Imagine being able to interact with, and co-create, a musical composition being broadcast from Australia, at the flick of a switch, while you are in another country.
Imagine now that the composition is part of a sound installation created by luminary English singer and songwriter Lloyd Cole, in which the sounds broadcast are continually evolving through audience participation in four cities across the world.
It’s a concept turning into reality when Lloyd Cole returns to UniSA this month, with a unique sound installation Identity vs Noise: 1Dn that will open and run at the Nexus Arts Gallery in Adelaide from January 25 to February 3.
The installation itself will harness instantaneous presentations across various global capital cities using new technologies to create new sounds, with the starting presentation being a generative electronic composition of indefinite length.
That composition will be created through a unique modular synthesizer, which has been diligently assembled by Lloyd Cole specifically for the installation, set for contemporaneous broadcast to interactive interfaces in Helsinki, Dublin and Tokyo.
Lloyd Cole is the highly regarded lead singer of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, whose cerebral brand of post new wave pop charted throughout the 1980s, and whose hits, along with his solo compositions, Cole is bringing to Australia this month with his tour The Retrospective. The tour will see Cole performing songs exclusively from his time as the lead singer of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions as well as his subsequent and substantial solo work.
The sound installation marks the latest chapter in a career in which Cole’s experimentation in electronic and generative music has born fascinating fruit, best evidenced in 1D Electronics 2012-2014.
Lloyd describes the Identity vs Noise: 1Dn composition as being built around an “innate volatility”.
“This volatility is also impacted by the audience. At each of the satellite galleries, and in Adelaide there will be a single switch, pressing this switch will flip flop between “yes” and “no”,” Cole says.
“Various combinations of these choices will impact the piece in different ways, sometimes subtle, sometimes not subtle.
“The essence of the piece, its beauty is fighting its environment – the noise of everyday life. The audience are part of that equation. They are part of the noise.
“Noise doesn’t know what it’s doing other than making things noisy, so the audience don’t have any control over the impact of their actions other than they choose to act or not.
"The ability of the other, the noise, to impact and corrupt the consonance, is in the hands of the audience.
“Someone flipping a switch in Dublin could interact with the composition running live in Adelaide, whilst someone in Helsinki could also become part of the equation. Dissonances may be slight, subtle, or brutal. Changes may be instantaneous, or so gradual as to be indiscernible”.
Professor Anthony Elliott, Executive Director of the Hawke EU Centre, welcomed Lloyd Cole’s return to UniSA, where Lloyd was a Visiting Fellow in 2014, and described the Identity vs Noise: 1Dn exhibition as resonating with key global issues of our times.
“Identity vs Noise: 1Dn is a sound installation exploring global transformations in the interplay of identity and difference – in personal and artistic life, in cultural life, and in politics more generally,” Prof Elliott says.
“Cole is a musician who has brought a European sensibility to his artistic work and engaged with audiences across Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia.
“This puts him in a unique position to reflect on today’s global cultural turbulence, and there are many ways in which the theme of “volatility” in Identity vs Noise: 1Dn might be contextualized in terms of wider global changes.
“That contemporary electronic music would eventually turn back to consider the contradictions of mutation in everyday life was predictable; but nothing could have prepared us for Cole’s astonishing confrontation with the complex relations between identity, dissonance and noise in both public and private life. His work continues to break new ground, and we are exceptionally pleased to have Lloyd Cole return to UniSA and the Hawke EU Centre”, said Prof Elliott.
The Sound Installation will be presented by the Hawke EU Centre for Mobilities Migrations and Cultural Transformations in partnership with TAV Gallery (Japan), Trinity Long Room Hub (Ireland) and the Museum of Finnish Architecture (Finland).
Lloyd Cole: Background biography
Lloyd Cole first stepped into the spotlight when Lloyd Cole & The Commotions released their effortlessly hip debut album ‘Rattlesnakes’ in 1984.
- After two further albums of era defining cerebral pop, Cole decamped to New York as a solo artist and made a home in the city that had always loomed large in his imagination.
- Resident in the US since ’88 Lloyd has released 12 acclaimed studio albums that run the gamut from electric rock’n’roll to intimate folk via experimental electronica.
- Cole’s experiments with electronic music, including his work with legendary German Cluster co-founder Hans- Joachim Roedelius, have been described by The Irish Times as “a delicate, delightful pleasure”. Lloyd Cole previously visited the University of South Australia in 2014.
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