ARTicle, Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BX
13 February – 2 March 2012
and online at The Unstitute
5 February – 5 May 2012
The Eternal Drone is the infinitely slow sound of the universe, born in the Big Bang with space and time, which it binds together. The Eternal Drone is the ground from which all other sound arises. Receivers gather together to experience it and take collective action, creating new rituals, drumming and chanting, getting into a trance state so they can open the Third Ear and be ready to receive.
‘Pump the right frequencies into the streets and the youth will act like vultures, pure lizard brain greed. 50 cycles per second, two scans per cycle, prime the pumps.’
– Journal entry six months ago
Quatermass failed to register his research with the authorities. The machine is just beyond current knowledge, equations flash into his mind, without him having to understand them. His thoughts are forbidden, but he has them nonetheless. The Ministry demands his presence.
‘Silence. Even a vacuum may contain vibrations. Space itself is the dark matter we seek. All of time is compressed into a single vibrating filament, a new form religion emerging from alphawaves.’
– Journal entry three months ago
Outside, the air is punctured by sirens as the ‘Receivers’ amass in public spaces to celebrate the eternal drone. The British Sonic Research Unit is investigating – they suspect the drone is assimilable to thought. Quatermass has disappeared. No one knows what has become of him.
‘True violence is not cinematic, nor spectacular. The true function of government is to make you believe you enjoy their disruptive signals: Maximum force at minimum expense. Questions containing “why” are increasingly less permissible. In the north, it is snowing.’
– Journal entry last month
The Cult of Quatermass was a sculptural installation of a laboratory control room containing video works, an audio work and machines for producing sounds that could be mixed, live, by the audience. Individual panels in the control room were based on control panels from science fiction movies, such as Solaris, Star Wars, and Dark Star.
The narrative that ran through the audio and video works revolved around the characters of Professor Quatermass, of the British Sonic Research Unit, a drone band called Samekhmem, a cult of people called ‘Receivers’ and the ‘sacred eternal drone’ that was the obsession of Samekhmem, Receivers and Quatermass alike.
At 2100, during the opening of the show, AAS moved to positions within the audience, with a step ladder, and began an 18 minute audio performance using parts of the installation as sound sources. Some of the equipment was played to destruction and there was a distinctive smell of burning components in the air.
We were invited to take part in the Flux Factory event Congress of Collectives in New York, which included a lot of the collectives we had already worked with or met at The Tent Show
Congress of Collectives is designed to unite collectives, individuals who choose to work collaboratively, and audience members. The three week-long series of events will examine the many forms of collaboration, participation, and self-organization and will provide a platform to generate new works, discussions, and enduring relationships. Congress of Collectives will include formal programming such as panels, talks, screenings, and performances, and informal programing, including dinners, impromptu discussions and actions.
The Congress was a forum for addressing key concepts, frameworks, and problems of working collectively; for sharing strategies; and for creating new platforms for future projects. Perhaps most importantly, The Congress was intended to promote enduring relationships between participants, and lead to an international exchange program between collectives.
This project was shaped during planning dinner discussions, in which over fifteen other local and international collectives participated. The Congress was developed collaboratively by artists, city planners, architects, arts administrators, film makers, and activists representing collectives from the US, Europe, and the Middle East.
Congress of the Collectives events took the forms of artistic production, workshops, panel discussions, film screenings, interventions, performances, and parties—all of which were open to the public.