Paul Purgas – We Found Our Own Reality


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 four-channel composition that interweaves broader aspects of the archive, including spoken word, tape collages, field recordings, sound effects and film soundtracks.

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.

Listen to Purgas on BBC Radio 3 here, where he presented a programme entitled Electronic Indian that introduces and expands on his research.

We Found Our Own Reality is a co-production with Brent 2020 with the support of the Elephant Trust. A limited-edition recording of the soundwork will be launched to coincide with the exhibition. It will be published and distributed by Moog.


Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture

Brent is The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture for 2020. Our programme explores the stories, art and emotions that hold life in Brent together, uncovering and celebrating the borough’s untold tales and unheard voices. We are 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. We are where city becomes Metroland; where roads, waterways and railways cross; where outsiders fight for their place. We 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 our year of culture comes.

We are committed to the values that underpin Brent 2020 and all the people, artists and organisations who are involved in the programme. Art and music, in all their forms, have always been a part of this borough and we are determined to ensure that we tell the story of the many cultures of Brent. Brent is more than a borough of culture: This is the Borough of Cultures.