What we are up to

David Tompkins and Joe Banks

10/09/12 Workshops
by Nathan Jones

Mercy and Liverpool Biennial 2012 present
Talks by David Tompkins and Joe Banks
with Q+A
5-7pm at Camp and Furnace Blade Factory
Saturday 6th October

Continuing Mercy's investigation of Liverpool Biennial's theme of 'hospitality', these two vibrant, unforgettable 'performance lectures' look at the electronic noise as the host of para-psychological and hallucinatory message, and the vocoder as home to complex interactions between war, science, pop culture, and ghost story.

David Tompkins

Based on the strange science of voice synthesis, How To Wreck A Nice Beach, traces the history of the vocoder from Churchill's bunker to Stalin's gulags, from "Autobahn" to Auto-Tune, from T-Mobile to T-Pain (the book's title comes from a mishearing of the vocodered phrase, 'How to recognize speech'). Along with the growing acclaim for his book on this subject, David is renowned world-wide for the generous and performative nature of his talks.

"Unquestionably brilliant, not only one of the best music books of the year, but also one of the best music books ever written." - Los Angeles Times

"A hallucinatory stew of Rimbaud, Tom Wolfe, Lester Bangs and Bootsy Collins." - New York Magazine

Joe Banks


In this talk on 'creative listening', human perception and hallucination, Joe delivers a series of interactive examples, along with highly entertaining digressions linking Raymond Rousell, Da Vinci and wartime military intellegence. Part detective story, part artistic and cultural critique, Rorschach Audio lifts the lid on an array of fascinating and under-examined perceptual and political phenomena.

"Anyone who ever listened to The Police singing "So Lonely" and thought it was about BBC broadcaster Sue Lawley... has already struck off down a path towards creative expression, and in the warp and weft of these diverse and captivating threads, Banks attempts to find the locus for all manner of perceptual and psychological phenomena. " - Freq

"a wonderfully argued, eccentric and impassioned interrogation of aural perception... incorporating an intimidating range of wonderfully niche anecdotes, experiments and eccentricities. From the wordplay of proto-surrealist author Raymond Roussel, to spectral technologies by American 'inventor' George Meek... Banks ... animates questions surrounding the interrelationship of sound, technology, perception and belief." - The Quietus