Oscillation and disturbance in ‘Op-eRa-art’-Year two 

Oscillation and disturbance in ‘Op-eRa-art’-Year one

Describing operations in my practice.

I am interested in exploring the phenomenon of what happens when different mediums - mainly the visual and the sonic converge within one creative process. I am especially interested in forms where improvisation is able to facilitate contemporary operatic ambition.

In this thesis I will borrow the term 'oscillation' used in the sonic world. I will use it metaphorically to describe and exercise processes in “intermedium” events. Intermedium events as defined by fluxus artist Dick Higgins in the 1960’s to describe inter-disciplinary activities. They are also described, by artist and critic Richard Kostelanetz, as events located between language arts and musical arts.

The use of sound approaches in visual art has created new concepts such as treating sound as an ‘Object' and the convergence of sound, vision and text in performance as ‘disturbance’- in the sense of shifting something from its original source. These will be core ideas in this thesis. I will be looking at: experimental traditions that relate to music composition, the ‘Score’ in visual arts since 1920's avant-Garde and approaches to sound as object, examining conceptual tools borrowed from music, to activate a visual art discourse.

Oscillation, is the process of modifying a tone. I’m using low frequency oscillation (LFO) as a metaphor for disturbing one form with another.

  • Modulation Synthesis – time-varying signal (the carrier) being affected in some way by another (the modulator) as a consequence of oscillation or other combinatory parameters.
  • Feedback loops- as a mechanism- the endless loop that occurs when an output is fed back into itself, to control a self contained system.  

I will use sonic metaphors like oscillation, modulation and feedback loops synthesis, as conceptual tools that provide new ways to render materials within artistic compositions and in intermedium events, which I will call: 


I have constructed ‘Op-eRa-art’, to describe my practice which engages in many forms. Op-eRa-art, allows for a convergence of disciplines and materials that come together to create a system whereby materials relate to one another and have the ability to change or ‘disturb’ one another and generate new meanings.

A convergence of a number of media, both digital and analogue, sound and text, that operate in relation to a live situation, where improvisation plays a key part as an agent that produces meaning in a time based event.

The finished work can be: an art installation, live performance, video, text, guerrilla action, sound art, a set of objects, or a combination of some/all of these elements and have the ability to change from one form to another.

Op-eRa-art is primarily governed by its mode/attitude. For example its complexity will create dissonances as disturbance in order to divert meaning and promote new meaning.

The point of Op-eRa-art is change itself, in that same way that oscillation functions between different mediums.

Op-eRa-art benefits from the expansion and availability and accessibility of technology and new media - hardware and software, such as the laptop, projector, circuit boards and the internet. These new technologies are central to the flexibility of the form, as different materials can be rendered using these same basic tools.

Op-eRa-art encompasses the realms of: visual art, experimental music, experimental theatre, the Avant-garde, pop culture, free improvisation and postmodern theory.

Other Questions in relation to the thesis: Do processes emerge when contradicting elements come together- creating new forms resulting from overcoming limitations in the original form?

Does disturbance/disharmony create new meaning?

Does the sonic and visual converge in oscillation?

Is improvisation - the opposite of ‘free’? In that, it is participation as part of a ‘system’- reacting in relation to other elements, in order to sustain that system.

Is it true that the Artists task is to create imbalance between conscious choice, and subconscious interference- LFO?

How beneficial is using metaphors from other discipline to expand and develop methods in visual art? In the way that the brain is always searching for form and order, patterns, is the task of art to challenge this idea?

My research aim is to create a dynamic oscillation of critical knowledge and practice (the relationship between practice and written).

Writing about the practice will relate to my developing Artistic manifesto.

Using low frequency oscillation as manifesto- for 'disturbing' ideas about practice, using the ‘manifesto’ as a sonic form of expression.

The manifesto's strong rhythmical quality and its historical intention (to pronounce the ‘truth'), is to be used as a devise in writing –'manifesto oscillator'. The challenge will be to see how this articulates and accentuates practical intentions.

My thesis will consist of four main fragments:

1) OVERVIEW AND CONTEXT: This section will provide context to the practice, by means of ‘oscillating information’ to the thesis framework.

Ideas that comes out of improvisation or out of ‘instructions’ start as a process shaped by knowledge of previous historical developments such as the 1920’s Avant-guarde, Stuckhausen, John Cage, Nam June Paik, Meredith monk, Robert Ashley and “Once” group, Alvin Lucier, David Tudor, Paulin oliveros, Robert Wilson and current Improvisation groups specifically members of the British Avant Garde like Eddie Prevost the AMM group and Cornelius Cardew- the Scratch Orchestra. Critical reading of Jacques Attali, Richard Kostelanetz, Rosalind E. Krauss, David Borgo…

‘Oscillation and disturbance in ‘Op- eRa- art’: This section will outline a reflective study, It will consider processes examined in Ongoing evolution of my practical work. This text will take a number of forms - online presence documented through a variety of media – sound – moving image – interactive web installations and so on.

