Ma Voix

A short video by Gilles Paté of the exhibition ‘Ma Voix’, at LE SILO U1, Château-Thierry, France from earlier this year.  The exhibition curated Jerome Lefevre featured works by Gary Hill, Jérôme Poret, Giulia Anderani, Damien Deroubaix and myself.

The exhibition featured my video ‘N(I)B’, a recent soundwork ‘Mmmmm’ and two banner works, ‘You can’t hate nature’ and ‘Natures laws are not set by the bounds of human reason’

‘Built on the theme of the voice, the show actually plays on a double meaning. The term is understood as both the voice in the strict sense ( speech, cry, singing) but also by extension as speaking (the assertion or claim of his voice) .

Several works chosen thus refer to the vocal material. This is the case of Gary Hill with a historic work called ‘Mediations (Towards a remake of soundings)’ in which a voice disappears in a given amount of sand gradually over a loudspeaker .

It is also the physical capabilities of voice and sound explored by Jérôme Poret in its approach . In the installation ‘Reload’ Jérôme Poret in which a bass amp becomes a body transcribing the voice of the exhibition itself.

The rooms of Giulia Anderani and Giulia Anderani there already operates a shift in meaning :the sound itself has disappeared, the word and the cry is raised here. In his acrylic on canvas , Giulia Andreani refers to cult scenes of Italian cinema . The sound is quite explicitly suggested in ‘Burzum tree’ Damien Deroubaix, referring in turn to metal music .

The work of Mark Titchner, English artist nominated for the Turner Prize in 2006, plays on the same report. In the video installation N (I) B, the artist collaborated with musician Nicholas Bullen, the viewer sees only the mouth. Here the sound disappeared , whereas in the soundwork ‘Mmmmm’ the body disappears, while the sound is integral with the space.

But my voice shows another aspect of the work of Mark Titchner. Several banners designed by the artist directly refer to quotations from philosophers or phrases from events streamers. It is now defending a position in question through the voice, in this case through Spinoza’s thought. The sound material gives way in the sense of what is said.

The exhibition My Voice meet a proportion of any sound pieces that silent parts. And yet they are quite discreet: a spoken becomes whisper, a sound held in drone that fills the space as much as he is drowning in it … The voice here is to understand that advantage hear. This results in a silent exposure, where the sound is assessed across physical characteristics. Also, very different aesthetics coexist on the basis of additional formal reports.

Jerome Lefevre

Exhibition curator

(This text has been translated from  French using Google)

The original text in French

Construite sur le thème de la voix, l’exposition joue en réalité sur un double sens. Le terme est entendu à la fois comme la voix au sens strict (la parole, le cri, le chant), mais aussi par extension comme prise de parole (l’affirmation ou la revendication de sa voix).

Plusieurs œuvres choisies se réfèrent donc au matériau vocal. C’est le cas de Gary Hill avec une pièce historique intitulée Mediations (towards a remake of soundings) dans laquelle une voix disparaît sous une quantité de sable apportée progressivement sur un haut-parleur.

C’est aussi aux capacités physiques de la voix et du son qu’explore Jérôme Poret dans sa démarche. Dans l’installation Reload de Jérôme Poret dans laquelle un ampli basse devient un corps retranscrivant la voix du lieu d’exposition lui-même.

Dans les pièces de Giulia Anderani et de Damien Deroubaix s’opère déjà un glissement de sens : le son lui-même a disparu, la parole et le cri sont ici évoqués. Dans ses acryliques sur toile, Giulia Andreani se réfère à des scènes cultes du cinéma italien. Le son est suggéré de manière assez explicite dans l’arbre Burzum de Damien Deroubaix, se référant quant à lui à la musique metal.
Le travail de Mark Titchner, artiste anglais nominé pour le Turner Prize en 2006, joue sur le même rapport. Dans l’installation vidéo N(I)B, l’artiste a collaboré avec le musicien Nicholas Bullen, dont le spectateur ne voit que la bouche. Ici le son a disparu, tandis que dans l’œuvre sonore Mmmmmm c’est le corps qui disparaît, alors que le son fait corps avec l’espace.

