Liquid Architecture

Investigations: Eavesdropping Polythinking Ritual Community Music Why Listen?
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Liquid Architecture is an Australian organisation for artists working with sound. LA investigates the sounds themselves, but also the ideas communicated about, and the meaning of, sound and listening.

Our program stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience, and critical reflection on sonority and systems of sonic affect. To do this, we host experiences at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music, supporting artists to produce performances and concerts, exhibitions, talks, reading groups, workshops and recordings in art spaces, music venues and other sites.

Liquid Architecture is curatorially driven and our methodology embraces research, collaborations and imaginations. We want to echo beyond local conversations, problems, debates and questions, to reverberate across media and disciplines, and so to sound out new discourses about the audible world, and beyond.

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first sovereign owners of this unceded country. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and becoming.


Joel Stern
CEO / Artistic Director Joel Stern is a curator, researcher, and sound artist, concerned with theories and practices of sound and listening. He is the Artistic Co-Director of Liquid Architecture, a leading Australian organisation that stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience and critical reflection on systems of sonic affect, at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music. Stern is part of OtherFilm, an artist collective driven by a central curiosity about the limits of the moving image. He has initiated the experimental residency Instrument Builders Project in 2013. Stern is a PhD candidate in Curatorial Practice at Monash Art, Design and Architecture, where he teaches Sound (in the Space of Art).
Danni Zuvela
CEO / Artistic Director With Joel Stern, Danni is Artistic Director/CEO of Liquid Architecture. Since 2004, Danni has co-directed the artists’ collective OtherFilm (co-founded with Joel Stern [Melbourne] and Sally Golding [London]). In 2013 she joined forces with the Gold Coast-based artist-run gallery The Walls, where worked as the Secretary, Curator and Deputy until 2018. At The Walls, she led programming and strategic initiatives, and she continues to generate socially-engaged experimental projects on the Gold Coast. Danni has an academic background, with a research PhD on experimental film and art history, teaching extensively into her field, and publishing critical writing across a range of publications. Danni’s research informs her curatorial work with interests in feminism, activism, ecology, language and performance.
Georgia Hutchison
General Manager Georgia works across creative disciplines with communities, businesses, cultural institutions and policy-makers. Her education and experience spans arts management; industrial design with a social, sustainable and systemic approach; curatorial and cultural leadership. For the last fifteen years she has worked between universities, studio and non-profit environments—most recently researching artist run economies with All Conference; and communicating the built environment with U-P. As an artist Georgia performs and photographs encounters with material scenarios and social currencies.
Debris Facility
Administrator Debris is a speculative corporate entity working from one human body. The Facility entered into partnership with Liquid Architecture to oversee Administration in 2018 onwards. Participation in events organising alongside practice lead research and exhibition productions pushes Administration into an performative medium. Maintaining an active exhibition profile alongside residencies, teaching, collaborations and contracts, the Facility works to amplify it’s reach through the oscillation of signal to noise ratio’s of im/material contexts of exhibition production, media, performance,wearables, installation and interventions.


Jennifer Barry
CHAIR JENNIFER BARRY has over 25 years’ experience leading arts organisations, managing creative projects, consulting, producing the work of artists nationally and internationally, and curating public programs. Previous positions include: Manager of Public Programs at Federation Square, Executive Director of Shunpike (Seattle), Director/CEO of Footscray Community Arts Centre, Founder/Director of Keep Breathing, and Executive Producer/Co-CEO of Chunky Move, among others. As a consultant, Jennifer’s clients have included the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Victoria, the City of Melbourne, the Australian Art Orchestra, and the Australian Network for Art and Technology, among others. She has served on numerous boards and industry panels and is currently Project Director for the Royal Children’s Hospital 150th Anniversary.
David Chesworth
MEMBER DAVID CHESWORTH is an artist and composer, known for his experimental, and at times minimalist music, who has worked with electronics, contemporary ensembles, film, theatre and experimental opera. Together with Sonia Leber, Chesworth has created installation artworks using sound, video, architecture and public participation. Exhibitions include ‘56th Venice Biennale (2015), ‘19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), ‘Melbourne Now’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013-14). Festivals featuring Chesworth’s music and sound works include Ars Electronica, Festival D’Automne de Paris, Bang on a Can Marathon, New York, Sydney Biennale, Adelaide and Melbourne Festivals and MONA FOMA. Early in his career he was co-founder of post-punk band Essendon Airport and for five years was coordinator of the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre in Melbourne. David Chesworth joined the Liquid Architecture Board in 2015. David teaches Sound (in the space of Art) at Monash Art, Design and Architecture, where he recently completed his doctorate researching sonic framing and temporality with artwork experiences.
Dr Michael Graeve
VICE CHAIR DR. MICHAEL GRAEVE is a sound and visual artist and educator. Michael joined the Liquid Architecture board 10 years ago at the time of incorporation in 2007 and was President and Chair from 2011-2017. Michael has been committed to artist-run culture, developing small arts organisation expertise first as a founding committee member of Grey Area Art Space Inc (1996 -1999) and then as board member and program manager at West Space Inc (2000 – 2004). He exhibits, performs, curates and teaches internationally and teaches in the Sound, Sculpture and Spatial Practice Department, Expanded Studio Practice, Honours and the MFA Program at RMIT University, and has previously taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Monash University, The Victorian College of the Arts and Victoria University.
Andy Miller
MEMBER ANDY MILLER currently works as the General Manager of Multicultural Arts Victoria. Initially trained as a painter at the Canberra School of Art, Andy Miller worked in theatre for a number of years before working to establish arts programs in the community sector. Following a few years as an arts and cultural officer at two local governments, Andy began a career in the state public service in various senior roles at Arts Victoria and Creative Victoria and was seconded for a period with Creative Partnerships Australia, as Senior Programs Manager. As well as a Bachelor in Fine Arts, he has a Masters in Public Policy and a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from the University of Melbourne.
Phip Murray
MEMBER PHIP MURRAY is an independent writer and curator, and a part-time academic in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT where she lectures in the history/theory of art, design and architecture. Phip was Director of West Space from 2008–2012 and, prior to that, an Associate Producer for the Next Wave Festival. Phip has a particular interest in interdisciplinary art practice, and has curated projects such as Time Has Come Today, a program exploring sound, moving image and performance projects (West Space, 2012) and Tyger, Tyger, a new commissions series including projects by Philip Brophy, Constanze Zikos, David Chesworth, and Juan Davila (West Space, 2011-2012).
Mark Nolen
TREASURER MARK NOLEN is a Certified Practising Accountant with extensive experience in the creative industries sector. He is currently Management Accountant at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image, having previously worked in a similar role at Film Victoria. Along the way he has helped countless singers, actors and even clowns get their taxes in order – no laughing matter! When not crunching numbers, you can find Mark sitting back with a fine drop of Scottish Whisky soaking up some even finer tunes.
Kristen Smith
MEMBER KRISTEN SMITH is a legal practitioner with over a decade of experience focused on large scale commercial litigation and class actions. She currently works as an Investment Manager for international litigation financier, IMF Bentham, having previously worked for Slater and Gordon in their Commercial and Project Litigation team. She has also worked at Dundas & Wilson (now CMS) in Scotland and as an Associate to the Supreme Court of Victoria’s Associate Justice Efthim. In 2004, she was awarded the Victoria Law Foundation Chief Justice’s Medal for Excellence and Community Service. She has previously served on the boards of the Australian Communities Foundation and the EastWeb foundation and is currently a member of the M.E.S.S advisory board.


