Previously at the ICA - Events

Chris Watson

MusICA Now: Exploring Sound and Authorship

16 Jul 2015

Coinciding with the archival exhibition Shout Out! UK Pirate Radio in the 1980s, ICA Researcher-in-Residence Will Dutta has co-curated a special one-off edition of MusICA with Adrian Corker, which aims to create a discourse on pure sound and to explore the legacy of Giacinto Scelsi on a new generation of composers.

This event will start off with a screening of Via di San Teodoro 8 (2011), directed by David Ryan. Somewhere between an experimental documentary and the filmic poetic essay, the film explores Scelsi’s unique approach to microtonalities and is essentially about the process of framing both image and sound, alluding to the seen and the unseen representational spaces of the ‘out‐of‐field’.

Via di San Teodoro, dir. David Ryan, 43 mins; Tim Sidell (DoP), Emanuele Costantini (Sound).

The screening will be followed by a stereo presentation in the ICA Theatre of a new piece by Chris Watson titled Notes from the Forest Floor, drawing on the nocturnal insect vibrations that mass up around the Hornbill Pathway in the tropical rainforest in Borneo. There will then be live performances of Scelsi’s worki by Aisha Orazabayeva and Lucy Railton and an improvisation on cello and oscillator by Adrian Corker and Lucy Railton. Will Dutta will be performing DJ sets in the ICA Bar in between the Theatre performances.

MusICA (1978-1994) was an annual series of ten contemporary music concerts at the ICA, curated by Adrian Jacks and described by the Financial Times as "a ray of light in the dark: the one series of experimental concerts in London that has had, year after year, the courage to stick its neck out, take calculated risks, and above all to make (and admit) mistakes."

On Sunday 18 February 1979, MusICA presented the first British performance of music for various instruments by the Italian composer, Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988). Scelsi’s radical compositional technique and process involved the subtlest uses of texture, timbre and microtones to engage extensively with pure sound in a way that was ahead of his time and still holds fascination for contemporary experimental composers.

Giacinto Scelsi, Duo for Violin and Cello, 1965

Giacinto Scelsi: Duo (1965)

Chris Watson is one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, a BAFTA award-winner and arguably best known for his field recording work on David Attenborough’s Life series. Similarly to Scelsi and Corker’s artistic concerns, Watson uses technology to capture and transcribe pure sound. Most recently Watson has been exploring aspects of spatial sound through Ambisonic installations in collaboration with galleries around the world such as in The Louvre, RMIT Melbourne, Krakow Botanical Gardens, The Millennium Gallery Sheffield, Opera North in Leeds and the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.

Violinist and musician Aisha Orazbayeva is in demand with a repertoire extending from Bach and Telemann to Lachenmann and Nono. Her two solo albums; Outside, on Nonclassical and The Hand Gallery on PRAH recordings, are critically acclaimed. Aisha has worked with groups including LA Dance Project, the London Sinfonietta and Ensemble Modern, and has performed live on BBC, National Icelandic Radio, Resonance FM, France Musique and Kazakh National TV.

Cellist Lucy Railton is a soloist, curator and collaborator focused on the performance and development of contemporary music.  Recent solo appearances include performances at Wysing Festival, Oslo Hackney and the Purcell Rooms and with Russell Haswell at HeK Basel, BBC Radio 3 and Borealis Festival. She is founder of Kammer Klang and co-founder and co-director of the London Contemporary Music Festival.

Adrian Corker is a musician who has written extensively to picture, including work with the late director Antonia Bird, and also works in various media collaborating with musicians including the Elysian Quartet, Richard Skelton, Jack Wyllie and Lucy Railton. He recently curated a series of gallery shows, titledThe Silence Between, featuring sound artists such as Jem Finer, Rie Nakajima and Chris Watson. He runs the label SN Variations, which has a release featuring music by, inspired by and related to Giacinto Scelsi coming out in September. A second album of his own work will be released later in 2015. He is currently studying the Shakuhachi.

Will Dutta is a London-based artist-curator whose creative practice examines an emerging non-classical style across leading gallery, concert hall and club spaces, in the UK and internationally. His critically acclaimed debut album for Just Music, Parergon (2012), centered on his hyper-colourful piano-led collaborations with Warp-veterans Plaid and was described by Vice/Noisey as ‘one of the most deeply rejuvenating musical experiences we've come across’. More recently, Will’s work featured on a new single by The Pattern Forms: a ‘super group’ made up of members of the Friendly Fires and the Advisory Circle (2015, Ghost Box).

Programme and Timings

5pm: Cinema 2 - Via di San Teodoro 8, 43’

6pm: ICA Bar - Will Dutta, DJ Set, 30’

6:30pm: Theatre - Chris Watson, Notes from the Forest Floor, 71’

7:45pm: ICA Bar - Will Dutta, DJ Set, 45’

8:15pm: Theatre - Live Set:

Giacinto Scelsi, Xnoybis, 12’

Adrian Corker + Lucy Railton, Improvisation, 15’

Giacinto Scelsi, Duo for Violin and Cello, 9’

This event is part of the the Creative Works London Researcher-in-Residence Scheme

In partnership with


E.g., 04-03-2021
E.g., 04-03-2021