I was recently invited to create a sound installation, Standard Documents, in an exhibition organised by David Musgrave to mark the launch of his novel, Lambda. The book’s narrative takes place in a consumer-surveillance dystopia, and a significant part of the text is the product of an online service that writes the protagonist’s story for her automatically from her accumulated data. 

The book, which I’m currently reading, is described as ‘a heart-breaking and unforgettable novel that challenges our notion of normality and celebrates the salvific power of solidarity and vulnerability.’

Book cover of Lambda by David Musgrave. Almost no colour on the image with just a small object on an anonymous background, shaped like an alien fish

The accompanying exhibition, ‘i <3 your output,‘ took place at the Greengrassi Gallery in London, in a group show of invited artists. Other great friends such as David Toop and Lawrence English also took part in the show. 

The show explored the aesthetics of non-performance, object-made music, online self-surveillance, and the fragile utopia embodied by the music platform SoundCloud. A unifying point of reference is the seemingly utopian space provided by a this platform; its apparent non-hierarchical openness to all producers of audio material, while also being deeply embedded in the structures of surveillance capitalism. 

Gallery space in London with the words STANDARD DOCUMENTS across the middle of the image. The gallery is a small white space, wooden floor with boxes of filing papers around, with speakers sitting on top of them

I presented ‘Standard Documents,’ which was a sound installation reworking my earlier suite of works focusing on surveillance, using the indiscrete signals pulled down from the ether, including private mobile phone conversations. It combines early recordings of mine, with parts taken from Scanner 1, Scanner 2, Mass Observation, mixed with new sounds. 

Here’s a short documentation of the installation, to give you an idea of what you might have experienced in the location.

As the request of those who could not make it to the gallery itself, I mixed down the work into stereo, since in the gallery itself was distributed through multiple speakers in the space itself. You can now pick this up at Bandcamp. The album is also accompanied by a short film.

 i<3 your output 
Greengrassi Gallery 
03 March – 14 April 2022