Catherine Ryan: Krell and the Destruction of Worlds
How can we wrap our heads around the inevitability of planetary and civilisational collapse? What can the history of experimental electronic music and the fate of an extinct alien species teach us about living with chaos and destruction?
In this experimental lecture presented by Liquid Architecture and MESS, Catherine Ryan brings together performative musicology and electronic music synthesis to address a pressing feeling that structures our age: the existential terror many of us feel when we contemplate how human-made climate change is transforming the regular cycles of life on our planet, rendering a familiar world unfamiliar.
Krell and the Destruction of Worlds takes its name from a type of synthesizer ‘patch’ in which a synth is programmed to generate random output that, although uncontrolled by human hands, is nonetheless recognisably musical. ‘Krell' is also the name of an extinct race of technologically advanced alien beings from the 1950s B movie sci-fi classic, Forbidden Planet. This work uses both meanings of ‘Krell’ as allegories for how human civilisations may or may not cope with chaos and unpredictability.
Catherine Ryan utilises performance, sound, text, video and installation to make works that playfully question the social orders and disorders of the present—particularly the gaps and silences in public discourse where urgent social issues are not confronted, or where the collective political imaginary has proven inadequate to the challenges of the present. Her work has been presented in galleries and festivals across Australia and Europe.
Supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grants, and System Sound.
Active in Australia and internationally since 2000, Liquid Architecture is a leading organisation for artists working with sound and listening. Our program stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music, through performances and concerts, exhibitions, talks, publications, reading groups, workshops and recordings in art spaces, music venues and other sites.
Centred on a unique collection of fully working electronic instruments, MESS is dedicated to supporting people making electronic sound and music in all its forms.
We acknowledge the traditional owners and sovereign custodians of the land on which we are situated, the peoples of the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung language groups. We extend our respect to their Ancestors and all First Peoples and Elders past, present, and future.