Owl Project – Rock Music

27th February 2016

Manchester Museum, UK

‘Rock Music’ by Owl Project is a performance building on the collectives previous experiments with prehistoric technology. Owl Project are interested in how rhythms are the creators of forms and also one of the foundations of music. They have explored making electronic music from early industrialized processes, including a traditional “Pole Lathe” and a “Jacquard Loom”.

In ‘Rock Music’, Owl Project turned 5,000 years back in time to reclaim one of the oldest known creative processes: flint knapping. Making sharp tools from stone such as flint, or ‘knapping’ is acknowledged as one of the earliest human processes. Working with primitive technologist Karl Lee and experimental archeologists, the artists developed a set of augmented tools, new sensor and audio technology, which they used to detect movement and sounds from the processes of flint knapping. Combining ancient and modern technology, Owl Project were interested in how these rhythms created forms and became the foundation of the music.

During the performance, a flint knapper made a hand axe and this process was transformed into live music. The piece brought together an experimental archaeologist and electronic sounds with an attempt to couple the primal act of chipping rock from rock with the considered precision of synthesised music.

This project was part of ‘Invisible Dust in Museums’
Invisible Dust worked with three Museum’s nationally: Manchester Museum (North West), Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland (North East) and the National Maritime Museum (London). It is supported by Arts Council England. In 2014/15 we worked closely with our partners to support the creation of extraordinary artworks by artists connected to these Museums in addition to Laura Harrington this includes artists Elizabeth Price, Owl Project and Phil Coy.

Image: © Owl Project recording the sound of Karl Lee Flint Knapping, November 2015.


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