Mais Ma voix montre un autre aspect du travail de Mark Titchner. Plusieurs bâches conçues par l’artiste font directement référence à des citations de philosophes ou de phrases provenant de banderoles de manifestations. C’est désormais de défendre une position dont il s’agit à travers la voix , en l’occurrence à travers la pensée de Spinoza. Le matériau sonore cède sa place au sens de ce qui est dit.

L’exposition Ma Voix réunira une proportion de pièces sonores moindre que de pièces silencieuses. Et encore se font-elles assez discrètes : un parlé qui devient chuchotement, un son tenu en bourdon qui emplit l’espace autant qu’il se noie dans celui-ci… La voix, ici, est à comprendre d’avantage qu’à entendre. Il en résulte une exposition silencieuse, où le son s’apprécie par delà les spécificités physiques. Aussi, des esthétiques très différentes cohabitent sur la base de rapports formels complémentaires.

Jérôme Lefèvre

Commissaire de l’exposition

‘Mmmmm’…… New on Bandcamp


As part of an occasional series I’ve uploaded a new sound work to Bandcamp.

‘Mmmmm’ was produced for a performance with Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker at Raven Row, London on the 13th December 2014 as part of the ‘Plastic Words‘ exhibition.

It can be streamed or downloaded free here.

happy sad


rose small hi con

As part of the Illuminations Festival, on November 6th at the Roundhouse Studio, LondonGrumbling Fur will performing a long form version, live score for my recent video installation ‘Rose’.

‘Rose’, is an immersive  video work specially commissioned for Dilston Grove. The work combines large format text with fast cut images relating to the four elements; water, fire,air and earth.

Moving through increasingly unsettling hypnotic sections, affirmative texts of the kind encountered in self-improvement manual and corporate speak, creep gradually towards something more sinister. This seemingly affirmative, commonly used language contrasting the imaginary landscape of individual aspiration with our real conditions of flawed existence. The work was influenced by interrogation techniques found in the declassified CIA Kubark manual.

The title ‘Rose’ refers to the symbol of the Rosy Cross. The cross features the letter formula INRI, the letters commonly found above the head of Jesus in depictions of the crucifixion and representing the Latin ‘Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum’ in English, Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews. However in Esoteric traditions the INRI formula has many alchemical interpretations many relating to cleansing or renewal. For instance ‘Igne Natura Renovatur Integra’ (Nature is completely renewed by Fire’) or ‘In Neci Renascor Integer’ (In death one is reborn intact and pure). The formula is also attributed to the Hebrew words Iam, Nur, Ruakh and Ieveshah, which represent the four elements water, fire, air and earth. The soundtrack for the work is an original piece written and performed by Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker, using a 7.1 Surround Sound.

Tickets for this show are priced at £12 and are available from the following links:




It’s been my great pleasure to have recently made a video for the wonderful Grumbling Fur. This is the second video from the excellent ‘Glynnaestra” album out now on Thrill Jockey.  For the full experience be sure to view in HD.

(Protogenesis, Grumbling fur, Video by Mark Titchner, 2013)

The video is part of an ongoing collaboration with Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker that began last year with Alex and I working on our ‘Knots’ piece for the Wysing Arts ‘Space Time’ festival. We are currently working on a installation work for Dilston Grove, London for April next year.

(Here’s what MOJO said about the video for Protogenesis…..

UK underground pair transmit pulsing, psychedelic atmospherics. Heads rejoice!

Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker – aka underground duo Grumbling Fur – have been working together since 2011, steadily weaving together a vast array of influences (Aphex Twin, Vangelis, This Heat, solo McCartney, ice cream vans, kettles boiling), culminating in the release of their excellent new album of mantric avant-pop, Glynnaestra.

Described in MOJO 238 as “pop music as strange liturgy, where ice-cream van carillons and a replicant’s last words are transformed by Tucker and O’ Sullivan’s mournful vocal accord into pagan Depeche Mode pop”, the record will delight psych, electro and prog-heads alike. Settle into their world via the warm, lysergic storm of Protogenesis.