Charlie Freedman
Keelan O’Hehir
Benjamin Portas
Jacqui Shelton
Lauren Squire
Josh Watson
Public Office


Elena Betros
Clare Cooper
Asher Elazary
Nathan Gray
Jason Heller
Anabelle Lacroix
Paris Lettau
Sarah Mccauley
Dr James Parker
Mino Peric
Anatol Pitt
Jessica Row
Emily Siddons
Sezzo Snot
Beth Sometimes
Mathew Spisbah
Cara Stewart
Darcy Wedd
Makeda Zucco
Ece Yavuz


PO Box 12315
VIC 8006

ABN 73128090237
ASN A0050679K

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Negative Volumes: Danger Magic

Before the words, there is the voice (The good voice. The bad voice. Your voice)
firstdraft, Sydney
13-17 Riley St, Woolloomooloo
6PM - 9PM

Andrew Harper
Sarah Byrne
Emma Ramsay
Matthew P. Hopkins
Mariam Arcilla
Geoffrey Gartner performs Dick Higgins’ Danger Music

danger magic

There are still magic words. Words of invocation and words of exhortation: words that entice, words that summon, words that compel, words that wound. There are taboo words whose unspeakability must be regularly renewed to ensure it has not decomposed. There are words beyond sense that brim with meaning. There are ways of saying words that can invest them – even the most banal of utterances – with puzzling force. And, there are rituals of bodily complicity right at the level of the sign (try saying “curse” without snarling, or “hex” without hissing).

Before the words, there is the voice (The good voice. The bad voice. Your voice). My voice, issuing from me as it speaks me, doubling back to be heard by me – both me and always beyond me. When we lose the voice and set it upon words, we make a space for listening, between the deed and the intention: a place that’s dangerous, where sound might smuggle itself in.

negative volumes

Negative spaces are never blank. Just as there is no space around objects, only objects in space, there is no gap between sounds, since there is no possibility of silence. Instead what we hear is the noise of the layers, the various shades and feints and foley and interstitial emissions that, stitched together, produce the reassuring throb of frequencies we are schooled to call “background”.

Similarly. A strobe light appears to come on and off, but what we see as light and dark made large, a perfect example of pure black and white, is not in fact discrete. What seems to be simply ‘on’ and ‘off’ is not a dyad. Rather, a strobe is a string, a set, a sequence of pulses giving way to each other: a swelling, an exploding, a fading and then a darkness, until the new swell lights up again. Despite appearances, despite conventional thinking, this is not binary.

In this program, there’s no figure and no ground. There is no negative space. An empty institution is never completely empty. Instead, it becomes a spatial politic for the throwing of light and shade.

In sound, how we structure sonic experience can provide models for how we structure community.

We invite a queering of the spatial politics of the invisible and visible, of the notions of audible and inaudible – a questioning of the question of the one or the other – in order to enter the space opened up by this voluminous negation.

The world is fucked. But, the gallery is empty. What will we do now?

the voices

Andrew Harper

From Hobart, Andrew’s art works with the occult and with money, which he feels are much the same thing.

LA: Do you intend to cast a spell on us?

AH: “Babel (Azathoth) is a live working of found and hoarded elements (cassette recordings and outdated technology) that is hoped to reflect the disquiet and horror of the artist/performer at the temper of the times, and send a sonic ripple back to the makers of this horror: the present government of Australia (such as it is) and the forces further afield.”

Sarah Byrne

Melbourne-based artist Sarah Byrne is interested in the cross-pollination of video, voice and performative practice. Sarah is re-examining the everyday object of the list, to hear how what are meant to be reassuring, organising devices can become threatening, overwhelming or unintelligible when subjected to the deconstructive pressure of the voice.

LA: Are you a crosser or a ticker?

SB: I’m a crosser
I like that strong slashing motion
I prefer crossing something off the list than that little upward flick
I like the cross, it’s a cut, it’s a violence, it’s definitive
I think that’s an aggressive act and that’s why I like it.

Emma Ramsay

Emma Ramsay is a Sydney practitioner whose work considers sound in various engagements with human and other communication. Emma will create a situation for listening to our expectations about different states of matter and luminous low-vis.

LA: How do you you hear smoke and fog?

