[Dec 14] Successive Actions by Simon Whetham

Harvestworks is pleased to partner with Experimental Intermedia to present composer Simon Whetham (Bristol, England)  who explores the energy and effects of sound, from resonance and psychoacoustic effects to the transduction of sound as movement and light. Recent projects find him repurposing obsolete consumer technology in kinetic audio-visual performances and installations       www.simonwhetham.co.uk

A Kinetic audio-visual performance with salvaged consumer technology.

Location: 596 Broadway Suite 602 New York NY 10012. 212-431-1130

Open to the public Thursday December 14, 2023 @ 7 pm

Running time: 26 minutes

Also available online: STREAM HERE

Successive Actions is part of a larger kinetic sound performance project “Channelling”, in which a collection of motor devices salvaged from obsolete and discarded consumer technology is activated by environmental sound recordings. In turn, this produces new sounds from the devices, which are amplified using various microphones and techniques.

The original recordings feature sound phenomena that occur unpredictably and irregularly in everyday life – passing traffic, wind, doors closing – and because of this, the movement of the devices is random, variable, and autonomous. Successive Actions reuses recordings of devices from previous iterations of the project, recycling the sounds within the project, which are increasingly erratic and unpredictable. Through this the relationship between performer and devices is a collaboration rather than a master and servant type situation.

The project continues to change and adapt as it develops, and the performance and method of presentation evolve and is refined with each iteration. Devices are added to the collection or retired, and the sounds change according to the location, causing new triggers and movement of the devices.


Since 2005 Simon Whetham has developed a practice of working with sonic activity as a material for creation. He often works with environmental sound, employing a variety of methods and techniques in order to obtain often unnoticed and obscured sonic phenomena. He also explores ways of creating physical traces of sound and transforming energy forms. Long term projects in Asia and Latin America have heavily influenced his working methods and ideology.

Whetham performs and exhibits internationally, participating in Sonica Festival, 28.MFRU, phonon~festival, Fresh Winds Biennale, Nakanojo Biennale, ACC Showcase, Tsonami Festival, Madeiradig and Moers Festival; has a large number of works published through specialist record labels including Mappa (SK), Crónica (PT) and Line (USA) and regularly collaborates with other sound artists and musicians, dancers, musicians, performers, painters and video artists.

He has received a number of commissions and awards. In 2020 he received an Arts Council England grant to develop studio works, in 2017 the British Council supported his participation in the Tsonami Festival in Chile, and he received the Grant for the Arts from the Arts Council England to attend the Mamori Sound Project in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, 2007 and to curate and organise the cultural exchange project ‘Active Crossover’ that has run since 2009.

“Whetham pipes found sounds and field recordings through an orchestra of motors salvaged from discarded electronic devices. The result is unexpectedly musical and immersive, helped by a live video feed that makes the audience feel like a part of Whetham’s miniature machine world.”
Antonio Poscic, The Wire Magazine, June 202

“Using a variety of motor-powered devices Whetham manages to wring obscure and transcendent sound out of the mundane”
Cube Microplex, Bristol, July 2023

“There’s often an eavesdropping sensation at play in this scattered anti-music – intercepting distant frequencies, patching into intrepid robot cleaners as they make their rounds, floods rising in basements, small shelf trays of nuts, bolts and screws shaken by tremors. Forced to Repeat Myself sputters, sizzles and squelches appreciably, inconsistently sketched one moment and unspeakably immense the next.“
Raymond Cummings, The Wire magazine, January 2021





Ongoing collaborations with Tarab (Eamon Sprod), Gregory Büttner and Park Jin Young. Past collaborators include Scanner, Derek Piotr, Iris Garrelfs, John Grzinich, Ryu Hankil, Xenia Pestova, Alan Courtis, Kate Carr, Christine Schörkhuber and Slavek Kwi.




https://dorftv.at/video/40868 (Oct 2022)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wtyjovEwRU (Nov 2023)

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