Saturday 1 April 2017, 7.30pm

LUX and Cafe OTO present: Luke Fowler & Richard McMaster - ‘The Mechanics of Dissonance’ + Mark Fell - ‘Volcano’

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LUX and Cafe OTO present a special screening and UK debut of ‘The Mechanics of Dissonance‘ – the new film by artists Luke Fowler and Richard McMaster which recently premiered at Mark Fell's Geometry of Now festival in Moscow. Mark Fell will also provide quadrophonic sound accompaniment for a London debut screening of Peter Gidal's film, ‘Volcano‘.

‘The Mechanics of Dissonance’

The Mechanics of Dissonance (2017)
Medium: Two standard 16mm projectors on one screen with quadraphonic soundtrack (36mins)
By Luke Fowler and Richard McMaster
Commissioned by V_A_C Foundation for The Geometry Of Now festival (curated by Mark Fell)
Premier: Moscow February 2017.

The Mechanics of Dissonance is the first film collaboration by the duo Luke Fowler and Richard McMaster. A double projection with multi-channel sound, the work centers around a new composition for the Russian ANS synthesiser. Designed between 1937 and 1957 the ANS is one of the most mythical analogue electronic instruments of the 20th Century. The film was recorded on location at the Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow, where the final surviving example is housed.

Drawing on Histologist and Neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s groundbreaking studies of the nervous system both as directions for a set of choreographed camera movements and as graphic signs which are then translated into pitch and amplitude information for the ANS’s 720 oscillators. The artists combine these parallel trajectories into a new synthesis for film and sound, which considers how technology, perceptions of the past, and culture have shaped human perception.


Peter Gidal
25mins Colour 16mm 

Volcano, half hour, silent, shot on 16mm on a volcano in Hawaii..the film attempts to deal iwth those qustions of representation that persist as problematic, for me, for the basic questions of aesthetics, what it is to view, how to view the unknownm as to view the known is not possibly a viewing.

The question of recognition, the impossibility of recognition or, better said, the impossibility of a viewer viewing at all if it is predicated upon that moment, you the viewer i the viewer am no longer part of a process, a material however metaphysical or not process of making meaning through the conflicts of perception of this film volcano light's afterimage, the shot of light after image, becomes as obliterative as dark's.. thereby the temporal break caused by transparent leader, and by black leader, becomes differently spatial and temporal, as to the "something missing"..

and there are or are meant to be in all this particular, specific differences to be experienced in the "breaks" and "interruptions" caused by light versus those caused by relation to specific film-questions of space, questions of time...for example in relation to lacunae (emptiness), nonlacunae (the represented real)..such philosophical aesthetic involvements..

nothing is "missing" except the ability to "cohere" a viable realism..

From a statement by Peter Gidal, 2003.

Luke Fowler

British artist, filmmaker and musician Luke Fowler (1978) has developed a practice that is, at the same time, singular and collaborative, poetic and political, structural and documentary, archival and deeply human. With an emphasis on communities of people, outward thinkers and the history of the left, his 16mm films tell the stories of alternative movements in Britain, from psychiatry to photography to music to education.  Whilst some of his early films dealt with music and musicians as subjects, in later works sound itself becomes a key concern. Fowler lives and works in Glasgow.

Luke Fowler

Richard McMaster

Richard McMaster (b. 1989) – lives and works in Glasgow (UK).

Mark Fell

Mark Fell is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sheffield (UK). After studying experimental film and video art at Sheffield City Polytechnic he reverted to earlier interests in computational technology, music and synthetic sound. In 1998 he began a series of critically acclaimed record releases on labels including Mille Plateaux, Line, Editions Mego and Raster Noton. Fell is widely known for exploring the relationships between popular music styles, such as electronica and club musics, and typically academic approaches to computer-based composition with a particular emphasis on algorithmic and mathematical systems. Since his early electronic music pieces Fell’s practice has expanded to include moving image works, sound and light installation, choregoraphy, critical texts, curatorial projects and educational activites. He has worked with a number of artists including Yasunao Tone, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Okkyung Lee, Luke Fowler, Peter Gidal, John Chowning, Ernest Edmonds, Peter Rehberg, Oren Ambarchi and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff.

The diversity and importance of Fell's practice is reflected in the range and scale of international institutions that have presented his work which include - Hong Kong National Film archive, The Baltic (Gateshead), Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, La Casa Encendida (Madrid), Laboral (XIxon), The Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Royal Festival Hall (London), The Serpentine (London), The Australian Centre For Moving Image, Artists Space (NYC), Issue Project Room (NYC), Corcoran (DC), Curtis R.Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (NY), Lampo/Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (Chicago), Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Karlsruhe), Hanger Biccoca (Milan) and others. Fell's work is in the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna) and has as been recognised by ARS Electronica (Linz).


THE ANS was designed by Eugeny Murzin in the late 1950s; it was the first electric instrument to use photo-optical technology to synthesise pure-tones and is considered by many to be the worlds first polyphonic synthesiser. Inspired by advances in cinematography and composer-Alexander Nicolayevich Scriabin’s attempts at total works of art, Murzin devised a unique method to synthesise a maximum of 720 sine-waves from drawn glass plates.  

In 1895 Santiago Ramón y Cajal’ published several books which mapped, for the first time, the central nervous system in animals and humans. Cajal was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to science. He is thought to be one of the forefathers of modern Neuroscience and his intricate illustrations of neural pathways were important influences also for the Surrealists.

The Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture holds the ANS within a permanaent exhibition of ”Musical Instruments of the World”. The exhibition, laid out in five exhibition rooms (each demarcated by their own coloured background) features instruments from more then 50 countries – ranging from folk instruments to Crystal flutes, aeolian harps, tuning boxes and many instruments (like the ANS) which experiment with non-tempered tunings including harpiscords and accordians. Surrounding these objects and featured throughout the film are historic representations of musicians and musical scenes taken from the museum’s vast art collection.