Official Video

Unofficial video by Michael Lewis

inner fur small nu

Grumbling fur – Glynnaestra cover and inner bag. Artwork by Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker, type and layout by Mark Titchner

Charlemagne palestine poster oto

Poster for Charlemagne Palestine Residency at Cafe OTO.  Drawing by Daniel O’Sullivan, background and layout by Mark Titchner


Altars of Madness

Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain
41, rue Notre-Dame
L-2240 Luxembourg

18.5 — 15.9.2013

Entrepôt-galerie du Confort Moderne, Poitiers.

28.9 – 15.12.2013

Artist(s): Matthew Barney, Nicholas Bullen, Larry Carroll, Grégory Cuquel, Damien Deroubaix, Seldon Hunt, Gregory Jacobsen, Theodor Kittelsen, Harmony Korine, Elodie Lesourd, Juan Pablo Macías, Maël Nozahic, Torbjorn Rodland, Steven Shearer, Mark Titchner, Gee Vaucher, Banks Violette

Curator(s): Damien Deroubaix & Jérôme Lefèvre

‘Limb from bloody limb.  We know there is love’, Mark Titchner, 2013.

(Casino Luxembourg. Morning after Exhibition Opening. Photo by Mark Titchner.)

Text by Jérôme Lefèvre

In the late 1990’s, the public of contemporary art got acquainted with new personalities and references from the metal world through the works of emergent artists. While Torbjorn Roland chose to entitle a landscape photograph Buzrum, Mathew Barney was inviting musicians from some well-known metal bands to be featured in his films and Damien Deroubaix together with Banks Violette were making more and more references to the metal scene in their works. Until then, the previously heavy metal waves hadn’t had a real impact on the art scene and were only mentioned in some isolated pieced of work (like in a music video produced by Robert Longo or as references in the work of artists such as Albert Oelhen and Martin Kippenberger for instance). Conversely, extrememetal has become and important source of inspiration in contemporary art.

Extreme metal appeared in the second half of the eighties and is divided in three distinct musical genres: grindcore, death metal and black metal. Each of them has developed overtime its own rules, its own aesthetics and has evolved in a different way. Like any underground culture, extreme metal cannot truly be experienced when you remain a distant observer. As a matter of fact, it seems that most of the artists whose works are marked by extreme metal have been deeply involved in the metal scene since a very young age.

The ideas at the core of the exhibition Altars of Madness is thus to reveal the work of these artists, who have taken part in this underground culture. These artists who are willing to use it to feed their artistic practice, plus the ones offering some relevant testimonies of the metal scene and lastly, the ones who brilliantly contributed to the creation of its iconography.

The exhibition Altars of Madness originates from the C.S (Conservative Shithead) Journal, a monographic publication dedicated to that specific generation of artists.

This exhibition revolves around three main axes: an analysis of the political message that appears through the works, an introspective focus on questions related to the way teenagers deal with the very notion of death, and lastly, a nihilistic interpretation of landscapes.

Altars of Madness aims at investigating the formal embodiments of extreme metal and its influence in the work of contemporary artists.

Mark Titchner_I Want a Better World, I Want a Better Me_DL(2)Mark Titchner_The World Isn't Working & Mark Titchner_I Want a Better World, I Want a Better Me & Damien Deroubaix_Der Schlaf der Vernunft_DL(2)

Installation views with ‘I want a better world, I want a better me’ (2012) and ‘The World isn’t working’ (2008) by  Mark Titchner and “Der schlaf der Vernunft’ (2009) by Damien Deroubaix.

Grindcore was born in the eighties as a radical extension of punk music.Grindcore music originates from the anarchist and anti-consumerist punk movement that emerged in the eighties. Most of the lyrics extracted from grindcore songs deal with political topics and condemn racism, war and hypocrisy (be it social or individual). A large part of grindcore musicians turned to obscenity (using gore, pornography, in their lyrics and so on…) under the influence of American death metal and in conscious attempt to provoke the audience.

