Lawrence English is media artist, composer and curator based in Australia. Working across an eclectic array of aesthetic investigations, English’s work prompts questions of field, perception and memory. English utilises a variety of approaches including live performance, installation and found sound/vision to create works that generate subtle transformation of space and ask audiences to become aware of that which exists at the edge of perception.
For over a decade, English’s audio investigations have traversed a divergent path where musical and environmental sources are granted equal focus. His work calls into question the established relationships of sound and structure – field recordings and musical materials work in unison, acting as suggestive devices. Rather than prescriptive, English’s sound work calls for the listener to construct their own narratives and impressions based on their personal histories and experiences.
As a producer English has completed numerous projects with artists including Tujiko Noriko (U, Blurred In My Mirror), Ben Frost (Theory Of Machines), Tenniscoats (Totemo Aimasho, Temporacha) and The Rational Academy (Swans). He has also completed commissioned compositions for acclaimed avant-circus troupe Circa, various theatre ensembles and has worked as a sound designer in collaboration with artists including Australian visualist Craig Walsh.
English’s installation and gallery practice is concerned predominately with challenging the understandings and expectations of site specificity, sound and media. His 2008 ‘Trio For Objects’ exhibition presented three discrete sound installations (kinetic, prepared and sculptural) which when experienced in unison created a ‘related sound field’. By contrast, the 3-screen video installation Ghost Towns, seeks to create an abstract ‘virtual map’ of remote Australian spaces. In 2006 English produced a series of sound art works specifically for the deaf and hearing impaired under the title ‘Silence Listening’. These works were amongst the first of their kind in the world, exploring and examining the notions of isolation and sonic interaction within these oft-marginalized communities.
Outside of his recording and art commissions, Lawrence English curates a number of ongoing sound and media programs including Mono at the Institute Of Modern Art and Syncretism at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. He produces the annual Room40 festival Open Frame (in Australia and London) and co-produces a number of other festivals including Sound Polaroids, Liquid Architecture and Frankly!. He continues to curate numerous conceptually driven art projects including Melatonin – Meditations On Sound In Sleep (for Next Wave Festival), Airport Symphony (for the Queensland Music Festival), Small Scores (for Valley Fiesta) and Audible Geography (for University Of Tasmania). He has presented on radio as part of Triple J’s Soundlab program and he continues to produce an extensive range of radio documents and sound works for programs such as the BBC’s World Service. His critical writings can be found in journals such as The Wire, Signal To Noise, Paris Transatlantic, Cyclic Defrost, and numerous online outlets.