Mark Fell

The Graham Foundation

Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610

Mark Fell, in his Chicago solo debut, premieres a new tonal work, One Dimensional Music without Context and Meaning—consisting of 32 layers, recorded on the Serge modular system at EMS in Stockholm.

“Each layer has no temporal variation,” writes Fell. “The work uses third order Ambisonics to position each layer at a static location on the surface of a hypothetical sphere that surrounds the audience. The work starts at the border of silence and over its duration is gradually increased to an extremely high level.”

Mark Fell (b.1966, Rotherham, England) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sheffield, England. After studying experimental film and video art at the local polytechnic he reverted to earlier interests in computational technology, music and synthetic sound. In 1998 he initiated a series of critically acclaimed record releases, featuring both collaborative projects (notably, SND with Mat Steel) and solo works, on labels including Mille Plateaux, Line, Editions Mego, Raster Noton and Alku.

In 2003 Fell contributed to a project led by the British Algorist Ernest Edmonds at Loughborough University in the UK, enabling him to study the philosophy of technology in relation to contemporary art. During this project he developed a close relationship with Yasunao Tone, with whom he would exchange ideas and offer technological support. Encouraged by Tone, Fell developed an interest in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger which would lead to a shift of focus from philosophy of technology, to technology and time, principally music, technology and time.

Fell is widely known for combining popular music styles, such as electronica and techno, with more academic approaches to computer-based composition with a particular emphasis on algorithmic and mathematical systems. His recent musical practice has become increasingly informed by non-Western musics, evident in two linked works Multistability and UL8, which explore a number of unfamiliar timing and tuning systems. In addition to recorded works, Fell produces installation pieces, often using multiple speaker systems. Although well versed in the use of ambisonics, his work in this area is characterized by “non-illusion based” approaches, where multiple wave shapes are spatially distributed to form complex synthetic sonic environments. This methodology became prominent in a 48-channel work commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna) in 2008, in collaboration with Roc Jiménez de Cisneros for the Morning Line project.

Fell has been recognized by Ars Electronica with an honorary mention in the digital musics category, and was shortlisted for the Quartz award for his contribution to research in digital music. He also has been involved in a number of academic research projects ranging from computer science to musicology. As a curator he is widely recognized for his contribution to the development of experimental electronic music in Europe.

Presented in partnership with the Graham Foundation