As far as musical language is concerned, grindcore presents itself as something deliberately antimusical. The grindcore motto is clear: ‘noise not music’. Its birth followed the ‘bruitist’ experimentations made by Seige, Larm and its style is largely inspired from the musical velocity of bands like Repulsion. The more aggressive and violent is the music, the better for grindcore fans.

On the visual aspect now, grindcore appears as something completely unaesthetic. The use of collage and logo designs is supposed to drawn the attention, to disturb the viewer, in the same manner that the music is meant to be inharmonious and unpleasant to the ear. Grindcore music aims at illustrating and condemning in the same time the world’s abjections.

The first part entitled ‘Lucid Fairytale’ is characterized by a certain sense of radicalism in terms of discourse and aesthetics. Gee Vaucher’s political collages will be displayed in the exhibition to help the viewer to put back the origins of grindcore music into context. A political dimension is clearly discernible in the works of both artists Mark Titchner and Damien Deroubaix. Therefore, even if the references to grindcore are not explicit in Titchner’s work, the musical genre has genuinely pervaded his artistic statement. The spirit of radicalism at work in this part of the exhibtion reminds the one of the Modernist period, namely the common will to fight against conservatism.

Mark Titchner_So Much Noise to Make a Silence (Major) & Damien Deroubaix_World Downfall_DL_4(2)Mark Titchner_So Much Noise to Make a Silence (Major)_DL_2(2)Installation views with ‘So much noise to make a silence (major)’ and ‘So much noise to make a silence (minor)’ (2008) by  Mark Titchner and ‘World Downfall’ (2007) by Damien Deroubaix

Writing is a central element in Mark Titchner’s work. He is well known for the slogans he advertises on the walls of the city where his work is displayed. The messages appear as absurd commands to the viewer who thinks he must have been mistaken at some point. Mark Titchner also produced Kafkaesque sculptures visually alike to high technology machines but without any apparent functions. They have to be understood as some sort of trepalia, as instruments for psychological torture.

Titchner’s work serves as a metaphor of the capitalist system’s and marketing strategies failure, or in a broader sense, as the testimony of the irrationality of human behavior.


Jérôme Lefèvre, Independent Curator and Art Director

nic bullen rehearsalnic bullen rehearsal 2Nic Bullen in rehearsal, cellar space, Casino Luxembourg.

A new issue of CS Journal by Mark Titchner will be published to coincide with the opening of the second part of ‘Altars of Madness’ at Entrepôt-galerie du Confort Moderne, Poitiers in September 2013.  Including original artwork and texts and a conversation between Alan Dubin (OLD, Khanate, Gnaw).

mark tittitchner conservative shithead 1mark tittitchner conservative shithead 5

More noise, more silence, sigils, and word viruses.

Mark Titchner: More noise, more silence, sigils, and word viruses.

An interview with Amelia Ismael which can be found in it’s original form here.


In September of this year I traveled to Wolverhampton, U.K. to present some of my research on Black Metal and contemporary art to the Home of Metal Conference, a three-day long event that brought together Metal academics—yes, there are such things—from across the U.S., South America, Europe, and the Middle East. In addition to the Conference, Capsule also organized an extensive program of events under the Home of Metal title throughout 2011—including film screenings, performances, and gallery exhibitions—to celebrate the Black Country and Birmingham as the birthplace of Metal. One of my favorite art events included was Mark Titchner’s solo exhibition “Be True To Your Oblivion” featured at the New Art Gallery in Warsall.

Mark Titchner is a British artist who is probably best known for his text-based works. Frequently assuming the format of large billboards, these works pull quotes from a wide range of sources—from Black Sabbath to the Black Panthers, and countless smart, consumer-targeted phrases in between—to create inspiration-speak such as “if you can dream it you must do it.” Titchner’s art practice is located somewhere between advertising, social activism, political and cultural criticism, and motivational speaking. He has exhibited in solo exhibitions at locations including Vilma Gold and the Tate Britain in London, the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Peres Projects in Berlin and L.A., the Venice Biennale, and the Arnolfini in Bristol. In 2006, he was a Turner prize nominee.

