28 January | 20:00

John Bowers & Tim Shaw/Knifeloop #411

  • Doors: 19:30
  • Start time: 20:00
  • Part of the transmediale/CTM Vorspiel 2018 festival (vorspiel.berlin)

Knifeloop - remute control
Confronting a feedback system with field recordings and objects with electro-magnetic fields.

John Bowers & Tim Shaw - Berlin, Sensor 
Berlin, Sensor works with the image of the city of Berlin as a giant sensor device capable of picking up, analysing, and transmitting traces of local and global discord. Over the course of two days (27th-28th January, culminating with a performance at Spektrum), we will visit sites in the sensor-city which we conceive as specifically tuned to different categories of discord (environmental, meteorological, urban, logistical, technological, political, spiritual).
For example, we will visit the Langenscheidtbrücke, the 1898/9 bridge, which with its characteristic architecture famously served as the location for the scene in Wim Wenders’ Der Himmel über Berlin (English: Wings Of Desire) where the angel Damiel comforts the dying motorcyclist. For us, the bridge is a resonant sensor for the turmoil of urban flows. Sensitive accelerometer-based contact microphones will be rested on the bridge to sense the passage of traffic, pedestrians and angels over it and the railway underneath. A field trip to the cold-war listening post on top of Teufelsberg will allow us to collect and transmit Software Defined Radio, Slow Scan Television, sensor data and electromagnetic induction signals. From the top of Devil’s mountain we will create an entropic network of listening devices to explore and remediate this liminal space.
Though an improvised performance, we will follow our image of Berlin as a giant sensor of local and global discord by emphasising the interplay, interference and layering of multiple materials and forms of dynamical ordering. In this way, our imaginary sensor-city will not just inform the materials we collect but also how they and we interact to create an experimental mythogeosonic aesthetics of signal mixing.


Seamus O`Donnell (aka knifeloop) has been working on sound art performances and installations since 1999 in Berlin and abroad. Solo or collaborative works can include FM radio experiments; reel-to-reel tape machine loop or relays; or any mix of manipulated field recordings, self made devices, amplified objects and magnetic fields, no-input mixer as well as other more traditional instruments and voice. Improvisation is probably the most important factor. 
As an organiser he works with ColaBoraDio, a part of the PiRadio Verbund, as presenter and programmer on the local frequency 88.4FM. 


Since 2015, John Bowers and Tim Shaw have been developing a creative practice they have come to call ‘mythogeosonics’. We study the many, layered significances which can be attached to places and investigate their traces by working with sound. Following Phil Smith’s substitution of psychogeography with mythogeography, we acknowledge the multiple and contested characters of place and the value there is in creatively juxtaposing them.

We work with multiple and extended timescales. Think of the simultaneity of cosmology, geology, landscape, history, biography, fiction. We resist fixed uniform ideologies of the sort that can be found in heritage discourse. Rather than ‘responding' to a space, we prefer to participate within it, unfixing and reformulating its many meanings.

Think of this place as a noisy transmission that can be tuned in to and played with. Mythogeosonics works with an extended conception of field recording to incorporate such diverse practices as geophysical data sonification and paranormal investigation. Think of all the fields: radio, magnetic, electric, esoteric. We cross between on-site investigation, installation-making, soundwalks, and an improvisatory performance practice combining soundscapes, documentary recordings, film, text, and process material using modular synthesizers, resonant found objects, DIY software and self-made instruments. Think of all the ways that the mythogeosonic can be heard, witnessed, appreciated and transformed.

Recent works by Bowers and Shaw have included Unfoldings/SoundLines (FACT, Liverpool, UK, 2015), Bergen Invocation (Piksel, Bergen, Norway, 2015), Walk Write Repeat (AlgoMech, Sheffield, UK, 2016), and Into The Woods (Beyond, Allenheads Contemporary Arts, UK, 2017).

https://tim-shaw.net/ http://www.jmbowers.net/



John Bowers Tim Shaw