Virtual Music Events at Queen’s returns with an online free performance from John Bowers, featuring a new trio with Paul Stapleton and Adam Pultz Melbye, with the film essay Archive X: Underperformance on December 10.

It is compiled of personal archival material – electroacoustic improvisations, field recordings, found objects, self-made instruments and software, photographs, drawings, paintings, writings – from the last 25 years.

It works in the zone of the unmade, the unready, the sketchy, the incomplete, the promising-but-unfulfilled, the fragment, the not-quite-good-enough, the is-it-on-yet?, the are-you-done-yet?, less the dis/orderly than the suborderly, less the performative than the underperformative.

Through this, it offers a reflection on archiving and anxiety – anxieties of identity and purpose, anxieties of judgement and accountability, anxieties of completion and death – in the hope that out of all the mess something useful might come. After all, every sow’s ear contains a silk purse.

This autumn John Bowers, Paul Stapleton and Adam Pultz Melbye have been developing an improvising trio based around shared concerns for feedback networks, mixed materialities, performance ecologies, and shifting notions of agency and instrumentality.

Archive X: Overperformance seeds their networks and systems with selected archival material of significance to the trio, bridging the archival and the improvisational. This is their debut performance.

John Bowers is an artist-researcher with an academic background in the social and computing sciences, design, music and critical theory.

As an improvising musician, he works with modular synthesisers, home-brew electronics, reconstructions of antique image and sound-making devices, self-made software, field recordings, esoteric sensor systems, and spoken text.

He often combines performance with walking and the investigation of selected sites to research an imagined discipline he calls ‘mythogeosonics’. He has performed at festivals including the Venice Biennale, Experimental Intermedia New York, Transmediale/CTM Vorspiel Berlin, Piksel Bergen, Electropixel Nantes, BEAM London, Aldeburgh Festival and Spill Ipswich, and toured with the Rambert Dance Company performing David Tudor’s music to Merce Cunningham’s Rainforest.

Tickets for this free event are available here: