We Found Our Own Reality is an exhibition and events programme by artist Paul Purgas bringing together architecture, furniture, textiles and sound to explore India’s first electronic music studio, founded in 1969 at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, India. The project explores the technological and experimental ambition of the studio across its four-year lifespan at a moment of unprecedented national transformation and cultural exchange between Western and Indian Modernist ideologies.
A central part of the exhibition will be a new soundwork, developed from a collection of unheard recordings by Indian composers. These tape experiments and compositions were created in the electronic music studio between 1969-1972, and initiated by New York composer David Tudor, who visited and personally installed and configured the studios core components – including a customised MOOG modular synthesiser and a series of analogue tape machines. Purgas discovered the recordings within the NID archive after a period of detailed research that subsequently involved the careful restoration and digitisation of the material. The recordings have been transposed by Purgas to form the basis of a new composition that interweaves broader aspects of the archive, including spoken word, tape collages, field recordings, sound effects and film soundtracks.
Listen to Purgas on BBC Radio 3 where he presented a programme entitled Electronic Indian that introduces and expands on his research. Bellow you can also find his conversation with Public Programme curator Matt Williams for Montez Press Radio entitled Indian Modernism: Design & Electronic Sound.
Paul Purgas is a London based artist and musician working with sound, performance and installation. Originally trained as an architect he has presented projects with Serpentine, Tate, Kettle’s Yard and Spike Island. His written output includes essays for the Unsound:Undead collection published by Urbanomic/MIT Press and contributions to the critical journal Audimat. Recent curatorial work has been the Open Sound programme for Outpost and guest curating Wysing Arts Centre’s annual festival. He is one half of the electronic music project Emptyset working with electroacoustic and computer music, broadcasting and spatialised sound, presenting commissions with the Architecture Foundation, David Roberts Art Foundation and Tate Britain’s Performing Architecture programme and recent performances including Sonic Acts and Berghain for Transmediale 2020.
We Found Our Own Reality is a co-production with Brent 2020 with the support of the Elephant Trust.
Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture
Brent is The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture for 2020. The programme explores the stories, art and emotions that hold life in Brent together, uncovering and celebrating the borough’s untold tales and unheard voices. Brent is the home of Zadie Smith, reggae, English football and its captains. We have London’s oldest road, the biggest Hindu Temple outside India, Kiln Theatre and Mahogany Carnival Design. They are where city becomes Metroland; where roads, waterways and railways cross; where outsiders fight for their place. They are Jayaben Desai, George Michael, Cyrille Regis, Keith Moon, Rachel Yankey, Janet Kay, Twiggy, Bob Marley and Trojan Records. It is from this alchemy that the year of culture comes.