BRENT BIENNIAL: PAUL PURGAS

Image courtesy of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India.

We Found Our Own Reality is an exhibition by artist Paul Purgas bringing together architecture, furniture, textiles and sound to explore India’s first electronic music studio, founded in 1969 at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, India. The project explores the technological and experimental ambition of the studio across its four year lifespan at a moment of unprecedented national transformation and cultural exchange between Western and Indian Modernist ideologies.

A central part of the exhibition is a new soundwork, developed from a collection of unheard recordings by Indian composers. These tape experiments and compositions were created in the electronic music studio between 1969-1972, and initiated by New York composer David Tudor, who visited and personally installed and configured the studios core components - including a customised MOOG modular synthesiser and a series of analogue tape machines.

The recordings have been transposed by Purgas to form the basis of a multi-channel composition that interweaves broader aspects of the archive, including spoken word, tape collages, field recordings, sound effects and film soundtracks.

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Paul Purgas lives and works in London.

Paul Purgas is an artist and musician working with sound, performance and installation. Originally trained as an architect he has presented projects with Serpentine, Tate, Kettle’s Yard and Spike Island. His written output includes essays for the Unsound:Undead collection published by Urbanomic/MIT Press and contributions to the critical journal Audimat.

Recent curatorial work has been the Open Sound programme for Outpost and guest curating Wysing Arts Centre’s annual festival. In addition he is one half of the electronic music project Emptyset working with electroacoustic and computer music, broadcasting and spatialised sound, presenting commissions with the Architecture Foundation, David Roberts Art Foundation and Tate Britain’s Performing Architecture programme. He is currently based at Somerset House Studios in London. Recent exhibitions and performances include Transmediale, Berlin (2020), Spike Island, Bristol (2019), Cork Street, London (2018), South London Gallery, London (2018), Art Night London (2017), and Serpentine Gallery, London (2016).

Listen to Purgas on BBC Radio 3 here, where he presented a programme entitled Electronic Indian that introduces and expands on his research.

We Found Our Own Reality is co-commissioned with Camden Art Centre with the support of the Elephant Trust. A limited-edition recording of the soundwork will be launched to coincide with the exhibition. It will be published and distributed by Moog.


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EVENTS

SCREENING: ZIGZAG AFTERLIVES: FILM EXPERIMENTS FROM THE 1960S AND 1970S IN INDIA

Cultural theorist and curator Nancy Adajania will present a screening programme of experimental films made in India in the 1960s and 1970s.

Find out more