ER: “In pursuit of a value judgement, perhaps a preference for artificial smoke, haze or fog – both operate differently atmospherically, and yet are interchangeable in theatrical impact. The behaviour of each as vapour is specific, yet the atomisation process is similar for both. Smoke appears during & endures beyond and marks the disaster or burn-off. Metaphors mobilise ‘smoke’, ‘haze’ and ‘fog’ in very specific ways and can wriggle from distinct placement to exchangeable depending on context. If you’re hearing anything, it’s particulate.”

Dick Higgins, Danger Music No. 2, Performance at Fluxus

Internationale Festspiele Neuester Musik,

Wiesbaden 1962.

Geoffrey Gartner

Geoffrey Gartner is a performer, musicologist and long-time devotee of the Fluxus ethos. He will perform a selection of works from the Danger Music series by Fluxus doyenne, Dick Higgins.

LA: What makes Danger Music dangerous and what makes it music?

GG: “Dick Higgins’ forty-three_ Danger Music pieces are part of an anthology of text scores entitled The Danger of Lecturing at Concerts. _Theyappear in his 1969 book, foew&aombwhnw: a grammar of the mind and a phenomenology of love and a science of the arts as seen by a stalker of the wild mushroom. These works date from the early 1960s, a time when Fluxists were challenging the ingrained notion that music had to be a purely sonic experience. They wanted their music to invoke a multi-sensory response and text provided the perfect notational medium.

Always irreverent, Higgins’ sparsely worded scores are frequently ambiguous and open to interpretation – one of the reasons they are so liberating to perform! At the same time, they pose formidable conceptual challenges to performer and audience. In the Danger Music series boundaries are erased; comfort zones obliterated. Danger abounds…”

Matthew P. Hopkins

Sydney-based Matthew P. Hopkins is an artist and musician.

LA: How do you throw the voice?

MPH: “A prepared collage of processed empty cassette tape recordings is improvised upon using a microphone with ring modulator effect. An improvised phrase is developed in real-time via mumbling and murmuring, via the bringing forth of internal mental babble and shaping it into words that ‘make sense’ somehow.

As this phrase takes shape and forms into something that resonates as ‘right,’ two other actions begin: firstly, using the microphone the phrase is traced in the air in front of the speakers so as to cause feedback sounds; and secondly, the phrase is inscribed on a piece of paper using the microphone as writing instrument. The voice, air tracing and inscribing repeat at intervals throughout the performance along with the constant sound of the tape collage.  All these sounds are processed live in real-time. This acts as a kind of electronic writing, or electronic inscription via the three different modes of inscribing.

The work is less about automatic writing in the traditional mediumistic/esoteric sense, and is more an act of auto-ventriloquy in the sense that I am attempting to engage directly with inner voice and let it come out. This inner speech is not talking through me so much as it is talking with me.”

Mariam Arcilla

Formerly from the Gold Coast and now based in Sydney, Mariam Arcilla is a writer and producer with a fever for multi-sensorial affairs. She will be concocting an alchemic tonic that responds to the aftertaste of vowels, voids, and volumes.

LA: How do you make turmeric scream?

MA: It comes down to water fluency and temperature. For tea, boil the rhizomatic stem in a pot with ginger, cinnamon and lemon, and you get this yodeling whale call. Mingle turmeric powder with peppermint oil, coconut oil and baking soda for a frictioned toothpaste that hisses and fizzes. To exfoliate the face, mash turmeric powder, chickpea flour, honey and milk; form it into a voluminous, goopy cake that will ‘glow’ the skin but stain everything else it touches (as a result,  it’s the person who will scream). Messy thing, this turmeric business.



Andrew Harper

Babel (Azathoth) is a live working of found and hoarded elements (cassette recordings and outdated technology) that is hoped to reflect the disquiet and horror of the artist/performer at the temper of the times, and send a sonic ripple back to the makers of this horror: the present government of Australia (such as it is) and the forces further afield.

Emma Ramsay

various engagements with human and other communication

Geoffrey Gartner

'Scream! Scream! Scream! Scream! Scream! Scream!'

Matthew P. Hopkins

Sonic terrain that shimmies between states of chopped and screwed industrialised alienation and mesmerising tranquility.