Pollen Mining

exhibited at
TBC
supported by
The Sussmann Foundation



project website


current - see project website



Pollen Mining is a collaborative arts project, working with Grindcore Heavy Metal musicians to subvert and bring attention to the stringent and pervasive surveillance strategies Chinese authorities are using to persecute and detain the country’s minority Muslim Uigher population in Xinjiang.

Last year it was reported that an app entitled 蜂采 (which roughly translates to bees mining pollen) was loaded onto the phones of those crossing the border into Xinjiang. This application gathers texts, call records, contacts and calendar entries as well as checking the files stored on the phone against a list of more than 73,000 prohibited items. Whilst some of these items relate to extremist content,  the list also contains perfectly reasonable material to have stored on one’s phone such as excerpts from the Quran, a book about the history of Syria, a self help book, or the writings of the Dalai Lama. Another more bizarre item on the list is a song by the Japanese heavy metal Grindcore band Unholy Grave called ‘Cause and Effect’.

Pollen Mining will work collaboratively with Grindcore musicians to produce, record and perform a collection of songs that lyrically embed the other restricted, but harmless or seemingly arbitrary, content of the app.  By converging the app’s prohibited items with the also targeted Grindcore genre, these songs will candidly but covertly seek to subvert the censorship strategy of the app, maintaining the content of both. These audio files will act as a loud and affective form of contemporary protest; harnessing the medium of music to disseminate content, in turn increasing awareness of China’s human rights abuses against the Uigher population in Xinjiang.








Fluid Statics

exhibited at
Tower Bridge, City of London


11/2018 - 03/2019



From its source in Gloucestershire to its estury in Essex, the River Thames is often pertained to its solidity: its banks, meanders and lines on a map. But it’s essence is in liquid. It is everywhere before it is somewhere, it is rain before it is rivers. It is seawater, waves oceans and currents. It is pervasive and perversive, creating conncetions and borders.  

Tower Bridge is intrinsically liquid. Not only is its primary function to span the River Thames, but underneath its solid, more prominent mass of Gothic architecture, is an often overlooked, but powerful fluid system. Water was once heated in the boilers. The steam generated would flow into the engine’s cylinders, moving pistons back and forth. This drove hydraulic ram pumps which forced water into the hydraulic accumulators where it was pressurised and stored. Because liquids are virtually incompressible and transmit force efficiently and evenly, when released to the hydraulic drive engines (situated behind the installation), the stored water provided the force to open the bascules, allowing river traffic to flow downstream.

Tower Bridge’s solid facade of Gothic Architecture claims its image, however the liquid system flowing from Engine Rooms, entwining itself through pipes, pumps and pistons within the bridge’s body of metal, brick and stonework claims the bridge’s power.

Rather than hiding this fluid system within the solid mass of the bridge, this installation encodes the weights of the solid materials used to construct Tower Bridge within the medium of liquid, subverting this hierarchy of matter and representing the bridge’s data in a more comprehensible form. The water contained within the sculpture was collected from the source of the river Thames in Gloucetsershire, where the artist grew up. Every mililitre of river water in the sculpture denotes 5 tons of solid material.








AS-24SA / RA52-180

exhibited at
PRESERVES, Artist Run



06/2018


AS-24SA / RA52-180 are two sculptures that form part of an ongoing collection.

These works recreate the designs of mass manufacture assembly-line machinery in oak wood using only Shaker furniture style and joinery.









Encoded Revolt

exhibited at
New Music New Functionalities 
The Design Museum


04/2018, 09/2019 - present



This Encoded Revolt Lecture and performacne was given as part of the Design Museum’s New Music New Functionalities Event. A subsequent talk and performace at The Design Museum occured as part of their Sound in Mind event.
//
Encoded Revolt consists of an an ongoing series of works, that I first began developing in 2017. These works, performed and exhibited at The Imperial War Museum and The Design Museum, encode the coordinates and surrounding data of airstrikes in the Syrian conflict within music notation; acting as a new form of embedded political activism.

A sense of urgency to protect the digitally stored and often contested data of airstrikes led me to experiment with translating digital languages into analogue forms as a means of preservation. This culminated in the development of a methodology converging the widely used computer code hexadecimal with the musical systems of Serialism. Pioneered by composers Arnold Schoenberg and Oliver Messiaen, Serialism is a compositional movement which uses ordered series of musical elements to systematically produce music that is atonal and unified. To encode the airstrike data I adapted Schoenberg’s 12 tone series and Messiaen’s 24 duration series for the base 16 code hexadecimal. With every hexadecimal digit denoted by both a tone and a duration, with the incorporation of Serialist compositional techniques, digital data could be performed, preserved and progressively ciphered in music.

Cellist: MIlan Tarascas








Encoded Revolt

exhibited at
Syria: A Conflict Explored,
The Imperial War Museum

04/2017



This particular interation of Encoded Revolt was performed at the opening of The Imperial War Museum’s Syria: A Conflict Explored series. The piece of music encodes the date, coordinates, belligerent responsible and reported casualty data of an airstrike occuring in Idlib, Syria on the morining of the event.
//
Encoded Revolt consists of an an ongoing series of works, that I first began developing in 2017. These works, performed and exhibited at The Imperial War Museum and The Design Museum, encode the coordinates and surrounding data of airstrikes in the Syrian conflict within music notation; acting as a new form of embedded political activism.

A sense of urgency to protect the digitally stored and often contested data of airstrikes led me to experiment with translating digital languages into analogue forms as a means of preservation. This culminated in the development of a methodology converging the widely used computer code hexadecimal with the musical systems of Serialism. Pioneered by composers Arnold Schoenberg and Oliver Messiaen, Serialism is a compositional movement which uses ordered series of musical elements to systematically produce music that is atonal and unified. To encode the airstrike data I adapted Schoenberg’s 12 tone series and Messiaen’s 24 duration series for the base 16 code hexadecimal. With every hexadecimal digit denoted by both a tone and a duration, with the incorporation of Serialist compositional techniques, digital data could be performed, preserved and progressively ciphered in music.

Cellist: Milan Tarascas