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Ben Gwilliam with Rob Gawthrop

OXIDE (II)+(III) Ben Gwilliam

FREE 26th October 2011, 7pm
no.w.here, 26th October 2011, 7pm

Sound and Music in collaboration with no.w.here present: OXIDE (II)+(III). A new film work by artist in residence Ben Gwilliam with two film & video works by Rob Gawthrop plus a collaborative performance. Followed by in conversation.

Link to Embedded Residency

Introduction by Becca Laurence and no.w.here

Two short films by Rob Gawthrop
FILM NOISE 2006 b&w mono, 3 mins. (16mm to DVD)
Made by hand in the darkroom without a camera. Raw negative film was successively given longitudinal scratches over the picture and sound areas, contact printed, processed and repeated over ten times. Various tones and noises are produced through the optical sound system which coincide with the visual scratch.

REMOTE 2009 col, stereo 3 mins. (16mm & digital audio to DVD)
Dis/locating what is seen and what is heard. The picture originates from filming, with outdated 16mm stock, the sea and sky from three locations on Spurn, East Yorkshire. It was shot during cloudy conditions at different times during daylight hours with continually varying exposure values and layers of superimpositions. The sound was recorded at the same location, close to the the sea, using a table-top guitar played by the wind, amplified through a distortion pedal to two distant battery powered speakers. The projected film was recorded with a camera onto mini DV, transferred and combined digitally with the audio having been EQed and compressed.

Performance: RGBG – Iron (X) Oxide (5-8 mins)
Improvisation with percussion, surfaces and electromagnetic sources in response to the above films.


OXIDE (II)+(III),ca 25 mins
Oxide (ii)+(iii) is a multiscreen, multiprojector performance & installation work using 16mm & super 8 film and magnetic sound.

For this work Ben has made sound by staining rust on the total film area prior and post film processing. Here, short lengths of unexposed film are laced with magnetically charged iron filings and sprayed with salt-water. What results is visual staining and magnetic charging on both sides of the film surface. Furthering the initial experiment, expired film is used to encourage different results in the unstable state of the film emulsion and other found results.

By considering the total image area as potential sound carrier, the films are subjected to contact copy and print many times over to build the image area and subsequent sound into a multi-layered piece where the relation of sound and image are at first borne of the same process, but eventually they dislocate in the process of re-production. Sound grows in and out, image fades independently. The (rendered) sound is recorded to tape.

It is in the moment of performance where the movement of film and sound can marry: the musicality of both is beyond the physicality of the medium and intent in the moment of experience, perhaps reliant on an improvisational response. Perhaps here listening imbues visuality and vice versa, the work itself is as variable as the moment.

In conversation (ca 30-40 mins)
Rob Gawthrop in conversation with Ben Gwilliam about the making of the piece oxide (ii)+(iii) summarizing the process to reception, questioning current themes such as image & sound, noise & musicality. Finishes with a discussion.


Ben Gwilliam is an artist who works with sound & music in the cross areas of film, installation & performance. He describes his practice as drawing attention to sound and the contexts of listening & looking, revealing visual and musical processes.

It is from this curiosity about sound-making/recording/finding and how abstract/descriptive that sounds can be, that he makes parallels and similarities unpicking the relationship between uncovered sounds and moments of primary experience.

His work has been performed and exhibited Internationally over the last 10 years, collaborating with musicians such as Claus van Bebber, Espen Jensen, Helmut Lemke, Lee Patterson, Jez Riley French, Rhodri Davies, Matt Davis, Hainer Woermann, Chris Heenan, Michael Vorfeld, and Sascha Demand, Jason Zeh, Stephen Cornford, Matt Wand amongst others. Since 2004 he has curated several experimental music and sound exhibitions including ‘re:sound’ 2005, UK, ‘Sculpting with Air’ Liverpool Biennial 2006 (co-curated with Lee Patterson), ‘then the silence increased’ (2007) with Helmut Lemke. He has undertaken residencies at La casa encendida Madrid, Hull Time Based Arts, Extrapool (NL), Artists Unlimited (DE), and the University of Salford. He has released sound work on several labels and imprints covering eletrcified lightbulbs+magenetics and a clear sheet of ice as a vinyl record.


Rob Gawthrop is an artist and musician. He leads the Fine Art Contemporary Practice MA at University College Falmouth and previously was Director of Art at Dartington College of Arts. Prior to this he was Co-Director of Hull Art Lab (2004-2007) and Head of Art, Hull School of Art, (up until 2004) and was a founder of Hull Time Based Arts.

His recent practice is concerned with the physicality of sound and its visual/aural perception and includes film, sound, video, noise, performance and improvisation. He co-ordinates the monthly School of Noises at the Jacob’s Ladder Inn in Falmouth. He worked with Bob Levene as Automated Noise Ensemble since 2000. 16mm films made before 1995 are mainly distributed by Lux and The Miller & the Sweep (with Joanna Millett) was included in the Tate Britain exhibition A Century of Artists Film & Video. His publications include Thunder & Lightning to be published in Reverberations The Philosophy, Aesthetics and Politics of Noise (Aug 2012) Goddard, M. Hegarty, P. & Halligan, B. (Eds.) London: Continuum; Film Noise Aesthetics in Hatfield, J. ed. (2006) Experimental Film & Video Anthology Luton: John Libbey; and Photo-Text (with Joanna Millett) in Danino, N and Maziére, M Eds. (2003); The Undercut Reader London: Wallflower Press; and ONE for Diffusion (2000) Lane, G. & Williams, C. London: Proboscis.


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