On September 2, Mark Titchner gave a performance at the New Art Gallery in front of his installation “Be Angry But Don’t Stop Breathing;” the next day he was joined by the artistsNicholas Bullen and Charlie Woolley for a panel discussion at Lighthouse on the University of Wolverhampton’s campus. I was fascinated with Mark’s exhibition, and the discussion that ensued at the Lighthouse shook me out of my jet-lag long enough to attempt hijacking the conversation towards issues of interdisciplinary art practices, Metal as Sound Art, and where subculture ends and “high culture” begins. I met with Mark afterwards to ask if I could follow up with him in the future about his work. The following interview is an extension of this discussion.

Amelia Ishmael: I’d like to start by asking about the way your artwork incites public participation. From the 2006 “Thought is Signal” project in Bristol to the 2011 stage installation “Be Angry But Don’t Stop Breathing” at the New Art Gallery in Walsall, part of your practice involves handing the mic over—sometimes quite literally—to the public. This type of activism seems based on the notion that, as an artist, you have a particular platform to speak to larger groups of people; it draws attention to the artist, and artwork, as a sort of mediator. Can you tell me about this practice? Do you have an aim in mind with who the public is speaking to… is it a political entity? Or does the work exist as a broader exercise in clearing the throat, reacting to one’s world, and speaking out?

Mark Titchner: There are a number of intentions with these “interactive” works.  The first is a very simple idea about the functional potential of sculpture, that it becomes a device rather than an object. When I started to think about this concern a number of years ago, I suppose that I was thinking about creating the notion within the viewer that the work would always remain lacking or incomplete without their participation. This is obviously the case with any work of art, but I wanted to play with this idea by trying to replace some type of mental process with a “use” one. It was also very simply about the viewer taking some form of responsibility. Secondly, these works are about the way that we occupy public spaces, how we behave in them, and what a public space actually is. Artists do have a particular platform, but this is complicated in a gallery/museum situation as we have a space with a very clear hierarchy, and we learn to behave a certain way in these spaces. Though I think that this is a situation that is changing, given the emphasis on education, particularly for the young.

I think that the territory of the artist as mediator is a tricky one, because I always feel that it is slightly easy to walk away from a situation. One important aspect for these works is that they introduce an element of chance to a static work, what I wish I had the ability to do with the Walsall work was to record all the audio produced by the participants. Apparently beat-boxing was very popular! Actually that is one thing about the failure of these works: that in an ideal world you might think that you are setting up an open political platform, notionally, but it gets used to make fart noises or the like. Its very openness is a problem, and I think that is my failure as an artist, because I have some experience of the reality of showing these works.

'BE ANGRY BUT DON'T STOP BREATHING' (detail), Acylic on canvas, 2011

‘BE ANGRY BUT DON’T STOP BREATHING’ (detail), Acylic on canvas, 2011

AI: “Be Angry But Don’t Stop Breathing” is an incitement to the public, but I’ve read that this is also a phrase gleaned from a poster for Dusan Makavejev’s 1971 film on Wilhelm Reich,“Mysteries of the Organism.” Gleaned from political, philosophical, and psychological works and song lyrics, language and text is a prominent aspect of your work. What draws you to these statements and how are you reappropriating them in your work?

MT: Yes that is correct, the text “Be Angry But Don’t Stop Breathing” was borrowed from a film poster. I was very interested in the work of Wilhelm Reich when I made the first variation of this work in 2003, and at that time I was very much concerned with the appropriation of text. I only started using my own texts relatively recently. My interest initially was how, by separating the voice of the author from the text, one changed its interpretation. That is, one removes the hierarchy of authorship that tells us that we should interpret a philosopher’s words differently from a pop lyric, even if the actual text is quite similar. I would look for texts with a certain kind of philosophical bent but that used very simple and direct language. You could say it was a process of creating an equivalence, and this was echoed in a coherent graphic style that I developed amongst those works. It’s actually a little sad because in a way, these are my most popular works. People say to me: “Oh, I really like that text, it inspired me to…”, when actually the whole project had to do with the lack of meaning, about reflecting on a situation where the array of possibilities replaces a depth of engagement. I was reflecting on my own lack of belief—be it moral, spiritual, or political. I suppose that is something that most people can relate to.


