Live Art is a generic term that describes acts of individual or collaborative, innovative and explorative, performance practice. It can be undertaken in relation to one or more art forms. Dialogues is the second in a series of experimental and experiential exchanges between the visual and audible arts. The discourse is through improvisation: a free-style creative act that exists in the moment, in the instincts and intuitions of the individual, and in the participants’ reciprocal response to each other’s activities.  (It may, but need not have, an audience.) On this occasion, the conversation is through the mediums of drawing and sounding (that is, the act of perceiving and emitting, aurally). The exchange takes place within the ‘laboratory’ of the School of Art’s Project Room. It provides a controlled environment in which the collaborators can learn, invent, test concepts, devices, and methods, make trial of different models of practice, and record ideas. Two determinations govern the collaboration: action and consideration; (to make in order to understand and to understand what has been made).

Both drawing and sounding are conducted in an abstract mode. This implies that the physical means and language of the art form is not directed towards (in respect to the former) the representation of the visible world and (in respect to the latter) melodic structure and composition. The conscious exclusion of these otherwise legitimate concerns enables the participants to concentrate on the art forms’ formal and shared elements (either actual or metaphorical). For example: shape, line, pattern, texture, rhythm, pulse, tonality, atonality, pitch, contrast, dynamics, scale, size,  simplicity, complexity, variation, repetition, layering, relation, sequence, proportion,  wholeness, starting, stopping, resolution, duration, speed, vibration, movement, gesture, space, silence, noise, cacophony, indeterminacy, and distortion.

The collaboration is, for all intents and purposes, a duet. (And, as in Renaissance music, the duet is a teaching tool performed by student and teacher). While the ‘players’ perform together in the same space, they are at the same time separated by the obstinate and yet beguiling disparities between their respective mediums. Both participants are visual artists who play musical instruments. Therefore, as they seek to explore the nature and possibilities of a meaningful and productive interaction between two people and two art forms, the duo contribute a tutored and an intuitive understanding of each other’s chosen domain.

Adam Blackburn: My time at Aberystwyth University, studying for a BA (Hons) degree and a MA degree in fine art, has been dedicated to investigation and experimentation.  I’ve sought to develop a style, distinguish an individual language of paint, and gain a deeper understanding of my work. Through the processes of improvisation and collage, my drawings and paintings have tried to express a sense of objective response and subjective experience ­– a combination of characteristics that has always been central to the work. For me, music and art have a profound affinity. This present collaboration offers an opportunity not only to combine my interests in these art forms but also to explore the concept of improvisation across the medial divide. My expectation is that there will be a creative dialogue between the two, one which will result in a synthesis that transcends the individual parts and contributors.


Coates Willow charcoal
Conté sketching crayon
Daler-Rowney acrylic paint
Digitech HardWire DL-8 Delay Looper
Fabriano (Fedrigoni Group) grade g/m2 120 & 200
Harris-Taskmasters brushes
Kitchen clothes
Maxi Fit premium grade Brown Opp tape
Pencrophone II
Progresso woodless graphite sticks
TC Helicon VoiceTone Correct XT

John Harvey: I put down the guitar in September 1977 at the start of my art school education, so that I could study single-mindedly.  My return to music has been in response to two realisations: first, the instinct to make sound was too strong in me (It could not be resisted forever.); second, it was both possible and necessary to conceive of an aural analogue for the ideas, processes, and systems that I deploy in my visual art work. I do not refer to myself as a musician. To do so would give rise to expectations that I cannot presently fulfil. I am, rather, a practitioner who articulates concept through sound on those occasions when sound is the most appropriate embodiment of a concept. Improvisation is the antithesis of the static, reductive, predetermined, and concept-led orientation of my visual art practice, although no less disciplined for that. In its immediacy, adaptability, uncertainty, and stress upon moment-by-moment attentiveness, improvisation serves as a complementary (rather than contradictory) extension to my usual mode of composition.


Alesis MultiMix 4 mixer
Apple Logic Studio Pro 9
Apple Mac Book Pro
ART Split Mix 4 sub-mixers
Biyang ToneFancier EQ7 graphic equalizer
Boomerang III Phrase Sampler
Boss FV-50H volume pedal
D’addario strings
Digitech Whammy (Molton Midi modification)
Dugain, Dunlop, and V-Pick plectra
ElectroHarmonix Big Muff Germanium4 distortion pedal
ElectroHarmoniz Freeze pedal
Ernie Ball P06166 volume pedal
Eventide PitchFactor effects processor
Eventide TimeFactor effects processor
Gig-fx Mega Wah pedal
Gig-fx VOD pedal
Godin Freeway Synth Access guitar
G-String Decimator pedal
Digitech Hardwire HT-2 Chromatic Tuner
Digitech Hardwire RV-7 Stereo Reverb
Jomox T-Resonator synthesizer
Keeley Compressor pedal
Keeley Katana clean boost pedal
Korg Kaos Pad 3 Dynamic Effects/Sampler
Korg Kaossilator Pro Dynamic Phrase Synthesizer
Lehle 1@3 switch
Lehle D-Loop switch
Lehle Sunday Driver buffer/booster
Moog EP-2 expression pedals
Moog MoogerFooger MF-102 Ring Modulator pedal
Moog MoogerFooger MF-104Z Analog Delay pedal
Moog MoogerFooger MF-105M Midi MuRF pedal
MXR 10-Band graphic equalizer
Pedaltrain Pro board
ProCo RAT 2 (Keeley modification)
PureTone cables
QSC K-10 active speakers
Roland EV-5 expression pedal
Roland GR-20 Guitar Synthesizer
Sherman/Rodec Restyler effects processor/filter bank
Skychord Electronics Glamour Box synthesizer
Skychord Electronics Sleepdrone 5 synthesizer
Skychord Electronics Sleepdrone 6 synthesizer
Skychord Electronics Utopia Synth synthesizer
SSSnake patches
Sundry additives
TC Electronics Nova Reverb pedal
TC Electronics Nova System effects processor
Voodoo Lab Pedal Power Plus 2
Windsor & Newton brushes

Sound recordings of Live Art Dialogues.