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Beaconsfield: Self-Cancellation - 2 Feb 2008 to 9 Feb 2008

Current Exhibition

2 Feb 2008 to 9 Feb 2008

22 Newport Street
SE11 6AY
United Kingdom
p: 44 (0) 20 7 582 6465
f: 44 (0) 20 7 582 6486

Web Links

Gustav Metzger
Rhodri Davies
London Musicians' Collective
Resonance 104.4 fm
The Arches

Artist Links

Artists in this exhibition: Rhodri Davies, Gustav Metzger, John Butcher, Ben Drew, Robin Hayward, Lee Patterson


Rhodri Davies & Gustav Metzger
John Butcher Ben Drew Robin Hayward Lee Patterson and guests

Commissioned by Arika & the London Musicians’ Collective
and developed with Beaconsfield

Ten experimental sound artists are invited to explore in public the principles of self-cancellation in sound through conferencing, workshops and performance in London and Glasgow.

London: Beaconsfield, 22 Newport Street, London SE11 6AY, Saturday 2 February - Saturday 9 February

2 February – open conference for artists, musicians, academics and enthusiasts
6 February – lecture: Gustav Metzger ­– Art and Compromise
9 February – performances from 8pm.
*please note performance date (previously advertised as 8 Feb)*

Glasgow: The Arches and Glasgow School of Art: Friday 15 - Sunday 17 February as part of INSTAL.

Self-cancellation is a new commission that invites collaboration between some of the UK's leading exponents in their respective fields: experimental harpist Rhodri Davies, veteran subversive artist Gustav Metzger and a host of international experimental musicians. Separate but linked musical events, in London and Glasgow, will examine ideas of self-cancellation in the sonic arts as a means of reflecting on an inherent tendency towards cancellation and self-destruction in the wider social context.

The commission takes off from Metzger's first auto-destructive art manifesto of 1959, in which he suggests a new form of public art for our industrial society – an art centered on the process of destruction. It also develops French philosopher Paul Virilio's concept of the 'inherent accident' embedded within new technology. Responding to these historic ideas, Davies and Metzger have written a new document entitled "Principles of Self-Cancellation in Sound".

These principles will be explored during a week in residence at Beaconsfield, London before being presented in performance in London and Glasgow. Approaches will include the deployment of oscillators and seismographs to translate architectural vibrations into harmonics; compositions evolved from contact between white-hot metal and dry ice and a re-interpretation of Metzger’s seminal work Acid Action Painting (1961) in which acid eats nylon.

Public conferences inviting leading practitioners and academics in both cities will be radio broadcast live and delivered in partnership with Resonance FM and Glasgow School of Art. Performances in Glasgow are in collaboration with The Arches.

This commission has been made possible by an award from the ‘Joint Commissioning Scheme’ initiated by the Scottish Arts Council, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the PRS Foundation, to encourage new musical projects developed in collaboration between partners in Scotland and England.

Gustav Metzger
Born to Polish-Jewish parents in Nuremberg , Germany in 1926 , Metzger witnessed the rise of Nazism before escaping to Great Britain under the auspices of the kindertransport at the age of thirteen. As an artist and political activist he developed the radical concept of auto-destructive art in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Insisting on self-cancellation (forty years ago he demanded people boycott his own creations), he was entirely ignored by the art establishment for four decades. Today, he is widely celebrated as a leading international artist and in the last few years has led selection for East International 2005 and produced one of the major new commissions for sculpture projects muenster 2007.

Rhodri Davies
Rhodri Davies is widely regarded as one of the key improvisers in the UK and Europe. Working in the field of new, experimental and improvised music, he explores noise, live electronics, silence, texture and abstract sound. Alongside his improvisation work he has performed in the US, Japan, Canada and Europe with a wide range of collaborators, including Otomo Yoshihide, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

Based in Glasgow, Arika create and produce underground music and film festivals across the UK. Working with major partners such as The Sage, Gateshead and Dundee Contemporary Arts, they produce high-profile, audience and artist focused experimental events, ‘enabling some of the most exciting creativity this country has seen’ (The Scotsman). INSTAL is one of Europe’s leading experimental music festivals, co-produced by Arika and The Arches.

London Musicians' Collective
LMC is one of the most established experimental arts agencies in the UK and has been active on London's new music scene for over 30 years. Promoting the best in experimental and improvised music concerts, running festivals, tours and workshops, producing special events and publications, in 2002 LMC also founded the internationally acclaimed arts radio station Resonance 104.4fm.

Set up by artists in 1994, Beaconsfield’s reputation is exemplary as an international commissioner of new works in the fields of visual and sonic art. Beaconsfield specialises in commissioning artists at all stages of their careers to pursue projects of ambition and to stretch the boundaries of their experience and discipline. Art and Compromise is a series of lectures for 2008 delivered by Beaconsfield in partnership with City and Guilds of London Art School.

Resonance 104.4 fm
Resonance 104.4 fm is the world’s first radio art station, established by London Musicians’ Collective. It started broadcasting on May 1st 2002. Its brief? To provide a radical alternative to the universal formulae of mainstream broadcasting. Resonance 104.4 fm features programmes made by musicians, artists and critics who represent the diversity of London’s arts scenes, with regular weekly contributions from nearly two hundred musicians, artists, thinkers, critics, activists and instigators.

The Arches
The Arches in Glasgow city centre is one of Europe's leading arts venues. With its pledge to support and showcase emerging talent alongside major artists, the Arches has secured a deserved, international reputation as an exciting hub of ground-breaking creativity, with a year-round programme of live music, club nights, theatre and visual art; winning numerous awards and media accolades along the way.

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