AI: You might know already, that my interest in your artistic references perks when you are referencing Metal and, specifically, Black Metal lyrics and modes. During the Home of Metalconference you mentioned that your poster “Be True to Your Oblivion,” installed at the New Art Gallery Walsall, was directly inspired by a quote in Scott Wilson’s article in the Black Metal Theory Symposium’s first publication Hideous Gnosis. And the fanzine that accompanied your exhibition here drew upon not only d.i.y. culture, but also integrated parts of Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s “Transcendental Black Metal” manifesto, also from Hideous Gnosis. Can you tell me more about how you are using these references and your relationship with Black Metal?

MT: Well spotted on both counts. Scott Wilson was quoting “The Baphomet” by Pierre Klossowski, where the line is “be faithful to your oblivion.” I made a minimal adjustment by exchanging the word “faithful” to “true.” The change to the idea of “Truth” was a nod back to Heavy Metal and the idea of “True Metal”—and by extension “True Norwegian Black Metal,” etc. The phrase contains those two poles of faith/nihilism, dedication and destruction; a contradictory pairing but an extremely productive space.

I’m very much interested in the idea of the manifesto or the exegesis, the moment of lucid understanding, and the inherent problems of how one can give concrete form to this kind of transcendent rapture. This is why I tend to use imperative language in my works; I want to make it clear that what is being communicated is vital and truthful. This is in fact a tactic that is designed to draw attention to the way that a certain type of language is used in certain situations. In that sense, I am more interested in the delivery of text/language than in what is actually being said. My interest is really in power relations and manipulation.

Black Metal theory is interesting because it throws up all kinds of debates about identity and the transcendental. I also enjoy the slightly absurd notion of this debate spiraling out of a derided subgenre of a derided genre.

As for my relationship with Black Metal, it is purely as a type of music that I have listened to and enjoyed—in the same way as I listen to Hip Hop or electronic music.  I’m certainly not a purest, though right now I favour a return to a more misanthropic, caustic form of BM rather than the pastoral—which is gaining increasing attention.



AI: Another reference to Black Metal—here its logos specifically—is found in the installation “Breezeblock,” which is covered with illegible mirrored signs that appear to be obfuscated words visually carved into “bricks,” crossed out, and creating a visual density where language is an uncodable symbol. How do these words relate to your interest in sigils?

MT: That work really wasn’t planned to turn out quite as it did! I had to write a funding application for that piece and wrote a very clear description of the final work.  When I got around to actually producing it I found very little interest in making a work which felt like it had already been completed. What actually happened with “Breezeblock” is that I wrote out around 3,000 neologisms that related to sound. These were—virtually—carved into brick, then mirrored to make them illegible and crossed out.  It was quite an exercise to come up with the initial neologisms, so there was definitely something nihilistic about making them illegible. I should also add that the mirroring of the words did give them the look of the BM logo, but also the graffiti tag.  I’m very much interested in what happens when language is used in a way that you wouldn’t normally expect—be it reducing the spoken word to a grunt, or the written word made illegible.

When I was younger I was very interested in William Burroughs’s idea of the “Word Virus” and the relationship of language to control. This is an extension of the idea of the language as being the constituent component of the human universe. Therefore, it is important to treat language like matter in that it can be of different densities or offer different reactions. The sigil is an attempt to explore the linguistic connection to the subconscious and the conscious mind, and to break the causal bonds. In this situation language/reality becomes a malleable substance that can be manipulated, rather than one that we react to entirely passively. This might all sound slightly ridiculous… but I think that it is entirely healthy to have a somewhat absurdist attitude to something so monolithic as language.