2) The Opera- the practice progression of writing for Opera Stage 1 and 2.

This will use oscillating manifesto and will call upon chosen performance, music pieces, videos or installation (documented in sound or visual formats)- pieces Independently combine to become the opera. The writing will describe intentions that come out of the project and look at what works in the piece in relation to how oscillation Is utilised within the work to produce operatic ambition – mediated synthesis. I would like to draw conclusion and to implement techniques throughout the process and development of my work. This might take the form of- working with certain cord/cords, oscillation through transposed situations using text or other- modulating exercises…

Potentially some of the writing will be used for the live event as part of the performative text in the opera.

Examples for projects that I will write about: Improvisation sessions, collaborations- Prototype Hits, Alex Murrey-Leslie and John Richards- Dirty Electronics, solo work in progression- TohoVaVohoo, the Opera Stage 1, past performances/ sound pieces/video...

3)collaborative Projects: (Prototype Hits, working with Chicks on speed and “A Socialist rant” with Stuart Mackenzie.)

4)Improvisation: The workshop series with Eddie Prévost

  Research related activities since October, start of PHD: CV related activities
  Prototype Hits- GO TO PAGE   Improvisation/workshops- GO TO PAGE




Prototype Hits: Prototype Hits is a collaboration with Alex Murray Lesley. The project started as a commission by band member- Melissa Logan of “Chicks On Speed” to create a performance for the Girl Monster event involving female artists presenting: screening, live performance, bands, lectures and a DJ set. In January 2011 P.H in Hamburg and Dusseldorf, launched Prototype Performances, 1- 10 min. informative performances led by “rules” or a conceptual “score”. These included- action, fashion, text, music and video. The performance was guided by an alienated attitude- to perform agreed actions as prototypes of stage actions- unfinished and raw; like gestures that create an effect, notified by rules, structuring short happenings, guided by interactions and a variety of associative content reduced to material or sound in a composition.

Gala’s invitation: A development of one prototype from the Prototype Hits project, consisting of an intervention by myself and Alex M. L, to an existing artwork and public property: Gala Dali’s Castle Museum, without a permit to film. Our interaction with the confinements of the space (barriers, guards, regulations…) created a sense of purpose and determination- derived from limitations, it determined our movements and filming angles - creating a composition by default. The Jam session was created a day later, with the Gala action piece in mind, and later edited for the video.







The workshop series with Eddie Prévost:

Weekly workshop on Friday nights in London. “Definition of self can only occur within voluntary limitations of activity and expression. To prevent these limitations from solidifying into self-deceiving patterns of conceit, they have to be placed with confident uncertainty into the extra-personal life of community, the musical collective but also other communities.” EP, No Sound Is Innocent COPULA 1995

live performances: Workshop concert series at Café Otto, London, Feb 2011.

'As Alike As Trees', at Rag Factory march 2011.

'Dirty Electronics' workshop led by John Richards, part of Notations Interpretation weekend at the ICA.

'Dirty Electronics' at Short Circuit, Mute records event at the Round House, may 2011.




  • Capturing ideas, process, developing work through improvisation and collaborations, which is essentially an oscillatory dynamics.
  • Developing work through algorithm inspired instructions- borrowing metaphors from the sonic world to lead a process (Oscillation/ modulation/ hi-low Frequencies…)
  • Using metaphors from the sonic world as conceptual tools to describe practice engagement.
  • In Practice: the ‘Work’ leads the process and the process leads the work. The artist is governed by the ‘Work’.
  • Dynamic oscillation of critical knowledge and practice: reading informs work and work distils ideas in practice – which brings out new dimensions and questions to the surface, therefore progresses the research.
  • Setting out scores as parameters to work within, to examine how composition informs content and ideas come into place.
  • Examining the realm of complexity in ‘intermedium’ - what is it that I am doing and what is the benefit of a new definition to describe the activity?

Chords, repetition, vocal text-sound investigations:

Working with vocal in relation to Text-Sound Works, in interaction with noise/chords repetition and how it functions in a ‘space’, in performance, in recording – through modulation and ‘misplacement’ of words and sentences, using both own material and other writers/poets.

Noise sound and randomness, sample loops and ‘Jack Beat’ sequencer.

Examine the concept of “text- object”, and text as ‘disturbance’ in relationship to the work and study of other artists- Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier and Josef Sprinzak’s research.

Working with voice modulating meaning- words said in rhythm and key- juxtaposed with chords.I will be working with techniques like 'deep listening' by Paulin Oliveros- responding with voice to chords, diverting meaning through modulation, 'automatic singing'…

Noise: using circuit boards with random systems, working with Oscillation as disturbance and disturbance as Oscillation.

In this experimental environment I will examine the relationship between the conscious and subconscious- frequencies within and without, trying to create a method of working where I start with simple forms that then “overtake” and lead the process.

Central Project: Op-era 1, 2:

Op-era Stage 1, (year two):a live performance involving ten to thirteen musicians/performers in a live performance experiment, the activity will take part in an auditorium with a stage. Each participant get a ‘score’ in the form of a statement; they will be given a path on stage- where they start and end. They will be playing between - given instructions (form), and improvisation (formless).

Final presentation of the opera (Op-era Stage 2) will lead to a large concluding composition in dialogue with research- the score for the final piece will include parts worked on throughout the research.

There is no closed format for the opera, it might include several parts some installation, some live; or it might be one concluding action. The research will determine the opera’s final execution, how the complexity art comes into place in the form of presentation.

The idea would be that the fundamental concepts of the sound pieces will expand outward and become present in the space.

Other practice Work: On going projects with other artists;

With John Richards at Super Normal festival in August 2011,

the idea is to create a ‘field synthesizer’ where oscillation happened between the performer’s body movement and the audience/participants- that manipulate modulation through movement in relation to the performer.

The feedback loop effect will occur, as the performer will respond to the sound created from her own movement, reflected by the audience participation.

TohoVaVohoo: writing music and text/vocal/sound for- ‘intermedia’ events- festivals, installation, Tohovavohoo will be an experimental platform to exercise ideas coming out of the research, in practice Pieces coming out of this process will be devised for the final opera piece.

Tohovavohoo is inspired by the politics of sounds and the system that sound is being contained in (music).


“…Clamor, Melody, Dissonance, Harmony; when it is fashioned by man with specific tools, when it invades man's time, when it becomes sound, noise is the source of purpose and power, of the dream—Music. It is at the heart of the progressive rationalization of aesthetics, and it is a refuge for residual irrationality; it is a means of power and a form of entertainment.” (J. Attali, Noise, The Political Economy of Music, Minnesota, p6)

Music is essentially based on the consonance (harmony) or dissonance (disharmony) of combined musical tones or pitches (subjectively perceived objective frequencies). Consonance can be 'harmonic' or 'melodic' depending on degree of synchronization of the two notes played. More than two notes is called a Chord… (Steve Ash note, Musical Theory, Harmonic Angularity and the Occult Part One, May 9, 2011)

“it is possible to see language, source and temporality disturbances as a cross-over between the visual arts and the time-dependent arts, such as music, theatre and literature. By turning the voice into an object, as occurs in text-sound works, there is a certain shift of the voice from the sense of hearing to that of seeing.” (Josef Sprinzak, Text-Sound Art: Speech with Source and Temporality Disturbances in Avant-Garde and Intermedial Vocal Art 2010)

Chords, repetition, vocal and Text-Sound are a key feature in my practice; as it serves as the main performative engagement in my work.  

Working with methods and materials relating to noise sound and randomness, sample loops and ‘Jack Beat’ sequencer.

I will examine the concept of “text- object”, and text as ‘disturbance’ in relationship to the work and study of other artists- Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier and Josef Sprinzak’s research.

I'll be working with voice modulating meaning- words said in rhythm and key- juxtaposed with chords. I will be working with techniques like 'deep listening' by Paulin Oliveros- responding with voice to chords, diverting meaning through modulation, 'automatic singing'…

Noise: using circuit boards with random systems, working with Oscillation as disturbance and disturbance as Oscillation.

In this experimental environment I will examine the relationship between the conscious and subconscious- frequencies within and without, trying to create a method of working where I start with simple forms that then “overtake” and lead the process.

web site: will be constantly updated on the website.

mind map: The relationship between different parts of the research. Go to page


Anticipated contribution to knowledge:

To locate the workings of Op-eRa-art is to articulate new territories in art practice that do not comply with existing definitions.

To develop conceptual ideas and test those tools in practice.

To examine how new technology’s affect ‘intemedia’ work.

The need to recognize an activity: Op-eRa-art, in order to create a space is the need to move forwards from established definitions. Without this new field of interaction Op-eRa-art must adjust to existing terminologies -“performance”, “sound art”, “multimedia”; and by doing so lose its potential progression.

Conceptual tools evolving through rendering materials using Oscillation available by means of analogue and digital technology potentially leads to new forms.

The point of view of the artist: Creating conceptual tools in practice, in order to move forwards an artistic discourse- in order to question ‘practice activity’ as opposed to the critic examining post- practice activity.

Contribution by introducing:

Unique interviews and recorded conversations, discussions, with practitioners active in the field of intermedium and sound, about issues relating to research.

Time table: for PHD untill completion Go to page