], and is the exact frequency most used in the field of vibro-acoustic therapy [7].

“We move within a closed landscape whose landmarks constantly draw us toward the past. Certain shifting angles, certain receding perspectives, allow us to glimpse original conceptions of space, but this vision remains fragmentary. It must be sought in the magical locales of fairy tales and Surrealist writings: castles, endless walls, little forgotten bars, mammoth caverns, casino mirrors…” [1]

“Arnold began telling Alan about his recurrent childhood dream, or nightmare rather, in which he felt himself suspended in absolutely empty space while a strange noise would start, growing ever louder, until he woke up in a sweat. Alan asked what kind of noise it was, but Arnold could not describe it… Alan imagined the old hangar on the RAF camp… and made up a science fiction story… in which the hangar was itself a brain.” [8]

[1] Ivan Chtcheglov “Formulary for a New Urbanism” October 1953
[2] Friedrich von Schelling “Philosophie der Kunst” 1802
[4] Rudolf Arnheim “Radio” 1936
[5] Francis Crick and Christof Koch “Towards a Neurobiological Theory of Consciousness” Seminars in the Neurosciences, vol. 2, 1990
[6] Rodolfo Llinás and Urs Ribary “Coherent 40Hz Oscillation Characterizes Dream State in Humans” PNAS, vol. 90, 1993
[8] Andrew Hodges “Alan Turing, The Enigma” 1983

“Closed Circuit” by Disinformation is commissioned and installed at Shatwell Farm, Somerset as part of the exhibition “Sounds & Shapes”, curated by Matchett & Page. The installation is open by appointment at weekends, 11am to 5pm, Saturday 17th July to Sunday 1st August 2021.

Initial site visit 22 Feb 2020, installation date 29 May 2021
Text by Joe Banks, copyright © 2 June 2021

William F. Temple – “Electric Symphony” (1951)

“A dozen electric motors started humming in a dozen different keys. A spark-gap lit the place with a vivid, leaping blue light which chased the shadows out of the gloomier corners, constantly retreating and springing again… The noise was tumultuous now. The dynamo was not bolted down as securely as it might have been, and it seemed to be roaring in an attempt to free its fettered feet. The vibrations were setting the floor a-tremble, and they came through the soles of my shoes as though the leather were but paper. The electric symphony of the small motors was almost unendurable: I remember making the mental comment: “Thank God Mossolov never got into here!” The air itself seemed to be oscillating with electricity. My mouth was prickling with it, as though my tongue were on the prongs of one of those flat batteries for flash-lamps… A red lamp screwed on the coarse planks lit up like a traffic light. Automatically everything seemed to cut out. The spark-gap died in a last flash, all the motors stopped with choked growls like a pack of frustrated hounds, and the big dynamo began to run down with a note oddly sweet now, a falling cadence like the violins in the Largo of the New World Symphony, deepened into the realm of cellos, became a throb, a whirring, a fluttering, the breath of a sigh… and was silent.”

William F. Temple “Four Sided Triangle” Galaxy Science Fiction 1951

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Bruno Schulz – “Sklepy Cynamonowe” (1934)

“The metals dipped in acid solutions, salty and rusting in that painful bath, began to conduct in darkness. Awakened from their stiff lifelessness, they hummed monotonously, sang metallically, shone molecularly in the incessant dusk of those mournful and late days. Invisible charges rose in the poles and swamped them, escaping into the circling darkness. An imperceptible tickling, a blind prickly current traversed the space polarised into concentric lines of energy, into circles and spirals of a magnetic field. Here and there an awakened apparatus would give out signals, another would reply a moment later, out of turn, in hopeless monosyllables, dash-dot-dash in the intervals of a dull lethargy. My father stood amongst those wandering currents, a smile of suffering on his face, impressed by that stammering articulation, by the misery, shut in once and for all, irrevocably, which was monotonously signalling in crippled half-syllables from the un-liberated depths.”

Bruno Schulz “Kometa” (“The Comet”) from “Sklepy Cynamonowe” 1934

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Electromagnetic Sound Art – Disinformation and “National Grid”

“Communism equals Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country” – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin 1921

Electronic music producer, researcher and installation artist Joe Banks discusses “National Grid” – the highly influential sound installation, recording and performance concept, which Joe produces under the aegis of the art project Disinformation. “National Grid” is a work of electromagnetic sound art, originally created using VLF-band radio technology, later using direct line noise from live mains electricity. “National Grid” was first performed live and published on LP in 1996, and first exhibited as an art gallery sound installation in 1997. “National Grid” has since been exhibited and performed nearly 40 times, most recently at the Fort Process Festival, Newhaven, in 2018. This presentation discusses technical, musical and symbolic aspects of “National Grid”, in relation to art history, to experimental and classical music, and in relation to literature, featuring short readings from the writers H.G. Wells, William F. Temple and Bruno Schulz.

Documentation + audio commentary, featuring – Disinformation “National Grid”, remix by Bruce Gilbert 1997; Disinformation “National Grid”, LP version 1996 (CD re-issue 1997); Disinformation “National Grid”, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst (Leipzig) “New Forms” CD 2000; Disinformation, live at the Dom Culture Centre (Moscow) 28 Sept 2000, featuring Mike Walter + Andy Knight; Disinformation + Strange Attractor, live at New Corsica Studios (London) 19 Nov 2004, featuring Mark Pilkington; H.G. Wells “Lord of the Dynamos” (extract) 1894; William F. Temple “Four Sided Triangle” (extract) 1951; Bruno Schulz “Sklepy Cynamonowe” (extract) 1934; Disinformation “Barcelona” (unreleased) remix 2017. Total running time 41:19.

Programme commissioned by the Listening Arts Channel, 19 March 2021 –

Use headphones –

Image: “National Grid” montage from video by Joe Banks + Barry Hale – video installation commissioned by Fabrica Gallery, Brighton, Nov 2001

Electromagnetic Sound Art, 1996 to 2016 **

Disinformation on Resonance 104.4 FM – Wavelength – 4 November 2016 –

Disinformation on BBC Radio 4 – Broadcasting House – 15 June 2008 –

Disinformation on BBC Radio 4 – Broadcasting House – 2 November 2008 –

… all discussing work published 1996 onwards

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