'RIOT' Charred wood and aluminium 2011

‘RIOT’ Charred wood and aluminium 2011

AI: In the Walsall exhibition, your use of text in “Be True to Your Oblivion,” is a clear and consciously accessible rendering of text which is working in a mode similar to a public announcement or advertisement. Yet, you also explore words in more subliminal modes—such as in “Ergo Ergot”—and even magical modes—in the carved panels “Love” Aids” Riot” Hope,” where the overlapping letters of each word creates a sigil. What necessitates these multiple approaches? Do you consider these works to posses a particular duration, as the viewer must spend time to reflect on and untangle the words?

MT: These approaches are a little like different tones of voice, which in the end have the same effect.  For instance you might do what you are told because someone shouts at you, or maybe because you are seduced by a gentle whisper in the ear. I’m just trying to find a visual equivalent. Also, I think it would be a little dull if all the works had the same kind of tone or pitch. Duration is very interesting to me. My work is very much influenced by advertising that employs both the need to immediately communicate a message and the slow construction of something like a brand identity.  My initial use of text was influenced by trying to quickly communicate with an audience that might only spend a few seconds looking at a work and then move on.

AI: Is your interpretation of words into sigils a means to turn them into a sort of energy accumulator?

MT: Words are already energy accumulations; the point with sigils is to try and actively use that energy to a specific end. That probably sounds dreadful, so I should probably point out that I am more influenced by the Self Help/Self Improvement movement than by any kind of New Age beliefs.

AI: Can you tell me about your use of everyday materials and your interest in magic?

MT: I started off using materials that I found in waste bins or skips and, at best, materials that could be found in a general hardware store. Practical and functional materials that we find all around us in the city: concrete, steel, wood. I think that it is important to work with these materials that are readily available, and also already deeply enmeshed in contemporary life. I suppose there is a very basic idea of the alchemical here, of making the base transcend.

Transformation is my interest in magic, and I would definitely say that my interest is in transformation, not magic. What I was saying earlier about language seems very magical in a sense in that it is about trying to alter reality in some way.



AI: You have also turned your name into a sigil in the carving “The New MT,” stained with your own blood.

MT: That’s correct. That work was made with the idea of creating a signature or monogram that announced my intention to engage with a more willful practice as an artist. There is a history within art of the artist announcing a kind of “year zero” for themselves—John Baldessari’s public destruction of his works in 1970 would be a good example. The work is also a self-portrait, or at least references that genre, so the inclusion of my blood was playing with this, as the work has been marked with and carries my genetic data.  From a magical perspective the work could be seen as having been “charged” with my blood.

AI: In preparing for this interview with you, I kept coming back to this concept “so much noise to make a silence,” which you return to throughout your work. It is impossible to ignore your references to sound, even when there is no direct sonic aspect. In “Breezeblock” you’ve built a wall of text that is impenetrable; in “If You Can Dream It You Must Do It” the sculptural outlines of the text seem to reverberate; and in “N(I)B” the absence of sound in Nicholas Bullen’s “mouthing” of censored words is deafening. Can you tell me about your interest in the concept of “so much noise to make a silence”?

MT: This all really stems from an interest in the distance between potential and realization, whether in an object or in an individual. Quite often in the works there is something missing, a lack. That might be the viewer’s voice in “Be Angry But Don’t Stop Breathing,” or the missing sound from a set of giant wind chimes, or from Nic’s vocal performance. These objects are all defined by what is missing from them, and engender a sense of frustration. To me this relates strongly to the constant state of desire that is incubated in order for capitalism to work, and it also relates to a contemporary alienation from politics, spirituality, etc. Maybe it’s just because, in a way, I would rather be a musician than an artist, and I’m just trying to vent my frustration! “So much noise to make a silence” does seem to sum a lot of contemporary life up to me; an infinite array of information and objects but to achieve what end? It’s actually a line I borrowed from a Crass song.

AI: Thank you Mark!