XFRMR / Mess — Live

Robbie Thomson


A double bill of light and sound connected by the primal phenomenon of electricity.

In 1891 the genius inventor Nikola Tesla tamed lightning with his Tesla coil, a device that renders electricity visible. Now Glasgow-based artist Robbie Thomson has harnessed the sonic capabilities of the Tesla coil in a work as arresting as the scent of burning ozone and as lively as electricity itself. By synthesising the ever-changing sonic geometries of the apparatus to produce distorted tones and percussive stabs, Thomson offers a glimpse into the subatomic relationships that govern the universe.

Meanwhile the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (M.E.S.S) will open a wormhole into the history of electronic music, with an astonishing array of synthesisers from the last half century to massage, manipulate and mangle. Conjuring the spectres of sounds lost to time while pointing in new directions music may yet still travel, this concert has been set to stun.

About the artists

ROBBIE THOMSON is a Glasgow based artist and theatre maker who works with kinetic sculpture, music, lighting design and technology. XFRMR has developed from THOMSON’s show ECSTATIC ARC which was presented at the Edinburgh Festival at Summerhall in 2013. His work has been shown at venues including the Fort du Bruissin Centre d’art Contemporain, (France), ICA, Festival De Keuze (Netherlands), Barbican, Kings Place, CCA, Shunt, Fusion Festival, Govanhill Baths, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, The Arches, Transmission Gallery and The Woodmill. THOMSON is a member of 85A; a collective that started in 2008 and has produced over 15 large-scale performance, visual art and film works to date. In 2011 he was involved in setting up the Glue Factory, an independent arts venue in Glasgow and since 2013 has been a Cryptic Associate.

SONICA is a year-round programme of events dedicated to world-class sonic arts, punctuated by a biennial festival in Glasgow. Produced by CRYPTIC, SONICA presents emerging British talent alongside exceptional international artists in collaboration with renowned co-producers and venues. SONICA was launched in Glasgow in November 2012 at Tramway and has toured to Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Sweden and across the UK.

ROBIN FOX (M.E.S.S.) is a leading Australian audio-visual artist working across live performance, exhibitions, public art projects and designs for contemporary dance. His laser works, which synchronize sound and visual electricity in hyper-amplified 3D space, have been performed in well over 50 cities worldwide. The new manifestation of this work RGB LASER SHOW premiered at Mona Foma 2014 (Hobart) and recently featured at Tramway (Glasgow), Vivid Festival (Sydney), the Barbican (London) and St Merri cathedral Paris. His recent collaboration with Atom tm Double Vision took the electronic music festival circuit by storm in 2015 with outings at Mutek (Montreal), Sonar (Barcelona, Santiago, Buenos Aries), Luminato (Toronto) , Outline (Moscow), Ultima (Oslo), Unsound Krakow among others. His score for choreographer STEPHANIE LAKE’S Double Blind recently featured at Sydney Festival.

BYRON SCULLIN (M.E.S.S.) The work of Melbourne practitioner BYRON SCULLIN explores the technological representation and amplification of sound as well as its properties as a physical presence. Operating in an ambiguous space where sound transitions into noise, SCULLIN’S sonic environments offer an experience of mass and multiplicity, often representing attempts to hear the unhearable.

In his twenty year career he has contributed sound to feature films such as Wolf Creek, contemporary dance productions by LUCY GUERIN, GIDEON OBARZANEK, and LEE SERLE, and theatre works by DAVID CHISOLM, CHAMBER MADE OPERA, and ARENA THEATRE CO. He has created installations for museums and galleries - including Creation Cinema as part of First Peoples at the Melbourne Museum - and produced, engineered and mastered numerous Australian and international recordings. He also works as a sound educator at RMIT and Melbourne University.

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