We Found Our Own Reality - Camden Art Centre

An exhibition and events programme by artist Paul Purgas that brought 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 explored 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 was 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 were transposed by Purgas to form the basis of a new composition that interweaved broader aspects of the archive, including spoken word, tape collages, field recordings, sound effects and film soundtracks.

Listen to Purgas on BBC Radio 3 where he presented a programme entitled Electronic Indian that introduces and expands on his research. Curated by Matt Williams.

Podcast Images The Artist Supporters

Paul Purgas conversation with Public Programme curator Matt Williams for Montez Press Radio entitled Indian Modernism: Design & Electronic Sound.

The Artist

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.